Professor and Chair of the History Department Joseph Cope has been appointed Director of the Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Development. The CIDD program provides students with the resources to support education and personal development by completing self-directed projects. The appointment comes after former Director of the CIDD Cynthia Oswald stepped down last May. Cope was selected for the position in August; he said that he plans to use his 16 years of experience at Geneseo to further advance the mission of the CIDD and the overall culture of Geneseo.
The CIDD program offers Geneseo students the opportunity to engage in academic pursuits beyond the average classroom experience. Students can pursue those interests outside of the classroom and to connect their college experience at Geneseo to a broader setting.
CIDD consists of various programs, including the Student Ambassadorship Program and the Clinton Global Initiative. These programs help students to create self-issued projects that target specific areas of focus. The Student Ambassadorship Program is one program Cope hopes to further develop during his time as director.
“This is a program that provides funding for students who are interested in independently exploring some kind of research, usually a project rooted in a real world problem,” Cope said. “They are then able to go out and design a research project and create something as a result of that work”
The Student Ambassadorship Program allows students to pursue interests outside of the classroom, Cope added.
“We have these great students at Geneseo who have really great ideas,” he said. “They come up with a project that doesn’t necessarily fit into a class per say, but is something that they’re interested in working on, and the ambassadorship gives them an opportunity to explore that.”
Part of the reason Cope loves working at Geneseo is the students’ excitement to learn.
“I really fell in love with this school primarily because of the kinds of students that we work with. They’re really terrific students, very engaged and also good natured,” he said. “I think that the students here at Geneseo want to learn, and it’s really fulfilling for a faculty member to walk into a classroom where you’ve got a bunch of enthusiastic students.”
Cope said his years at Geneseo have fostered his belief in the importance of a liberal arts education because of the real-world critical thinking skills it provides combined with the importance of public accessibility through affordability and student mentoring.
Cope has collaborated with multiple staff and faculty members throughout his time at Geneseo. Chair of the Department of English and professor of English Rob Doggett—with whom Cope has designed Irish Studies classes, taught alumni sessions in Red Hook, New York and led study abroad programs—said Cope is prepared to fulfill the role of the CIDD director.
“I think he’s an excellent teacher, and he’s really committed to public liberal arts,” Doggett said. “I think he’s ideally suited for this particular kind of work.”
Cope expressed his belief in the capability of Geneseo students and the potential for the future of the school.
“Even though we don’t have as many faculty as we’d like, and even though we don’t have as many resources as we’d like, the people in the college community are really dedicated to student success and working with students,” Cope said. “That makes us feel good about the job we’re doing, and it makes it easy to get up in the morning and come to work and say ‘I’m going to do my best at that one really important function and role.’”