As we begin 2022, and the spring semester, I wanted to start my newsletter by offering gratitude, especially to our essential workers, who have been maintaining our campus during the semester break and preparing for the return of our students and faculty. In just one example, our facilities colleagues are responsible for providing snow removal for 644 exterior steps, 44 buildings, 6.5 miles of roadway, 25 miles of sidewalks, and 20 acres of parking lots. And on Monday, when we had such significant snowfall, they worked constantly to keep our campus safe and accessible. Everyone plays an important part in Building a Better Brockport, and I wanted to acknowledge the efforts that too often go unpraised.
Building a Better Brockport
Speaking of Building a Better Brockport, I’m pleased to report that over 300 faculty and staff and over 600 students took part in the survey on the values and objectives that the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) had developed. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding the addition of the value of Inclusion, alongside Community, Engagement, Excellence, and Transformation. And we had some very astute feedback regarding individual objectives.
We thank you for your collective wisdom and guidance in relation to this important work. The SPC had a retreat earlier this month during which we reviewed this feedback and made changes to the objectives. We then presented updates to the biannual College Leadership Summit on January 19 and SPC members led breakout room discussions on each of the four goals of the plan. Participants in the summit reviewed the work undertaken and offered guidance regarding the development of metrics for the next five years of the plan. The SPC meets weekly. The next stage of our work is the refinement of institutional metrics and the development of a plan for individual departments to choose which metrics they wish to develop for their own specific areas under the wider plan. We will also begin presenting the final draft to Brockport Student Government, to College Senate, to the Brockport Alumni Association, to the Brockport Foundation, and finally to College Council for their ratification, with the new iteration of the plan set to begin in July 2022. Thank you for your continued support of this crucial work.
I’m grateful to our COVID team for all of the work that has gone into planning the start of this semester. Our students have uploaded pre-arrival tests and have isolated at home if they tested positive. In addition, we’ve conducted a large number of arrival tests for students, with a low positivity rate. Across the nation, the Omicron variant appears to be in decline, and we have managed to keep our student activities—including sporting activities—on track. We’ve also arranged for booster clinics on campus for our students, so that they can easily comply with the New York State mandate for booster shots that the Governor announced earlier this month. While we are still grappling with some of the effects of the pandemic on the work that we do, these are all positive signs of a return to a more regular campus experience. As always, we follow Monroe County Health department’s advice, SUNY advice, and state mandates.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
I am looking forward to the Diversity Conference, which this year will be held in a hybrid fashion from March 28 - April 1. Look for a very exciting announcement from our CDO, Damita Davis, regarding our keynote speaker. We are also continuing the Lunch and Learn series with future dates about to be finalized.
Beyond events and activities, we continue to work on institutional priorities, policies, and practices. For example, we have completely revamped our unconscious bias training for search committees. Our Diversity Recruiter and Retention Specialist, Christiana Ortiz, meets with each search committee as a group to cover key points regarding bias, including in relation to candidate review and interview questions, as well as our affirmative action placement goals. This “just in time” training has been shown to be more effective than training that is separated from actual search processes. If you want to know more about any of these processes, please contact Christiana, or ask to be included in one of the HR roadshows.
Earlier this month, the Provost Search Committee selected 5 finalists for on-campus interviews, which are scheduled between February 3 - 18. Each candidate will meet with a variety of individuals, and will present to the college community in an open forum. The open forums will be held virtually to allow for maximum participation. More information about each candidate will be forthcoming a few days before their on-campus interviews.
After hearing feedback from our college community, we have renamed our internal employee recognition program the “Green and Gold Star Award” program, and we will be retiring the name “Bravo.” The nomination process remains the same for this opportunity to thank someone for doing a great job. It only takes a minute to recognize someone’s commitment to SUNY Brockport, their colleagues, our students, or our visitors, and I hope, if you make one New Year’s Resolution this year, it would be to undertake random acts of kindness, including recognizing others for their good work.
Did You Know?
We had 293 students on the President’s List last semester, meaning that they achieved a perfect 4.0. Thank you for your support of our students as they stretch themselves and achieve academic success.
Open Office Hours
The next Open Office Hours will be held on Tuesday, January 25, from 3: 15 - 4:15 pm in Seymour Union CR 220. Please join Mike Andriatch, Vice President of Advancement, and me to talk about any concerns you have, good news stories you want to impart, or any questions you might have about the College.
As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, I hope you’ll extend your support to our Faculty and Staff Campaign: Celebrating Community. If you choose to give a gift, it will directly impact the programs you’re closest to and the students who need our support most. You can sign up for payroll deduction or give online today. If you have any questions about the campaign, please contact Nicole Dumbleton in the Division of Advancement.
Thank you for all you do to support Brockport and to celebrate our community.