GCC Board of Trustees Impressed by Dansville Campus Center's Growing Community Connections

Three years ago when the Dansville Campus Center relocated from the edge of town to the old middle school building just a block off Main Street, a good thing got better. And, it continues to only improve according to Barry Haywood, the former mayor of Dansville, who was one of several people to speak to Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees last Monday night.

Dansville, New York —Three years ago when the Dansville Campus Center relocated from the edge of town to the old middle school building just a block off Main Street, a good thing got better. And, it continues to only improve according to Barry Haywood, the former mayor of Dansville, who was one of several people to speak to Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees last Monday night.

“You are very visible in our community and we value that staff and students are involved in our community,” Haywood told the Trustees. “We are glad you are here.”

One of the many community events that GCC’s Dansville Campus Center actively supports is Winter in the Village. This year on Saturday, December 6, 2014, Dansville Campus Center, located at 31 Clara Barton Street, opens its doors at 9 a.m. for a GCC Open House. Students of all ages can explore academic programs and career options, register for the spring semester, and learn about financial aid or scholarships. In the afternoon, visitors can enjoy the GCC Student Art Exhibit and a Student Talent Show, crafts for children, and they can warm up with cocoa and refreshments. In addition, a portion of this year’s juried Arts and Craft Show and Sale will be located at the Dansville Campus Center.

“Since the Craft Show outgrew its space in the Town Hall, we are delighted to offer some overflow space here at the Center,” Amy Churchfield, associate dean of the Dansville Campus Center said, adding how the former old middle school is now a thriving college campus.

Other community events that the Campus Center supports with tangential programming are the summertime Chalk Walk featuring exquisite original artwork on the sidewalks surrounding the building, Clara Barton Day for nonprofit organizations, children and family opportunities between the balloon launches with “Kidding Around Downtown” over Labor Day weekend and a bi-annual Red Cross Blood Drive.

As important as the community events are, the academic opportunities aimed for traditional age students coming from high school, as well as nontraditional students who may be launching a second, third or even their first career at age 30. After a career shift, Derek Wadsworth, graduated with a GCC Human Services degree in 2012 and parlayed his “phenomenal internship” experience into a full-time job. He expressed his appreciation to the Trustees and is excited that his teenage son will soon have a local college opportunity too.

Caitlin Weidman ‘08, and Susan Becker ‘10, also illustrated how the Dansville Campus Center positively impacted their lives. Ms. Weidman started at GCC with an interest in criminal justice, but shifted into Sociology after an extraordinary class with Susan Drexel, assistant professor of Sociology, and she wound up transferring to St. John Fisher College for a degree in Sociology. She now runs her own business, “Bake My Day – Bakery & Bistro” in Dansville. Susan Becker was a single mother with three children when she took classes at GCC and quickly appreciated being on a first name basis with many of her instructors, and valued the faculty and staff ‘open door’ policy and flexibility critical to many adult students.

These successful student stories and experiences are ever increasing at Dansville Campus Center’s new location with expanded resources. The full gym, fitness center, auditorium, community room, silent study lounge, computer labs, art studio, Clara’s Commons and Clara’s Café allow students to be engaged with activities unknown at the old center. Basketball, badminton, weight training, intramural sports, concerts, poetry readings and community theatre are just a few of the new offerings.

“The new building has opened many doors, both literally and figuratively.” Churchfield said with a smile. She added how excited and honored she is that the Dansville Campus Center will host the Livingston County Job Fair in April 2015. She was quick to point out that GCC students will surely benefit from resume writing and interviewing skills workshops that will be offered by Livingston County Workforce Development in preparation for the Job Fair.

In other matters, the Board of Trustees:
Heard Kathleen Schiefen, GCC Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs report that while the College’s Academic Senate continues to review all programs for the SUNY (State University of New York) seamless transfer initiative, there are two new academic degrees ready for the Trustees review. The first proposal “disaggregates” the Liberal Arts & Science: Math and Science AS degree into Liberal Arts & Science: Math AS. Splitting the math program into its own associate in science degree builds on the momentum of regional and national STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs. It also helps reinforce the new P-Tech (Pathway in Technology) grant with Byron-Bergen School District. Dr. Schiefen added that GCC is also in the early stages of exploring three new tracks for the sciences division which would focus on biology, physics and chemistry.

Nanotechnology AAS, the second new degree presented to the Board of Trustees on Monday evening, features a unique partnership with Erie Community College and is viewed as an excellent model for the SUNY system. The new program will allow students to earn their first three semesters or 46 credits at GCC, and the fourth semester will be taken at ECC’s North Campus with hands-on access to their campus simulated clean room and laboratory. Faculty at both institutions are being collaboratively trained in nanotechnology at Penn State University through a special grant. In addition, GCC has a special Nanotechnology scanning electron microscope demonstration scheduled on this Friday, Nov. 21 where Dr. Karen Huffman-Kelly will show biotechnology students and other interested members of the community how ECC’s loaded microscopic electron samples can be remotely magnified and manipulated by GCC students through the special software and hardware.

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