Genesee Community College Weighs New Academic Programs, Vice President Reports

Genesee Community College could see new programs in health care, multimedia, agribusiness, public safety, and green technologies over the next several years, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Eunice Bellinger reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening. The Board met at the Batavia Campus for its regular meeting on March 9, 2009.
Dr. Bellinger said that she, and faculty and staff members, have been studying employment trends in Western New York over the last year. As a result of the study, she has identified 20 possible academic programs that may prepare students for fast-growing careers.

Possible programs include Agriculture Distribution, Agriculture Systems, Agriculture Inspector, Veterinary Technician, Dental Hygienist, Home Health Aide, Medical Coding, Medical Technologist, Sleep Disorders Technologist, Medical Transcription, New Media, Electronic Gaming, Homeland Security, Police Science, Forensics, Corrections, Environmental Technician, Golf Course Management, Landscape Design, and Renewable Energy Technology.

Some of these programs could be based on highly successful Genesee degree programs already in existence, Dr. Bellinger said. For example, Genesee’s Criminal Justice program already prepares students for a variety of law enforcement positions in Western New York. New programs in Homeland Security, Police Science, Forensics, and Corrections could be offshoots of the current Criminal Justice program.

New programs will be geared toward career interests of students just out of high school, as well as older students wishing to prepare for second or third careers. “We all know that traditional manufacturing jobs are declining,” Dr. Bellinger said. “What many students and community residents do not realize is that a number of exciting new career paths are emerging, and business leaders are already looking for trained employees in these growing fields.”

Faculty and staff members will continue their review of new programs in the months ahead – and at least several new high-priority programs will be proposed within the next year, Dr. Bellinger said. The reviews consist of an analysis curriculum, job opportunities, and costs. “We have to be especially conscious of costs in these challenging times,” she noted. “So, for example, programs requiring a high investment like dental hygiene, may take a back seat to programs that we can implement with existing resources.”

Dr. Bellinger also told trustees that she hopes to introduce new courses for adults over the age of 50, such as genealogy and antiquing. “Courses such as these can bring new personal skills and income-producing opportunities to older adults, while not requiring full degrees.”

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:
  • Approved a recommendation from the Board’s Personnel Committee that Associate Professor of Computer Systems and Network Technology Marina Cappellino be granted a sabbatical leave during the 2009-2010 academic year. During that time, Professor Cappellino plans to fully revise Genesee’s Computer Systems and Networking program, as well as update four technology courses to better equip students to prepare for Cisco Networking Associates certification. Professor Cappellino will also participate in a variety of educational programs, including Cisco and Nortel router and switch programming and security, information security training necessary to meet U.S. Department of Defense requirements, data loss prevention, local area network standards, and voice-over-internet protocol telephony systems.
  • Heard President Stuart Steiner report that the official Fall 2008 enrollment numbers for Genesee are in: 6,672 students attended Genesee in the fall, up 3.1% from the 6,472 who were enrolled a year ago. “Today, more than ever, students appreciate the affordability and excellence that Genesee and other community colleges offer,” Dr. Steiner told trustees. “Just as important, most students now understand that they can easily transfer from a community college to baccalaureate colleges across the United States.” Dr. Steiner noted that leading educators, as well as civic and business leaders across the U.S., are now promoting the value of community colleges. “President Obama has mentioned community colleges as an excellent higher education alternative several times during his first six weeks in office,” he said.
  • Heard President Steiner report that the College currently enrolls 5,645 students during the Spring 2009 semester – the highest spring enrollment in the College’s history. Enrollment was up 7.9% from the 5,231 students enrolled a year ago and up 5.7% from the previous high record of 5,342 students in Spring 2006. Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Virginia Taylor reported that 787 students applied for Spring 2009 admission as full-time students, up 47% from the 535 students who had applied for the Spring 2008 semester. Nine hundred ninety students applied for admission on a part-time basis up 18% from the 842 students who applied last year.
  • Heard Board Chair Laurie Miller and Student Trustee Steven Schutt congratulate second-year student Moses Nhial of Sudan for attaining U.S. citizenship. Mr. Nhial was a sworn in as a U.S. citizen in early February, and was honored late last month at a College reception. Mr. Schutt and Mr. Nhial are roommates at College Village. Mr. Schutt briefly described Mr. Nhial’s life, and his mother’s 1,000-mile trek in the Sudan, carrying him to safety. “You cannot know what he (Moses) has been through in his life,” Mr. Schutt said. “Yet he is such a gracious and humble person.” Genesee County Legislator and Board of Trustees liaison Charles Zambito said that the Legislature will also honor Mr. Nhial with a proclamation March 24.
  • Heard President Stuart Steiner report that Kathleen L. Guyett and Frances E. Hoeft, professors of nursing, will retire at the end of the current academic year. “We are deeply grateful for their years of dedicated service,” Dr. Steiner said. “Kathy and Fran are highly respected nursing educators, and their efforts over the years have helped ensure that our local residents receive exceptional care in our area hospitals and health care facilities.” Professors Guyett and Hoeft began teaching at Genesee in 1978.
  • Heard Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin Hamilton report that the Lima Planning Board granted “concept” approval for the new Lima Campus Center March 4. The Planning Board will again review plans in mid-month. Mr. Hamilton said he hopes that final approval will be granted April 1. The new center will be located on Route 15A north of the village, and the College hopes the new building will be ready by the start of the fall semester.
  • Congratulated members of the Women’s Basketball Team, which won the Region III championship. The Lady Cougars, with a season record of 18-7, now moves on to the national championships next week in East Peoria, Illinois.
  • Heard Professor of Criminal Justice Barry Garigen describe the Criminal Justice Club’s new Student Safety Patrol. Ten students are currently active in the patrol, Professor Garigen told trustees. Wearing black and gold uniforms, they patrol the Batavia Campus and assist at student events, helping to serve as the “eyes and ears” of the College’s public safety officers. They also provide assistance to faculty, staff, and students, such as escort services to vehicles during evening hours. Students Phyllis Washburn of LeRoy and Jake Hammersly an international student from Great Britain, both patrol members, said that they have been “well received” by the College community. “We have received many compliments about the new safety patrol,” Mr. Hammersly said. “And for us, it’s a great real-world learning experience.” Students who need field studies experience can receive academic credit for participating in the safety patrol, and other students participate on a volunteer basis as members of the Criminal Justice Club, Professor Garigen said.
  • Heard Edward Levinstein, Associate Dean of Accelerated College Enrollment Programs, report that this fall the ACE office will facilitate the first-ever Theatre Arts Academy for area high school students. Participating students will complete two courses at the Batavia Campus – Fundamentals of Acting and Stagecraft – Monday through Thursday, afternoons. Theatre Arts Academy classes will culminate in a live performance. Students will earn six college credits.