We’re just a few weeks away from the end of the semester, though if we look outside and see the snow, it’s a good reminder what time of year it really is! Thank you for your patience if you had students or colleagues stuck in snow or delayed; thank you to the facilities team for getting our campus up and running; and thank you to all who made the hard calls about whether this first storm of the season would have an effect on our start time.
I have a number of things to report out this month, but given the weather, let me start with a reminder about the Winter Shutdown. This year, the College will close on December 25 and reopen on January 2. In previous years, individuals were required to take vacation time the week prior to Christmas or find alternate working stations. A number of people ended up working in unheated buildings or trying to find ways to do their work in unfamiliar areas. This did not help us with the goal of being a great place to work. This year, we will be keeping the heating on up until the 25th, and offering choice: people can still take vacation time the week prior to the shutdown, but this will no longer be a requirement. All we ask is that offices have some coverage, or, with the agreement of all of the office and the respective VP, offices can close for a longer period. I know that a number of offices have asked to close for Christmas Eve, and this request will be honored in most instances. Please ensure that the relevant VP knows about your office’s request by December 6 at the latest so that office openings and closings can be posted in The Daily Eagle.
Electronic Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility
Following the announcement that Bob Cushman, Brockport’s Chief Information Officer, has been appointed the College’s EIT Officer, coordinating with SUNY, a number of people have had questions regarding SUNY’s EIT requirements. LITS has been working hard on training and information, and I’m aware that there has been much discussion around accessibility, the colorful gauges in Blackboard, and the time and energy to modify content in Blackboard. Recently the SUNY Electronic Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Committee released their final report and recommendations for all 64 SUNY campuses that outlines five areas where accessibility standards and expectations must be met to comply with ADA requirements. Bob has been charged with developing a plan by June 2020 that will guide the college in addressing EIT outcomes going forward.
Help is available. Over the last year the Academic Systems & Instructional Support (ASIS) team has been working to communicate and educate faculty across campus on best practices in working with Ally – the system that provides those colorful gauges you see in your courses. ASIS has provided instructional resources on its department web page, as well as in Blackboard. Every college employee has access to the Brockport Training organization in Blackboard, where a section called Blackboard Tools can be found. This content folder contains resources on accessibility, tools within Blackboard, OER, and the Open SUNY Course Quality Rubric review. Faculty may also visit Blackboard’s Help site for additional information on Ally. Keep an eye open for ASIS walk-in Blackboard support office hours in Brown, Drake, Edwards, and Hartwell, as well as continued trainings through CELT. ASIS has even provided individual department trainings on converting content; and is willing to make the rounds. You can reach the team at [CourseDesign@Brockport.edu].
There has been a lot of activity at the REOC lately, including the annual Community Leaders’ Breakfast. This year, more than 130 community leaders, staff, and students attended the breakfast, which focused on introducing the REOC’s new logo. If you haven’t already seen the new logo, you can see it on the top of this page: https://reoc.brockport.edu/. UCAWD, or the University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, under which all EOCs fall, was looking to create a unified brand and theme, and to showcase the importance of EOCs broadly and the impact locally. In addition, at the breakfast, two former REOC students who are currently members of our staff gave moving speeches, which reinforced the fact that the REOC changes lives. The breakfast was co-hosted by Senator Joe Robach and Assemblyman David Gantt.
The REOC’s 15th Annual Multicultural Day Celebration was held November 7. It was a day filled with events that highlighted the many different values and backgrounds of the students and staff. Students researched and presented projects to their faculty, staff, and classmates. Ms. Ragaa Ibrahim gave moving opening remarks, talking about her own experiences with encountering unconscious bias. She reminded the audience that “unconscious bias is not an accusation” but something that we all must become more aware of in our daily interactions. She said, “The shortest distance between two people is one of their stories,” and she urged the audience to “Let others paint their picture for you. Don’t take away their brush.”
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Updates
I’m pleased to report that the position of Diversity Recruiter, which was originally funded by a Performance Improvement Fund grant, has been made permanent, with the College now budgeting for the position. Dr. Sandra Vazquez will transition to the Office of Human Resources in December, and continue to work on actively recruiting faculty and staff of color, women in STEM, and all under-represented individuals in order to increase the diversity of our workforce.
In addition, I’m pleased to report that Human Resources and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI) have worked in partnership on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets out in detail the ways in which the two offices will work together to help resolve issues of concern. In addition, the OEDI and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs have created a similar MOU for student concerns. Both will be published on the website shortly.
As one of the first steps of the ACE Internationalization Laboratory, we are inviting Dr. Dawn Whitehead to campus on November 20. Dr. Whitehead will present two workshops that will provide faculty with practical models and methods to integrate international and global perspectives into their curriculum. I encourage you to register for one of Dr. Whitehead’s workshops, which aligns nicely with our Goal #1, to be a Great College at Which to Learn.
Good News Stories
There are so many good news stories I could share this month! For example, the College has achieved the designation of NASPA LEAD Initiative Consulting Institution for 2019-20. This designation recognizes the College’s commitment to educating engaged students who will make a difference to the world, particularly our focus on civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation.
I also want to acknowledge three academic programs: Sports Management was ranked 9th in the nation as an affordable, selective program by Sports Management Degree Guide: https://www.sports-management-degrees.com/affordable-selective-colleges-sports-management/. And Zippia.com ranked Brockport #3 in its annual study on the best colleges for Health Sciences and Services Majors in New York, and #5 in the annual study on the best colleges for Journalism Majors in New York.
Did you know?
Our latest First Destinations report has been published, which shows that for the Class of 2018, 93% are in employment or graduate school (or both!). Of those who are working, 85% are in jobs related to their career goals, 87% indicate job satisfaction, 93% work in New York State, and 63% of those who responded had had an internship while at Brockport. Moreover, the median salary for our graduates has risen to $40,030. Top employers for our students include Rochester Regional Health, Paychex, Wegmans, University of Rochester Medical School and The Bonadio Group.
Thank you for all that you do to Build a Better Brockport!