Let me start by saying how grateful I am to everyone for the incredibly hard work you are undertaking. We got through September with minimal health-related issues on campus, and I am hopeful that we can continue on this path for the rest of the semester. I know how trying and complex this semester has been, and how difficult it is to adjust to new SUNY requirements and protocols. I appreciate your forthright conversations with me and with the rest of cabinet about the challenges you have faced. We are working on lessons learned and how we can ensure, as far as possible, that the spring semester runs more smoothly.
ACADEMIC CALENDAR UPDATES
This year, due to the prevalence of remote working and the extension of the telecommuting policy, we are going to revert to a two-week winter shut down. That means that offices are not required to offer personnel cover from Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1. As has always been the case during shutdown, individuals must use their accruals/vacation if they are not working.
Cabinet was made aware that there was an error on the published academic calendar for the winter sessions. Classes will finish on January 20, not on January 15, and grades will be due on January 22. We are sorry for any confusion that this error may have caused.
As far as the spring calendar is concerned, we have yet to finalize the starting and ending dates for the semester. This is because SUNY is considering a system-wide approach to calendaring, and campuses are still in discussions about these issues with the Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Team. I have asked the Provost to reconstitute her Bringing Brockport Back Academic Affairs Subcommittee to discuss options for the spring semester. I realize how important this is, so as soon as we know more, we will update you. As was previously announced, Spring Break has been cancelled for 2021.
At the end of June, I submitted a progress report to SUNY Chancellor Johnson regarding the work that the College has undertaken on EDI initiatives. A version of that report—with changes made to ensure accessibility of the document for publication purposes and the fixing of a few minor typos—is published on our website on the Campus Updates page. The report references a point in time, addresses questions that the Chancellor asked, and threads through it updates on the 5 Point Plan. It hasn’t been updated with the latest information on continued progress, but you may still find it a useful document to peruse as it offers an overview of progress made over the summer. I will also ensure that EDI remains a focus of my monthly newsletters.
Becoming an inclusive and antiracist campus is ongoing work, and I am grateful to my cabinet colleagues for their leadership as well as the support of Dr. Rodmon King, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at SUNY Oswego, who remains on special assignment to SUNY Brockport. Due to the pandemic, and at our joint request, Dr. King’s engagement with the college has been extended by SUNY until December 31, 2020. Dr. King continues to work closely with the cabinet and divisions on training, EDI projects and initiatives, and analysis.
I’m grateful to everyone who has volunteered to be part of our new EDI committees. The Presidential Campus Climate Committee will have its first meeting this week, and Dr. Mario Fontana has agreed to lead it this year. The EDI Strategic Planning committee will be finalized later this year, and will start meeting in the spring. Expressions of interest in membership are still being taken by Dr. Acker.
The College has signed up for the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge, which will commence on October 23. Look out for more details in an upcoming announcement in The Daily Eagle.
COVID ALERT NY
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of a COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app. This free mobile app is available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in New York State. It is available from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and has English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Russian, and Haitian Creole versions. The COVID Alert NY app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert NY is completely anonymous and does not track or collect any location data or personal data from your phone. Proximity is measured, but not geographic location. For more information, see the COVID Alert NY website.
In case you missed the great news in The Daily Eagle, I wanted to let you know that our online repository, Digital Commons @Brockport, surpassed the 5 million download mark last month. The total usage of the website is more than 6 million, with 841,002 abstract views, and 56,932 full-text views counted separately. Works from the repository have been cited a total of 971 times, and have received over 3,000 social media mentions. During 2020, the repository has seen 829,402 downloads, and 184 new works posted. This is an impressive set of data, and the repository is a great way for faculty and research-active staff to get their research and scholarship noticed, which can lead to more citations, a greater range of reviews, and further dissemination of their findings.
Last month I announced a gift to the College by alumnus Joey Jackson to name the Joey Jackson ’88 Intercultural Center in the Seymour College Union. A virtual soft launch and inaugural lecture, by Joey Jackson himself, will be announced soon. In addition, two other gifts to the College have been received that will allow for additional named spaces. The owners of the off-campus housing complex on Redman Road, The Brock, will be naming a lounge in Hartwell Hall that is used by the School of Business and Management. The official name of the space is still to be determined. Finally, Bob Confer ’96, owner of Confer Plastics in Niagara County, is naming the Confer Plastics Ice Hockey Team Room in Tuttle North.
DID YOU KNOW?
Last year, I began adding a Did You Know? Section to the monthly newsletters. Today’s point of information relates to MyBrockport, the website dedicated to student opportunities on campus. It lists events, organizations, deadlines, news articles and more for our students. Especially during the pandemic, I am aware that our faculty and staff have wanted to ensure that our students’ needs for co-curricular activities are being met. I hope that you will feel some assurance after looking through the many events and opportunities that have been set up for and by our students that they are being well catered for—in a socially distanced way.
Thank you for all that you do to Build a Better Brockport and to Protect the Nest.