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College Council Meeting Minutes: October 1, 2021

Via Zoom
October 1, 2021



PRESENT:      Laura Benjamin, Student Association President
Melisza Campos
                        Gidget Hopf
Judith Hunter
Christian Valentino
                        Robert Wayland-Smith, Chair
                        Jill Yonkers                                                                    

STAFF:           Denise Battles, President
                        Julie Buehler, Vice President for Finance and Administration
                        Joe Cope, Associate Provost for Academic Success 
                        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
                        Amy Sheldon, College Senate Chair
                       Costas Solomou, Vice President for Enrollment Management
                       Michael Taberski, Vice President for Student and Campus Life      

GUESTS:        Marcus Foster, Title IX Coordinator 
Nicole Gindling, Student
                        Anne Pellerin, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy

                        Leonard Sancilio, Dean of Students
                        Tim Sellers, ACE Fellow


Chair Wayland-Smith called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.

Chair welcomed everyone together virtually. Plans at this time call for the December meeting to be held in person, in conjunction with our annual holiday luncheon. We will update councilmembers on those details as the date gets closer.

The minutes of the April 16, 2021 meeting were approved.


Title IX Case Study and Discussion
Marcus Foster, Title IX Coordinator
robbie routenberg, Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Michael Taberski, VP Student & Campus Life

routenberg and Taberski introduced participants to the Title IX office and the prevention education and other programmatic work of that office. Building a Responsible Community was shared and Foster explained how outcomes from the Title IX Advisory Committee’s work have informed changes in programs and services. Reporting data from 2020-2021 were provided.

Presenters entertained Q&A from College Council.

routenberg, Taberski, and Foster shared a vignette and held a discussion. Additional Q&A followed.


Laura Benjamin provided an update on the business of the Student Association. Cumulative surplus has grown and SA has developed a five year spending plan to spend down the surplus to an appropriate amount. Spend down initiatives include: DEI, student organization support, sustainability initiatives, campus enhancement, and student support. Leaders are looking for alternatives to the traditional Intercultural Dinner given the inaccessibility of the ballroom. The SA Soiree is an opportunity for clubs to be showcased and celebrate their achievements. SUNY SA elections are upcoming and Geneseo SA has two voting delegates. A new student affairs standing committee is being formed and looking to help establish a tenant’s association. 


Amy Sheldon provided a Senate update. The Senate has passed the new general education curriculum with 97% of the vote. An implementation plan for the new curriculum is being developed so that the new curriculum can begin next fall. The first DEI Advisor position holder is Dan Jacques (Chemistry) and his efforts are well under way. A Code of Professionalism is also under development with hope to create an atmosphere of professionalism in all Senate business. Leadership is considering changes to the standing rules to streamline the process for course revisions, new majors, and deletions, and amending the constitution to allow for virtual meetings. Senate has offered an open invitation to members of the cabinet to give presentations to the senate body to increase transparency. Buehler and Solomou will be presenting later this semester.

The Senate Chair entertained Q&A from College Council.


     Geneseo Reaching Out to Women (GROW) and underrepresented groups in STEM
     Anne Pellerin, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy
     Nicole Gindling ’22


Pellerin shared background information about historic, current, and local data related to representation of women in STEM degree programs. In looking at Geneseo’s physics program, specifically, the proportion of women and particularly women of color, is disproportionate, though better in comparison to the national average. In 2016, Geneseo started GROW STEM to raise awareness about the challenges that prevent women and women of color from succeeding in STEM fields. Pellerin highlighted actions of the program and resulting learning. GROW STEM activities include: workshops, invited speakers, panel discussions, mentoring, and student club initiative.

Student Nicole Gindling shared her story as a STEM major at Geneseo. Gindling was part of the first cohort of GROW STEM mentoring program. She explained the positive impacts of the mentoring program and the supportive relationships that have been formed as a result.

The presenters entertained Q&A from College Council.



President Battles shared a variety of institutional updates.

College’s Pandemic Response
President Battles shared an overview of the 2021-2022 academic reopening protocols and the return to fully in-person operations. Those protocols include re-entry testing, surveillance testing, masking indoors, and a vaccination requirement for students. Current data on vaccination rates among students, employees, and the local community were shared.

Enrollment Update
An enrollment update was presented. Tentative headcount data and the undergraduate student profile were shared.

Updates on Selected Initiatives
Battles updated Council members on the college’s strategic planning process; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; the Middle States accreditation process; and updates on facilities renovation projects.

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 praised the college for its efforts and the caliber of accolades received by members of the campus community. Iris Banister was congratulated for her recognition by the City of Rochester for Project Unique. A park was named after the organization.


Two Student Code of Conduct amendments were presented and discussed.

A motion to approve both amendments was passed unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 3:37p.m.


Denise A. Battles                                                                                Wendi Kinney

President                                                                                             Recording Secretary