The $179,000 Performance Improvement Fund was originally awarded to Genesee Community College in 2017 by the State University of New York and was then refunded through to the end of 2019 with the goal of enhancing diversity and inclusion throughout the campus culture.
It’s called the “PIF Grant” for short, but its effect will be long-term and wide reaching.
Overall, the program has been “going fantastically,” said Katherine Schiefen, GCC’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs to the board of trustees.
Schiefen explained the three major components of the PIF Grant undertaken by GCC:
One: To better prepare college faculty and staff to serve on new employee screening and search committees without any bias, an internal team of GCC’s faculty and staff created the eight-minute video, “The Case of a Good Fit.” Inspired by the 1950’s “Dragnet” television series and using the internal talent from the college’s own Theatre and Humanities programs, Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion Offices, the video illustrates how the easily a search committee process can go awry with the unconscious bias of one member. In an educational manner, the video shows how to right a wrong, and encourages a diverse and inclusive workforce. All college employees participating in a screening committee will watch the video as part of their training.
Two: The Open Door Internship program invited two minority interns to serve as an adjunct or support staff member for one semester at GCC under the mentorship of a GCC faculty or staff member. Ana Beliz Olmeda graduated from GCC in 2014 and is now working on her Master’s degree at Buffalo State College. While studying student activity administration, she is also helping launch a new Young Alumni Division within GCC’s Alumni Office. The other intern Brittany Guistanner graduated from GCC in 2012, earned a Bachelor’s of Science in social work at SUNY Buffalo, and a Master’s degree of social work at SUNY Buffalo in 2017. Guistanner will be interning with the Human Services Department.
Three: The Urban Exchange program recognizes that many of GCC’s own faculty and staff have had few urban experiences, yet many of the college’s students come from urban areas. A group of GCC faculty and staff will visit the Monroe Community College’s downtown Rochester campus, The Fashion Institute in New York City where GCC transfers many students and Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.
For additional exposure to diversity on college campuses, nine GCC faculty members and one administrator will attend the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ “Diversity, Equity and Student Success Conference” in Pittsburgh.
The board of trustees recently approved the Finance Committee second-quarter report noting that while the dip in enrollment has had a small impact on the college’s fund balance, the institution is also carefully watching and controlling expenses to offset any fiscal challenges.