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College Council April 16, 2021

Via Zoom
April 16, 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, Chief of Staff           
                        Ellen Leverich, Vice President for College Advancement
                        Christie Reed, Administrative Assistant to the President
                        Stacey Robertson, Provost
                        Amy Sheldon, College Senate Chair
                        Costas Solomou, Vice President for Enrollment Management
                        Michael Taberski, Vice President for Student and Campus Life


GUESTS:        Gerard Floriano, Distinguished Service Professor & Chair, Music
                        Laura Benjamin, Student Association President-elect
Evan Panzer, student
                        Matthew Pastizzo, Associate Professor & Chair, Psychology
                        Emily Polizzi, student


Chair Wayland-Smith called the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m.

Chair commended the administration and the College for weathering the pandemic well the past 13 months.

The minutes of the February 26, 2021 meeting were approved.

Chair acknowledged the election of Laura Benjamin as Student Association President, welcoming her to her first meeting, and thanked outgoing President Kaitlyn Bertleff for her leadership and service.


Music and the Pandemic: A Year of Discovery
Gerard Floriano, Distinguished Service Professor & Chair, Music
Evan Panzer ‘22

Emily Polizzi ‘21

Dr. Floriano provided an introduction, indicating that the last in person concert of Chamber Choir was March 8, 2020; Festival Chorus performed in the atrium of Brody on March 12; and a stage production of Damn Yankees gave a run through with limited set and accompaniment; and that these ended up being important and meaningful endings to the spring semester. The early zoom meetings gave a sense of what could and couldn’t be done collaboratively while overcoming the challenges caused by delays in audio and video. A focus of classes would be less about content and more about building community. New learning included: how to safely sing and play instruments together; how to sing in masks and optimal types of masks; safe distancing while performing.

Evan and Emily shared the ways in which the choir has adapted first to a fully virtual realm and then to modified in-person rehearsals and activities. Evan further shared on how individual vocal and music recordings were engineered into one virtual recording. Some benefits learned: audio and video recording skills; performing with and for a wider audience; confidence as an individual singer; focus on advanced musical techniques. These benefits extended to both majors and non-majors.

The presenters entertained Q&A from College Council.


Kaitlyn Bertleff
The referendum passed keeping the activity fee mandatory for next two years with over 1,000 students voting. SA has renamed an executive board position to SA Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (SA IDEA). SA positions have been elected for 2021-22. Geneseo Campus Activities Board (GCAB) continues virtual and in-person programming. The mural project continues to move forward. SA will be presenting at an upcoming Foundation Board meeting to identify ways to collaborate with that entity. The incoming SA board will be participating in diversity, equity, and inclusion training. SUNY General Assembly (SGA) hosted their annual conference at which four Geneseo SA leaders attended. Geneseo won three awards at this conference: SGA of the Year, Best COVID-19 Leadership & Advocacy Initiative Award, Student Club/Organization of the Year Award (Geneseo Black Student Union).


Amy Sheldon provided a Senate update. The election process has begun and will be electing their first individual to the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor. Senate endorsed a resolution to encourage TIAA to divest from fossil fuels. The curriculum committee passed 63 new or revised programs. The Student Affairs Committee is acting on a recommendation from the President and Provost to shift the calendar to provide a class-free day for diversity programming. They also received a request to place a satellite food pantry on campus. Faculty Affairs is working on an early promotion policy and reform to SOFIs (Student Opinion of Faculty Instruction). The Policy Committee has proposed revisions to admissions requirements to the sociomedical major, seamless transfer requirements, and nonmatriculated students credit load permissibility. Also upcoming will be a vote on a revision to the pass/fail policy and the new requirements for earning a baccalaureate degree at Geneseo.

The Senate Chair entertained Q&A from College Council.


Mission and Values Update
Stacey Robertson, Provost
Matthew Pastizzo, Associate Professor & Chair, Psychology

Pastizzo provided an overview of the process and tactics used to invite the Geneseo community to participate in refining the mission. The methodology included surveying the community’s penchant for specific words, phrases, and sentence structures. A dashboard was created to further engage the community by sharing the live results of the survey responses. The community is now being invited to participate in a similar exercise to refine the College’s values and select a mission statement from five final draft statements. All of the collected data will be provided to Cabinet to use in crafting a final mission statement.

Presenters entertained Q&A from College Council.


President Battles shared a variety of institutional updates.

College’s Pandemic Response
President Battles shared a snapshot of the spring semester under pandemic conditions. Over 3,000 surveillance tests have been conducted on a weekly basis; vaccination efforts have been coordinated with Livingston County Department of Health; spring sports held a condensed season; and a phased hybrid commencement is planned for the 2021 graduates. We are planning with the intention to be fully open for in-person instruction in the fall semester.

Budget Outlook
Battles provided an update on the college’s budgetary outlook. The state budget has been adopted which includes promising funding for several higher education initiatives. The college continues to work on addressing its sizable budget gap and reports significant progress has been made on the current year’s gap. Geneseo has received federal stimulus funds which partially offset pandemic-related expenses.

Enrollment Update
An enrollment update was presented. Data related to SUNY-wide application trends and graduation rate forecasts were also shared.

Updates on Selected Initiatives
Battles updated Council members on the program analysis conducted this academic year. Curriculum development activities were highlighted which include progress on the new core curriculum; new degree programs which have been launched or in development; and new microcredentials launching in fall.

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 congratulated President Battles and the Cabinet on their leadership of the college throughout the pandemic. Chair reminded Council that the Athena Awards presentation will be held on April 22 at which Iris Banister will be recognized. Chair invited Council to contribute to the Geneseo Foundation as they are able.



The meeting adjourned at 4:00p.m.

Denise A. Battles                                                                                Wendi Kinney

President                                                                                             Recording Secretary