140 Genesee Community College Staff Build Skills Through 'Mini-Summit'

One hundred forty Genesee Community College faculty and staff members learned new skills at the College’s annual “Mini-Summit” held at the Batavia Campus June 4 and 5. The Mini-Summit is an in-house professional development conference focusing on practical skills and productivity, according to Cathy E. Costello, Executive Assistant to the President and one of the organizers of the two-day event.

The theme of this year’s Mini-Summit – the College’s sixth annual such event – was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Education.” Like any professional conference, the event consisted of numerous workshops and activities designed to boost skills and foster networking.

Included this year were:
  • Twenty-five workshops covering subjects such as communication skills, student and customer service, technology, and wellness. Popular workshops included social networking, document scanning, desk isometrics, and campus-based walking and nature trails.
  • A keynote address by area realtor Russell Romano. Mr. Romano, who is also a member of Genesee Community College Foundation’s Board of Directors, spoke about self-motivation. His talk, “The Heart of the Cougar,” reminded staff members that they are the key to progress and growth at Genesee.
  • Two fifties-style “American Bandstand” lunches, with a “50’s Day” dress-up contest for staff and an American Bandstand video presentation developed by Instructor of Communication and Media Arts Valerie Pawlowski.
The Mini-Summit was an outstanding way to train and educate members of Genesee’s faculty and staff at little cost, Ms. Costello told trustees. “The cost of enrolling 140 staff members in out-of-area conferences would be enormous,” she said. “But by using our own facilities, our own in-house faculty and staff with expertise, and local talent for workshops, we produced a top-notch educational program for all of these people at virtually no cost. Most importantly, staff members who participated learned new skills and techniques they can put to use right away.”

The Mini-Summit was coordinated by the College’s Training Committee, a partnership of staff volunteers representing various offices and departments of the College tasked with assessing and coordinating in-house training and development needs of faculty and staff. Members include Joseph Bailey, Director of Financial Assistance; Julie Caswell, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist; Marilyn Dickinson, Academic Assistant to the Executive Vice President; John Reina, Director of Computer Services; Harold Strassner, Senior Academic Consultant for Computer Services; Gina Weaver, Associate Vice President for Human Resources; Alan Wright, Finance Specialist; and Ms. Costello.

The Mini-Summit is another example of Genesee’s creative approach to professional development, Ms. Costello said.