Performance Improvement Fund Opens Doors of Opportunity, Awareness and Engagement GCC Board of Trustees Hear

Batavia, New York - It’s called the “PIF Grant” for short, but it’s effect will be long-term and wide reaching. The $179,000 Performance Improvement Fund was originally awarded to Genesee Community College in 2017 by the State University of New York and was then refunded through to the end of 2019 with the goal of enhancing diversity and inclusion throughout the campus culture. And, overall the program has been “going fantastically” stated Dr. Katherine (Kate) Schiefen, GCC’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs to the Board of Trustees at Monday night’s meeting.

Dr. Schiefen explained the three major components of the PIF Grant undertaken by GCC:

1- To better prepare college faculty and staff to serve on new employee screening and search committees without any bias, an internal team of GCC’s faculty and staff created the eight-minute video, “The Case of a Good Fit.” Inspired by the 1950’s ”Dragnet” television series and using the internal talent from the College’s own Theatre and Humanities programs, Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion Offices, the video illustrates how the easily a search committee process can go awry with the unconscious bias of one member. In an entertaining but educational manner, the video shows how to right a wrong, and encourages a diverse and inclusive workforce. All College employees participating on a screening committee will watch the video as part of their training.

2- The Open Door Internship program invited two minority interns to serve as an adjunct or support staff member for one semester at GCC under the mentorship of a GCC faculty or staff member. Ana Beliz Olmeda, graduated from GCC in 2014 and is now working on her Master’s degree at Buffalo State College. While studying Student Activity Administration, she is also helping to launch a new Young Alumni Division within GCC’s Alumni Office. The other intern Brittany Guistanner graduated from GCC in 2012, earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work at SUNY Buffalo, and a Master’s of Social Work at SUNY Buffalo in 2017. Brittany will be interning with the Human Services Department.

3- Finally, the Urban Exchange program recognizes that many of GCC’s own faculty and staff have had few urban experiences, yet many of the College’s students come from urban areas. A group of GCC faculty and staff will visit the following three urban campus locations:

  • Monroe Community College’s downtown Rochester campus
  • The Fashion Institute in New York City, where GCC transfers many students
  • Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn        

For additional exposure to diversity on college campuses, nine GCC faculty members and one administrator will attend the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ “Diversity, Equity and Student Success Conference” in Pittsburgh. The original PIF grant was coordinated by Sara E. Vacin, GCC’s Diversity and Inclusion coordinator.

In other business Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:                     

  • Approved the Finance Committee second quarter report noting that while the dip in enrollment has had a small impact on the College’s fund balance, the institution is also carefully watching and controlling expenses to offset any fiscal challenges.      
  • Approved the language changes to the By-Laws of the Board Trustees (Policy # 8001) to include videoconferencing and/or online technology to conduct meetings.
  • Heard of the appointment of two new employees and the promotion of a third after a brief reception prior to the meeting where trustees are invited to meet new employees.   
    • Lisa C. Krause is the new director of the Upward Bound program. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in History from SUNY Geneseo, a Master’s in Secondary Education from Nazareth College, and she holds a Certificate of Advanced Study from SUNY Oswego. Her extensive experience in K-12 and higher education includes being a middle school teacher, high school principal and academic dean. She resides in W. Henrietta.   
    • Alexandria E. Misiti is the new program coordinator of The BEST Center. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Canisius College and was the recent executive director of Genesee County CASA which advocates for children. She lived in the Boston area for four years working as an employment specialist and rehabilitation counselor. She resides in Batavia with her family.
    • Long-term employee and GCC alumnus, Raymond J. Strzelecki, Jr. has been appointed assistant director of Buildings and Grounds. Having begun his GCC tenure in 1991, Ray has witnessed GCC’s tremendous growth including six new buildings constructed during his term as supervisor of Building Maintenance. His knowledge and experience in electrical, plumbing, HVAC, scheduling, fire systems, energy management and safety are a true asset to the College. He resides in Batavia with his wife.
  • Heard William Emm, executive vice president of Finance and Operations report on two College proposals, specifically the new Facility Master Plan and an Emergency Power Plan. Both projects have entertained requests for proposals, with the results incurring a follow-up rebidding on the first Plan, and a project realignment for the second plan. For the Facility Master Plan, the second course of bids were just received and is now currently under review by the College’s Space Committee. With the Emergency Power Plan, the installation of the new back-up generator to serve the central College buildings A through G, will realize some cost savings by assigning the preparation work to the College’s own Buildings and Grounds crew, and only the electrical will be contracted to an outside provider.

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Please note: To obtain a copy of the minutes from the Board of Trustee Meetings please contact Bethany Aradine at