Genesee Community College Slates New Biotechnology Degree Program

Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees endorsed a new Associate in Science (A.S.) degree program in Biotechnology at the Board's monthly meeting held at the Batavia Campus on Monday, May 8th. The program must next be approved by the State University of New York and then by the New York State Education Department. If approvals are received as expected, the new program would be launched in September 2007.

Graduates of the Biotechnology program would be ready to transfer to baccalaureate colleges offering bachelor of science degrees in this field. As they developed the new program, Genesee's faculty and staff members consulted their peers in four colleges in particular - the Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY College at Brockport, the University at Buffalo, and SUNY Cobleskill. Graduates would be able to enter programs at these popular colleges seamlessly, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Claudia H. Moore told trustees.

Individuals with academic backgrounds in biotechnology will be prepared to work in a variety of laboratory, medical, and scientific settings. Although Genesee's program is geared toward students wishing to earn bachelor's degrees, faculty members anticipate that students who wish to use their education to begin work as laboratory assistants or technicians immediately after graduating from Genesee will be able to find positions in these areas, Dr. Moore said.

"Biotechnology is becoming a very important part of the economic development strategy for all New York State and especially for Western New York State," Dr. Moore told the Board of Trustees. She said that, through the new program, Genesee will assist in providing the well-educated workforce necessary to meet the needs of this industry. Dr. Moore also reminded trustees that the Genesee County Economic Development Center has proposed the creation of a Med-Tech business park south of the Batavia Campus. In addition to general education courses required of all Genesee students, Biotechnology students would complete a rigorous list of science courses, including Biology, Genetics, Physics, Microbiology, Molecular and Cell Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic chemistry.

The new program will place Genesee in the position of preparing students for the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry, Dr. Moore said. Trustee Melvin J. Wentland noted that the program's academic requirements are very similar to requirements of students preparing for careers in pharmacy, another rapidly growing field.

In other business Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:

•Approved promotions of eight members of the faculty. Barry Garigen, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, will be promoted to the rank of professor. Promoted from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor will be Dr. Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Chemistry; Maureen Leupold, Biology; Jean Chenu, Office Technology; and Patricia Schwartz, Sociology. Promoted from the rank of instructor to assistant professor will be Christine Belongia, Teacher Education; Roberta Taggart, Human Services; and Mary Macdonald, Nursing.

•Approved the awarding of 593 degrees and certificates to students, subject to their satisfactory completion of their academic requirements. The College will award eight Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees; 293 Associate in Science (A.S.) degrees; 259 Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees; and 33 certificates.

•Approved a $27,450,000 operating budget for the 2006-2007 year beginning September 1. The operating budget requests $1,736,374 from Genesee County, the College's sponsor, an amount unchanged from the County's last two years' support. The budget will next be presented to the Genesee County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee, and must be approved by the full Legislature before adoption.

•Approved a 2006-2007 tuition fee schedule. Under the new schedule, tuition for full-time students living in New York State would be increased $50 per semester, from the current $1,550 per semester to $1,600 per semester. Tuition for part-time students would increase by $8 per credit hour, from $120 to $128 per credit hour.

•Approved a request to the Genesee County Legislature to update and renovate the Batavia Campus' chemistry lab at a cost not to exceed $100,000. Because laboratory upgrades are in the College's Facilities Master Plan, New York State is expected to pay $50,000 of the cost, with Genesee County matching the state share. The chemistry lab has not been refurbished since the Batavia Campus was constructed in the early 1970s. The request will next be presented to the County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee.

•Heard Board of Trustees Chair Anne M. Garlock appoint trustees Melvin J. Wentland and Glenn R. Morton to the Board's Nominating Committee. The Committee will recommend a slate of board officers for the 2006-2007 year.

•Heard Vice President of Finance and Operations Patrick E. Richey report that the Genesee Community College Foundation had completed a new appraisal, survey, and State Environmental Quality Review process for 1.78 acres of College land south of College Village to be used for student housing expansion. A request to transfer the parcel to the Genesee Community College Foundation will next be referred to the Genesee County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee.

•Heard President Stuart Steiner predict that enrollments for the summer session will be near last year's record-levels. Vice President for Student Services George W. Walker reported that the College has received 2,136 applications from individuals interested in pursuing full-time study during the Fall semester, up 6.8% from the 2,000 individuals who had applied for admission exactly one year ago.

•Heard Nursing Program Director Kathleen M. Hankel report that Genesee Community College is participating in New York State's initiative to prepare licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses for the third year in a row. Ms. Hankel said that 24 LPNs are being admitted to the program this year. About 65 students will enter their second year of the nursing program, and 72 first-year students will be admitted. To accommodate the growing numbers of nursing students, the College is offering some nursing classes between 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Conable Technology Building two days a week. Also, LPNs are able to complete their clinical rotations in the evenings and on weekends, enabling many to continue working at their regular jobs while pursuing study at Genesee. Ms. Hankel told trustees that she is seeking ways to serve more students, including twice-yearly admissions, and expand the number of nurses in the region. "There's a shortage of nurses across the country, and it's not any better in Western New York," Ms. Hankel told trustees. "The shortage won't be getting any better any time soon."

•Heard Recruitment Communications Specialist Harold S. Legg describe the College's communications program for prospective students. Mr. Legg told the Board that the program includes personalized mailings, telephone calls, and invitations to admissions-related events. Web-based event sign-ups are now in use, and text-messaging recruitment and "personalized" viewbooks are just around the corner, he said. This high-tech approach to recruitment helps "engender trust and enthusiasm among the people we deal with," Mr. Legg said. Not too many years ago, the College simply offered one or two publications to prospective students - a viewbook and a search piece, said Vice President for Student Services George W. Walker. "We've come a long, long way since those days," he said.

•Heard Deborah K. Dunlevy, Project Director of College Tech Prep, report on the Tech Prep Virtual Enterprise program, which gives students in ten area high schools the opportunity to form and operate "virtual" businesses. Students engage in all the mechanics of a real business, such as planning, product development, sales, financing, human resources, taxation, accounting and payroll. Libby Woodruff and Catherine Schmeider of Alexander High School described for trustees "Bare Necessities, Inc.," a virtual business that sells gift baskets. Ms. Schmeider, who plans to pursue a Nursing degree at Genesee Community College, said that the Virtual Enterprise program had helped her develop speaking skills. "You need to get out there in the trade fair [a virtual enterprise marketplace]," she said. "You don't know anyone, so you have to go out and talk to people." The program exemplifies the main goal of College Tech Prep, which is to provide rigorous academics coupled with hands-on or practical application, Ms. Dunlevy said.

•Heard President Stuart Steiner report that Lauren Paisley will join the faculty as Instructor of Business this fall. Ms. Paisley worked for eleven years in the solid waste disposal industry. She has served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Genesee and Niagara Community Colleges, and has worked as a business trainer for The BEST Center. She holds a B.S. degree from D'Youville College and a M.B.A. degree from SUNY Buffalo.

•Heard Dr. Steiner report that James Simon will join the faculty as Instructor of History this fall. Mr. Simon has served as a faculty member on a temporary basis over the last two semesters. He has served as Assistant Professor of History at the U. S. Air Force Academy, and has a twenty-year career in the U. S. Air Force. He holds a B.S. degree from the U. S. Air Force Academy and a M.A. degree from the University of Utah.

•Heard Dr. Steiner report that Margaret Heater will return to Genesee Community College later this month as Assistant Dean for Student Development. Ms. Heater has many years experience in higher education, including six years experience as Director of the Center for Academic Progress at Genesee. Since 2004, she has been serving as Corning Community College's Academic Learning Center Director.