GCC Signs MOU with Curaçao’s Minister of Education

Memorandum Officiates a Nearly Ten-Year Relationship Between the College and Island Nation, Trustees Hear

 Batavia, New York - It started with a great coach searching for great players to round out his team. Ten years and more than 100 students later, Genesee Community College and the island nation of Curaçao have signed an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the ongoing relationship for international student enrollment. After showing Genesee Community College Trustees a fun video created last spring that featured 23 GCC-Curaçao students, Dr. Shelitha Williams, vice president for Student and Enrollment Services, explained this unique and wonderful segment of GCC’s student population.

The signing of the MOU by Dr. Marilyn Alcalá-Wallé, Curaçao’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, occurred on November 9, 2018. It was the highlight of a very successful week-long visit to the ABC Islands by GCC’s international admissions specialist, Kamilla Kabel and baseball coach Skip Sherman. During the trip, these GCC staff members visited Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, to attend various college fairs and recruitment events. Coach Sherman also held several baseball clinics, scouting for talent for his Cougar Baseball Team. On the last night of their recruitment trip, the GCC Alumni Office hosted a reception at Pincho Garden, a local restaurant owned by the family of one of GCC’s Curaçao students. More than 60 people attended, including Dr. Alcalá-Wallé and other members of her office.

“It was a great event and the perfect way to conclude our visit,” Dr. Williams told the Trustees. “We were happy to see so many potential new students, meet their families and also support the local economy.”

Additionally, the reception provided the opportunity for Coach Sherman to present Curaçao native John Polonius, who played baseball for the Cougars from 2009 – 2011, with his GCC Athletic Hall of Fame induction award. During his GCC career, Polonius was twice named NJCAA Region III All-Conference First Team, and was named 2011 GCC Male Athlete of the Year. He currently plays for the San Francisco Giants and could not attend the College’s official induction ceremony in September.

“The MOU illustrates the mutual benefit between Curaçao students and their families, the Curaçao government and Genesee,” Dr. Williams added. Since 2009, when Coach Sherman’s first Curaçao student-athlete joined the ranks of the GCC baseball team, more than 100 students have attended GCC, many earning associate degrees and then transferring for a bachelorette degree, or returning home to work in their communities. The students appreciate an affordable college education, GCC’s small class sizes and the close-knit campus community, and the access to vast transfer opportunities for upper level degrees. GCC is expecting three to five new Curaçao students to start this spring semester.    

In other business last Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:

  • Heard Valerie Bello, associate professor of Communication and Media Arts report on her one year sabbatical leave. As a GCC instructor of mass media, radio, broadcasting, media writing and public speaking, as well as a professional DJ with 20 years of experience, Bello is an early adopter of new technology. She focused her sabbatical on exploring the many technical advancements now impacting the radio industry. At WMSX-FM (Mix96.1) with Townsquare Media, where she works as an on-air personality, she helped roll-out and trouble shoot new music scheduling software, conduct music tests and helped conduct focus groups to determine the delivery of new digital content as a means of diversifying revenue streams. Through these experiences, Bello is consistently searching for fresh angles and opportunities that keep her classroom curriculum on the cutting-edge. She earned a MA from University of Buffalo and a BS from Medaille College, and she was a 2013 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor for Excellence in Teaching Award.
  • Reviewed the listing of potential degrees and certificate recipients for 228 students in January 2019 pending their successful completion of academic requirements. GCC anticipates awarding 99 Associate in Applied Science degrees (AAS), 113 Associate in Science degrees (AS), four Associate in Arts degrees (AA) and 12 certificates.
  • Reviewed the titles and job descriptions for two professional positions in accordance with the official listing of SUNY professional service classifications, specifically the Director of Interdisciplinary Academic Support and Assistant Dean for Student Services.

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Editor’s note: For a photograph of GCC’s Kamilla Kabel joining Dr. Marilyn Alcalá-Wallé as she signs the MOU, go to: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/Curacao MOU Signing.jpg

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