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College Council February 26, 2021

PRESENT:      Kaitlyn Bertleff, Student Association President
                         Iris Banister
                         Gidget Hopf
                         Judith Hunter
Christian Valentino
                         Robert Wayland-Smith, Chair
                         Jill Yonkers                                                         

STAFF:           Denise Battles, President
                        Julie Buehler, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Kerri Howell, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
                        Wendi Kinney, Senior Associate to the President             
Ellen Leverich, Vice President for College Advancement
                        Christie Reed, Administrative Assistant to the President
                        Stacey Robertson, Provost
                        robbie routenberg, Chief Diversity Officer
                        Amy Sheldon, College Senate Chair
                        Costas Solomou, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Michael Taberski, Vice President for Student and Campus Life      

GUESTS:        Madison Folley, Student
                        Seth Gilbertson, Counsel
                        Rachel Pasternak, Admissions Counselor
                        Ashley Scott, Admissions Counselor
Christie Smith, Interim Director of Admissions
                        Monica Weber, Student



Chair Wayland-Smith called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.

The minutes of the December 4, 2020 meeting were approved.

Chair Wayland-Smith acknowledged Council member Reverend Dr. Iris Banister’s nomination for the Athena Award and thanked VP Leverich for coordinating the nomination.


Geneseo Admissions: Navigating Through A Global Pandemic and Changing Landscape

Christie Smith, Interim Director of Admissions
Rachel Pasternak, Admissions Counselor
Ashley Scott, Admissions Counselor

Madison Folley ’21
Monica Weber ’21

Representatives of the admissions team presented the department’s response to the challenge of recruiting, yielding and enrolling an entire incoming class virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work was driven by innovation, collaboration, and quick thinking. Virtual programming and social media were used to engage with prospective students and their families. Faculty collaboration was integral to their success. The admissions office also instituted new initiatives related to the College’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist campus.

The presenters entertained Q&A from College Council.


At 1:41pm Chair moved to go into executive session to discuss the employment history of a particular person as well as current and pending litigation. The motion carried.

At 2:09pm the executive session concluded. No action was taken.


Kaitlyn Bertleff offered an update on the work and activities of the Student Association. Student Association voted to support RTS bus services for 2020-21 academic year. SA is also hosting programs as part of Diversity Summit and sponsored two keynotes for Black History Month. SA is working to identify student representatives to serve on the Public Art Committee and looking forward to advancing work on the mural project. The Alliance for Community Enrichment (ACE) film festival is upcoming and hoping to do so in person. SA is connecting with students to help enhance pandemic response on campus. SA meets with SUNY stakeholders and Kaitlyn continues to participate in the SUNY Student Voices Action Coalition (24 students from across all 64 SUNY campuses). SA annual budget hearings have been initiated and SA elections for 2021-22 term has also been initiated. It is a referendum year, which is done on a two-year cycle, to approve mandatory student activity fees.

The SA President entertained Q&A from College Council regarding the student activity fee and the Student Association budget.


Amy Sheldon shared an update on College Senate activities. Senate has passed 27 new courses, 2 new programs, 81 revised courses, 20 revised programs, and several other academic policy actions. Senate endorsed the University Faculty Senate resolution urging the SUNY Board of Trustees to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The general education policy revision will go up for vote this afternoon by the Curriculum Design Working Group (CDWG).

The Senate Chair entertained Q&A from College Council.


Revisiting Our “Why” and Refining Our Mission
Stacey Robertson, Provost

Provost Robertson shared an update on the College’s engagement with the campus community and college stakeholders in a mission revision exercise. Meeting participants were asked to identify one word that they believe should be captured in Geneseo’s mission statement. A discussion ensued.


President Battles shared a variety of institutional updates.

College’s Pandemic Response
President Battles highlighted differences in pandemic conditions between March 2020, August 2020, and January 2021 and the associated impact on spring semester operations. The President described the pre-arrival protocols; the restrictions currently in place in response to the current case status on campus; and plans for return to spring athletic competition. An update was given on the College’s financial health and sustainability efforts and the impact of the pandemic on enrollment and budget.

Updates on Selection Major Initiatives
The President provided status updates on the following initiatives:

  1. Strategic planning and associated efforts in refinement of mission, vision, and values; and program analysis and alignment and revenue generation initiatives.
  2. Becoming an Antiracist College initiative
  3. Institutional reaffirmation of accreditation efforts
  4. Reimagining Title IX policies and procedures
  5. Facilities renovation projects of Milne Library, Fraser Library, and Starbucks

Battles highlighted a few of the many recent faculty, staff, student, and alumni achievements, awards, and recognitions.

The President entertained Q&A from College Council.


Chair Wayland-Smith invited any further discussion from College Council. The next meeting of College Council is April 16, 2021.





The meeting adjourned at 3:39p.m.

Denise A. Battles                                                                                Wendi Kinney
President                                                                                             Recording Secretary