Monday, March 3, 2008

Let's get started...

These are exciting times at Finger Lakes Community College! My blog is an opportunity to share with you some of the initiatives that are underway and let you know in an informal way how I've been spending my time. I hope you'll send me your thoughts and ideas about how we can work together to make great things happen at FLCC.

There's a lot going on, so let me just let you know very briefly what's been keeping me busy in recent days.

I've continued to meet with people in the community to listen to their ideas and talk about partnership opportunities. For example, in the last week or so I've met with President Braveman of Nazareth College; Joe Marinelli, Superintendent of Finger Lakes BOCES; George Hamlin of Canandaigua National Bank and Jim Homberger of Silver Hill Associates (our landlord at the Wayne County Campus Center). The FLCC Athletic Advisory Group is investigating how we compare with other community colleges in athletics and will be making some recommendations - what a dedicated group of community folks! I met with them recently and we had a very interesting discussion about athletic facilities at FLCC. This issue came home to me when my husband and I attended the FLCC women's basketball Region III tournament this Saturday, hosted at Tompkins-Cortland Community College in their incredible, brand-new fieldhouse complex. As you know, our first priority as we attack facilities issues is the new Student Services Center and the renovation of classroom space in the main classroom building. However, we also need to keep an eye on what other colleges are doing with athletic facilities and we need to be open to establishing partnerships in the community to help us upgrade in this area, as well.

Our strategic planning efforts continue with the four work groups staying quite busy throughout the month of March on identifying measures for our strategic objectives. We are on schedule to complete the strategic plan by the end of the spring semester. We have been meeting to work with the county on financing options for Phase One A/B of our Facilities Master Plan. This project is extremely important to the college. The classroom learning environment is the heart of Finger Lakes Community College. Our facilities project will allow for classroom, laboratory and studio renovation at the main campus and campus centers. It also supports an infusion of technology into our learning environments, helping to create seamless transitions for students to the workplace or to four-year colleges and universities.

Tomorrow evening I'll be meeting with the Alumni Association to update them on what's been happening at FLCC and discuss our future direction. Thanks to Alice Gerace in Educational Technology, I will be launching a new PowerPoint presentation, which will be used throughout the spring as we reach out to a wide variety of community groups in our service area to tell them what's happening at the college and listen to their ideas.

Last Tuesday, our FLCC delegation participated in SUNY Day in Albany. The team involved with our lobbying effort included: Amy Pauley, Milton Johnson, students Susan Briggs and Kolin Leibenguth and me. Amy did a great job of pulling together "leave behinds" for our legislators to remind them of our three primary talking points. We are concerned about a proposed $50. cut in state aid for community colleges, which would amount to approximately $187,000 lost to FLCC. As Amy noted, that amount is very significant to us: it is the equivalent of four faculty positions or the entire budget for student life. We also talked about a proposed change in the retirement system that would result in a costly unfunded mandate for the college. Finally, we asked our legislators to restore special funding for the five small community colleges (FLCC is not in that category) because it is critically important for them. We met with Assemblyman Errigo, Senator Winner, Assemblyman Bacalles, Assemblyman Oaks, Senator Volker and Senator Nozzolio. We were held up and missed our appointment with Assemblyman Brian Kolb, who is an alumnus of FLCC and a long-standing good friend to the college. Fortunately I was able to meet with him later in the week here in Canandaigua at Patty's Place. Now I've officially been to the place where the locals hang out for breakfast!


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