Members of the third Big Idea task force are exploring how Geneseo can "simultaneously enhance the quality and increase the stream of locally-controlled revenue," according to President Christopher Dahl's official charge.
The task force has so far focused primarily on increasing revenue through summer offerings. These "early bird" programs allow incoming freshmen to take classes prior to their first semester, as well as offer summer courses to local students who attend other universities, transfer students, and current students taking extra courses for scheduling reasons.
In addition, alumni and local residents may be provided with "an intellectual experience at Geneseo" if the task force finds that a market exists for such an offering, according to the force's August report.
Task force members are also considering summer online courses. "Online summer course offerings offer the most room for enhanced summer revenue," states the report. "Little overhead in online delivery makes them the most lucrative courses that are currently offered."
"We're not planning on teaching a large number of online courses during the spring and fall [semesters], that's not on the table," said Gary Towsley, co-chair of the task force and mathematics professor. "And where it's appropriate, we're pushing to add online courses and remote location courses."
"We are also exploring the possibility of offering the humanities sequence on Long Island over the summer," Towsley said.
Presently, the task force is working to develop estimates of the potential costs associated with each proposal. Looking forward, it hopes to discuss potential policies regarding intellectual property, royalties and copyrights should faculty participate in online courses. Possible problems and additional resources that may be necessary for technological support will be addressed in the coming weeks.
In August, Dahl wrote to the group, "You are exemplifying the kind of creative strategic thinking that our institution needs in order to continue pursuing our mission in difficult economic circumstances."
Although the task force has not decided whether students will be allowed to join their efforts, Towsley said that student input in the decision-making process is essential.
"We want to know from the student's point of view what those courses are that might make you have to spend an extra semester at Geneseo," he said. "We'd also want to know if you would be willing to pay for a single course in the summer to avoid paying an extra semester's … tuition."
A final report will be issued by the task force in December.