Community Partnerships with GCC Warsaw Campus Center

Key to Student and Community Success, Board of Trustees Hear

Batavia, New York - Since Genesee Community College opened the Warsaw Campus Center in 1991 thousands of students have earned college credit and furthered their career aspirations there. Yet on a parallel track are uncounted collaborative initiatives that support students and community residents of all ages. Patty Chaya, the Center’s associate dean, illustrated to the College’s Board of Trustees last Monday evening, how her own staff and also members of the community have made strong connections through past 23 years to provide, create and expand the array of services, events and activities that benefit not only GCC students but area residents as well.

For its monthly meeting, the Board met at the Warsaw Campus Center which is located within the YMCA Wyoming County Branch at 115 Linwood Avenue in Warsaw.

In sharing an impressive list of interesting partnerships that have developed in the past few years, Dean Chaya also introduced key community leaders who spoke about Warsaw Campus Center’s contributions to the region. Scott Taylor, chief executive officer of the GLOW YMCA expressed his appreciation for GCC’s Warsaw Campus Center within the Y as much more than tenant and even a neighbor. As the two organizations renew the long-term lease, the relationship exemplifies an unwritten but essential business policy that Scott coined as “partner or perish.”

Patty Jarnot, executive director of Y’s Wyoming County Branch reinforced this notion pointing to numerous shared events and programs such as College Goal NY, student internships, Summer Youth Campus, Career Day Expo, the Agri-Business Institute with Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and the P-Tech (Pathways to Technology) program with Byron-Bergen School District. Not to be forgotten are the Warsaw Campus Center’s many staff alliances through a network of interlinking board and council memberships, including the various branches of the YMCA.

The Warsaw Campus Center’s multifaceted and long-term relationship with the Wyoming County Business Education Council was highlighted by Linda Leblond, the executive director of the organization. As a nonprofit organization, BEC has collaboratively worked with GCC for years endeavoring to “close the skills gap,” starting in PreK and continuing through grade 12 and beyond.

Board members were also intrigued to hear from Warsaw Campus Center faculty and a few students, some who turn challenges such as a hearing disability into a career opportunity to help others.

Kelly Ashcraft, director of Member Services at the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce was able to speak not only about her current association with the Warsaw Campus Center, but she also reflected on her GCC student internship with the Business Education Council that ultimately led to her current position with the Chamber.

“With student success as our central mission, we find community collaboration helps us achieve our goal in an ever-evolving way,” Dean Chaya said. “While welcoming and assisting students of all ages—from high school students, home school students and adult learners who may have not been in a classroom for quite some time, we also welcome business and community leaders and aid in their efforts to ensure and expand the region’s economic success.”

In other business Monday, the Board of Trustees:
Accepted the generous donation of bridal gowns from M.A. Carr Bridal Shop in Orchard Park. The value of the gowns is more than $17,000, and collectively they are being used by GCC’s Fashion Design and Merchandising students to learn and practice alterations and design techniques.
Approved Professor Emeritus status for Dr. Jane Weston, a highly respected professor of biology who has been teaching at GCC since 1993. She not only has been an active member of the College community serving as Phi Theta Kappa advisor of 12 years, but she also mentored adjunct instructors, served on numerous search committees and helped develop and teach hybrid courses in microbiology and pharmacology. As a professor emeritus she will continue to enjoy many GCC benefits during her retirement including using pool, library and fitness center facilities, free tickets to GCC’s Fine Arts events and discounted tickets to other College opportunities.
Heard Jodi Harvey, assistant professor of GCC’s Teacher Education, will become the new Director of Humanities on June 1, 2014. As a member of the College’s Teacher Education faculty since 2009, Harvey’s dedication has been seen in many areas of the College, including as an active member of the Academic Senate and Curriculum Committee, co-advisor of the Education Cub, and as a mentor of numerous adjunct instructors. In addition to teaching coursework in GCC’s Teacher Education program, she has also taught courses in human services, development disabilities and adaptive physical education.

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