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College Council October 16, 2020


Via Zoom

October 16, 2020

PRESENT:      Kaitlyn Bertleff, Student Association President

                        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:             Marcus Foster

                             Chris Prusak, University Police Chief

                             Jennifer Rogalsky, Associate Professor & Chair, Geography

                             Leonard Sancilio, Dean of Students

                             Haley Saunders, student

                             Matthew Shin, student



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

The minutes of the February 20, 2020 meeting were approved.


Highlights and Challenges of Teaching F2F during the Pandemic
Dr. Jennifer Rogalsky, Associate Professor & Chair, Geography

Geography has a high proportion of courses being delivered in-person. There are 17 unique classes, 4 are online, three quarters of the courses have a face-to-face component: half the 13 are fully face-to-face and half are hybrid. For the spring semester, every faculty member in Geography will be teaching at least one course face-to-face. Students and faculty are fully masked at all times in the classroom and desks are spaced 6 feet apart. Lecterns or lecture spaces have plexiglass barriers. With hybrid courses, faculty have taken a variety of approaches, some have half the class in person and have the other half synchronously online, some do flipped classroom where learning is provided asynchronously in advance and then the in-person class is used to discuss the work.

Highlights include:

  1. Routine which gives consistency, increased engagement with students
  2. Community can still be achieved within the classroom even at a distance
  3. Creates an opportunity to learn with all of your senses
  4. Ability to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on college life
  5. Dynamic question and answer and immediate feedback from the professor
  6. Technology has provided new opportunities to re-envision courses

Challenges include:

  1. Masks make it hard to determine engagement and understanding
  2. Harder to get to know students as you see them less frequently
  3. Teaching technical skills or offer help from 6 feet away
  4. Recording live lectures and providing equivalent learning to remote students requires a lot of time
  5. Some students take advantage of the ability to not attend in-person class and this may negatively impact their experience and learning


Geneseo First Response Responds to COVID-19
Haley Saunders ‘21, Geneseo First Response
Matthew Shin ‘22, Geneseo First Response

Haley and Matthew provided an overview of ways that student members of Geneseo First Response (GFR) have supported pandemic response efforts on campus and in New York. Matthew shared his personal experience supporting efforts in Rockland County, NY, the 5th highest county with COVID cases in NY. The students were able to provide supplemental staffing support to volunteer ambulance services that were understaffed for approximately three weeks. Matthew also provided support in a city emergency room.

Haley shared how GFR has been instrumental in executing Geneseo’s pooled surveillance testing program. The College has employed 16 GFR members to assist with conducting weekly surveillance testing including scheduling GFR support, supervising test collection, conducting testing, and delivering samples to Upstate Medical University. To date there have been over 2000 tests administered.


Kaitlyn Bertleff offered an update on the work and activities of the Student Association. The SA executive committee held a retreat to identify core values and goals for the year: advocacy, respect, equity, accountability, leadership. The executive committee also had the opportunity to meet with Chancellor Malatras via zoom and discussed SUNY-wide bias training; the need for funding; the need for mental health counseling and support; and the need for additional support for Title IX. A result of the Chancellor’s meetings with SUNY SAs was the creation of the SUNY Student Advocate role at the system office. Programming and events are continuing after a period of reimagining them in light of health and safety requirements. SA is also identifying communal programming leading up to Election Day. The student legislative body is researching a cost cap on textbooks and expanded busing. Oct 19-23 will be Cultural Harmony Week. SA is creating an accountability list regarding social justice actions that the SA can advocate for.


Amy Sheldon shared an update on College Senate activities. The senate met three times over the summer and the executive committee was very active over the summer. Senate passed a resolution on the Black Lives Matter movement; a fall attendance policy to provide equity to students unable to attend class in person; a continuation of the pass/fail policy for fall; and a change in the spring semester calendar to eliminate spring break. This fall, senate is working on new program approvals and has approved the addition of a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer of the senate.


Title IX Snapshot: Understanding the Title IX Federal Regulations and Their Impact on the Geneseo Community
Marcus Foster, Title IX Coordinator
robbie routenberg, Chief Diversity Officer

One of the College’s key priorities this year is reimagining the Title IX office and related policies, procedures, resources, and services. There are new federal regulations we must be attentive to, as well as increased sharing of student and alumni experiences related to sexual misconduct at Geneseo which are helping to inform this work.

Marcus provided an overview of the work that is already underway to address changes to the Title IX office. Work done so far includes:

  1. implementation of a Title IX Grievance Policy
  2. creation of a Title IX Advisory Committee
  3. employee training
  4. student training for athletes and Greek organizations

Marcus highlighted the new Title IX regulations from the US Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator’s role is to neither encourage nor discourage the reporting individual to respond in any particular way. The Coordinator serves as a neutral resource of options. Changes to the role of the advisor of choice were reviewed. The SUNY Conduct Institute has provided timely training and resources to prepare conduct officers for managing these new regulations within conduct hearings.


The following items of new business were reviewed and discussed. A quorum was present at the time of vote.

Student Code of Conduct Amendment: approved
COVID-19 Amnesty Policy: approved
Parking Fees and Fines: approved


President Battles shared a variety of institutional updates:

New Campus Leaders

President Battles introduced Kerri Howell, Chief Communications and Marketing Office and Mike Taberski, Vice President for Student and Campus Life.

College Updates

President Battles shared a high-level summary of Geneseo’s continuing response to the pandemic and its impact on the College. This summary included the fall restart plan, surveillance testing, changes to on-campus operations and activities, and enforcement of health and safety protocols.

An enrollment update was offered and challenges resulting from demographic shifts in the state, the status of Milne Library and the ongoing pandemic identified. As a result of enrollment decline there have been significant financial impacts. Each 100 students translates to roughly to $2.2M gross revenue.

Major Initiatives for AY 2020-21

  1. Strategic planning is being aligned with our financial “get-well” efforts to include completion of the 2021 plan, refinement of mission, vision, values, program analysis and alignment, and revenue generation initiatives.
  2. Becoming an antiracist college initiative
  3. Title IX reimagining of our policies and procedures
  4. Institutional reaffirmation of accreditation efforts
  5. Facilities renovation projects


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


Chair attended a remote SUNY ACT session for College Council members. SUNY Board Chair Tisch provided a brief overview of the status of SUNY and introduced Chancellor Malatras. The Chancellor spoke of the strengths and weaknesses of the System.

Council Member Hopf acknowledged Dr. Battles upcoming 5th anniversary of appointment as President.

The meeting adjourned at 4:14p.m.

Denise A. Battles                                                                                Wendi Kinney

President                                                                                             Recording Secretary