The Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies
Director: Dr. W.T. Dickens, Professor of Religious Studies
The Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies (FCCS) is an academic initiative of Siena College that provides a forum for exploring Catholicism in its historical, sociological, liturgical, and doctrinal complexity. In keeping with the Franciscan orientation of the College, the FCCS highlights certain dimensions of Catholicism’s past and present embodiments. These include a commitment to social justice, reconciliation and peacemaking; appreciating the natural world; savoring beauty in the creative arts; and defining leadership as service to one’s community. To support this mission, the FCCS sponsors or co-sponsors speakers; colloquia; theatrical, musical, and fine arts events; and study abroad.
Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)
Siena co-sponsors The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program of New York State. As a member institution, Siena is committed to the education of students who are academically and economically disadvantaged as defined by the guidelines of the State Education Department. Applicants to this program must be New York State residents. Students who qualify for admission into the HEOP program receive counseling and tutoring assistance, as well as financial support for their college expenses. Supportive services include a summer session prior to freshman year and continuous academic advising during the completion of the degree program. Candidates for the HEOP program must complete the application, or the Common Application and the supplemental form, by February 15.
Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies at Siena College
The Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies at Siena College was founded in 1983 with a gift from Charles and Thelma Buchman, long-time benefactors of the College. The Buchmans assisted in the support of the program and created an endowment to enhance the Institute’s work.
The Institute provides a major resource in the Capital Region for the study of Judaism and its historical interrelationships with Christianity. Increased understanding and appreciation of the two faiths come through workshops, seminars and speakers on such topics as “Conflicts Between Jews and Christians,” “Vatican II and the Jews - 20 Years After” and “The Church and Israel: The People and its Land.”
With the support of the Town of Colonie Jewish Association, the Kieval Institute initiated the annual Town of Colonie Judaica lecture in 2006. Dr. Peter S. Zaas, Professor of Religious Studies at Siena, is the director of the Institute, with a Board of Directors that includes civic and academic leaders of the Roman Catholic, Jewish and Protestant communities. In 2010 Rabbi Rena Kieval became the third chair of the Kieval Institute.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change
The Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change was established in 1988. It preserves the legacy of the nonviolent human rights movement as it was expressed in the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and has been continued after his death by Coretta Scott King. This lecture series explores how problems such as racism, sexism, classism, militarism, and prejudice in our nation and throughout the world can be confronted effectively through dynamic efforts informed by principles of social justice and nonviolent action. Speakers in the series have included Harry Belafonte, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Allan Boesak, Ruby Dee, Robert Coles, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Elie Wiesel, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Marian Wright Edelman, Jonathan Kozol, Cornel West, Johnnetta B. Cole, Lani Guinier, Eric H.F. Law, Bernice King, Joycelyn Edwards, Calvin Butts, Morris Dees, Julian Bond, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Michael Eric Dyson. Lecturers are chosen by a board representing Siena and religious and civic leaders in the Capital Region. Additional information about this lecture series is available at www.siena.edu/mlk.
Reinhold Niebuhr Institute of Religion and Culture
The Reinhold Niebuhr Institute of Religion and Culture, an interdisciplinary, ecumenical, and interfaith community-oriented program, is named in honor of Reinhold Niebuhr, the 20th century Protestant theologian who spent a lifetime exploring the implications of religious faith for the public order. It sponsors lectures, workshops, and discussions on topics in which the interests of religion, ethics, and society intersect. In recent years these have included nuclear disarmament, economic justice, interracial justice, and gender and society.
Among the distinguished lecturers and artists the Institute has sponsored or co-sponsored are: J. Bryan Hehir, Robert Jay Lifton, Alan Geyer, Kenneth Himes, Shirley Chisholm, Gar Alperovitz, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop C. Dale White, Mark Gerzon, Coretta Scott King, James B. Nelson, Mary Frances Berry, Michael Kimmel, Pam McAllister, C.T. Vivian, Joseph Lowery, Carter Heyward, Vinie Burrows, Will D. Campbell, James M. Lawson, Jr., Gene Sharp, Donald Woods, Margaret Randall, Cesar Chavez, Harry Belafonte, Nechama Tec, Jessica Stern, Sylvia Washington, Mark Taylor, David Kaczynski and Gary Wright.
Siena Leadership Institute
“Developing Leaders with Competence and Character”
The Siena Leadership Institute (SLI) complements Siena’s traditional academic programs by preparing students to assume leadership roles and responsibilities in their communities through experiential learning and service opportunities. The SLI assists students in developing a sound character and establishing personal moral and ethical standards that are routed in the Franciscan tradition; thus, empowering them to shape their own future and become tomorrow’s leaders.
The Leadership Institute at Siena emphasizes the Franciscan values of service and community building, by encouraging students to become agents of change for improving their world through a commitment to service.
The SLI is a one-year experience for selected Siena Sophomores, designed to develop skills and abilities that will enable participating fellows (students) to be more effective leaders and citizens in their communities and continue to live the Franciscan ideals by serving as voices of reason, conscience and compassion in society. In this intensive and personalized program, students will learn about leadership through workshops, seminars, experiential learning activities, community service and mentoring relationships.
Siena Research Institute
Dr. Donald P. Levy, Director
Founded in 1980, the Siena Research Institute (SRI) conducts regional, statewide and national public opinion and expert surveys on business, economic, political, social, academic and historical issues.
Each month, Siena Research Institute (SRI) conducts a statewide survey used to measure New York State consumer confidence. Based upon the University of Michigan’s national consumer sentiment index, SRI’s monthly survey of consumer confidence is the only study of its kind that measures willingness to spend in New York State. SRI also produces a quarterly report on consumer confidence in nine metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) - Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Mid-Hudson, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and, added in January 2009, Long Island - that is reported in The New York Times and several regional newspapers, and relied upon by many businesses and government agencies.
Each month SRI also conducts the Siena New York Poll, a “snapshot” poll of registered voters. This monthly survey gives voters the opportunity to voice their opinions on political and social issues impacting New York State residents. Past topics have included favorability of public officials, likelihood to vote for specific candidates and policy questions such as support or opposition for licensing of illegal immigrants and the proposed Soda Tax. Widely cited by print, electronic and broadcast media, the Siena New York Poll is firmly on the pulse of politics among New Yorkers.
Recently SRI has broadened its mission in an effort to measure and chronicle “The Fabric of Life in New York.” Components of that independent research agenda include: Siena New York Sport Poll, Life Satisfaction in New York, The Social Capital Study of New York State, and The Yearly Holiday Spending and Giving Study. This research has expanded into a web panel that stretches across geographies and demographics not easily reached in the past.
In a further effort to support the mission of the college, SRI launched the “Healthy Communities Program” in February 2009. This research focuses on self-assessment of health, actions that support that self-assessment and resources in the community that could foster healthy communities. The goal of this research is to bridge the gap between education and action.
SRI is frequently commissioned to conduct surveys for organizations, businesses, and local and state government agencies. Recent clients include: Healthcare Association of New York State, First Niagara Bank, Patricia Lynch Associates, Queens County District Attorney, NYS Bar Association, NYS Office for the Aging, Ellis Hospital, Behan Communications and St. Pius Parish.
Siena Research Institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and subscribes to its code of professional ethics and practices; the American Statistical Association (ASA) and the Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER).