Campus community gives feedback on Strategic Plan

The Strategic Planning Group and the Budget Priorities Committee are asking for feedback from students, faculty, staff and alumni on its Strategic Plan. This document outlines where Geneseo should be in terms of learning, access and success, advancing the public good and resilience and sustainability by 2021. The SPG and BPC are asking for feedback in regards to the objectives of those four focus areas as well as the prologue, statement of mission, vision and values. The committees will be taking feedback until May 16. According to the Geneseo website, however, this document is expected to be modified during its implementation over the next five years.

The SPG asked for feedback from the college in March by hosting public forums and sending out polls. According to student representative and Student Association President senior Andrew Hayes, the feedback SPG received allowed it to focus on certain areas it didn’t realize was necessary, such as student advising, revising the mission statement and sustainability.

Hayes stated that he hopes the feedback will allow the Strategic Planning process to be all-inclusive. “We really want all of the people that are going to be interacting with Geneseo to buy in, in a sense to participate and want to be part of Geneseo with this plan,” he said.

Student representative and SA Director of Business Affairs senior Daniel Martin said he focused on the advising system while working on the Strategic Plan. “I know advising has always been an issue in the sense that there’s not much actual advising, more of a check,” he said. “So I really wanted to push to get the relationships between advisor and student more present, whether that means more conversations about good classes to take and longer checks, or if it means that the advising’s done by a few people and then the professors are just resources for those students.”

Martin also said the plan outlines goals to increase online learning and international opportunities for students. “There’s Digital Geneseo—how we want to use digital learning technology in and outside the classroom. There’s also an inclusive part of it—how we want to interact with the community and the college all in one,” he said. “And there’s also an international aspect of it—working with our international students and working to expand our school across the nation and the world, really, through our students and through our alumni base.”

Committee member and associate professor of English and film studies Jun Okada said that  since President Battles joined Geneseo, the SPG has been much more focused. “She has a very specific charge for us as the group for the Strategic Plan,” she said. “Everything having to do with the budget, enrollment, obviously the curriculum, diversity, international programs—everything.”

According to Okada, reaching the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan will require more time or funding. College Senate Chair and associate professor of physics James McLean said funding will be determined by the Budget Priorities Committee.

“Especially with the not-so-great budget that New York state has handed us this year, it’s definitely going to be a zero sum game to a certain extent,” McLean said. “If we want to allocate money to project A versus project B, there’s some opportunity for new money. Maybe if we ask the foundation to use donations from alumni that might be possible.”

McLean said the committee has collaboratively made decisions and worked well together. “We’ve worked quite well, I think, especially considering it’s a pretty big group,” he said. “So a lot of times we’ve split into smaller sub-groups to discuss separate topics and then bring that back together.”

Okada said she has had a positive experience serving on the SPG. “Being on a college committee like this has been wonderful because I’ve learned so much about the school, the SUNY system and what I’m doing here in terms of teaching my students and how it’s relevant to the state of New York and education,” she said.

Martin believes that Geneseo will stand out as a university if it reaches the goals set out in the Strategic Plan. “To be able to see as a graduating senior where Geneseo wants to end up in five years—it’s great because I’ll be an alumni,” he said. “If we reach those goals, I think we’ll really set ourselves apart as a public liberal arts college.”