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SUNY Brockport receives university designation

SUNY Brockport is now formally recognized as a university. 

The school will continue to be known as SUNY Brockport. Its official state education title will change from State University of New York College at Brockport to State University of New York Brockport. 

“SUNY Brockport is proud to be recognized formally as a university, a recognition that is reflective of our robust, high-quality academic offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Heidi Macpherson, SUNY Brockport president, in a statement. “But while our legal name changes, our mission remains the same. SUNY Brockport is an inclusive learning community that inspires excellence through growth, engagement and transformation.” 

The recognition follows New York State Board of Regents’ new guidelines for what constitutes a university.

The guidelines require institutions of higher education to offer registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, including graduate programs registered in at least three of the following discipline areas: agriculture, biological sciences, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health professions, humanities, physical sciences and social sciences.  

SUNY Brockport offers graduate level programs in seven of those disciplines. 

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Interim dean of SUNY Brockport’s business school brings business acumen to role

Michael Doyle, interim dean of SUNY Brockport's School of Business and Management.
Michael Doyle, interim dean of SUNY Brockport’s School of Business and Management. (Photo provided)

The interim dean of SUNY Brockport’s School of Business and Management is no stranger to the Rochester community.

He’s hoping to use that local connection to engage its business cohort.

“Brockport changed my life,” said Michael Doyle who now wants to be part of that impact the school can have on current and future students.

Doyle took the helm in August, succeeding Dan Goebel, who returned to his position on Brockport’s faculty.

He will serve as interim dean until June 30, 2024. A search for a permanent dean of the School of Business and Management will take place during the 2023-2024 academic year.

A 1980 alum with a Bachelor of Science degree in communication and media studies and former chair of the Brockport Foundation, Doyle brings more than 30 years of management experience back to Brockport.

Doyle spent decades as a senior executive at Entercom Rochester.

He retired from his role as regional president/president of sales operations there in late 2020. Since then, he has founded a media sales consulting company.

Doyle said there are differences between academia and business, but he believes his knowledge in data analytics, sales compensation, sales training, broadcast station operations and leadership development will be beneficial on campus.

“I did a lot of what we teach now,” he said, adding his new role is “a different opportunity in a place I love.”

His office in Hartwell Hall is the same building where he took some classes as an undergraduate.

Doyle said Brockport’s business school is known throughout New York for its exceptional faculty and curriculum designed to graduate future leaders in accounting, economics, finance, business administration, international business and marketing.

He noted the school’s master’s in business administration, master’s in accounting and master’s in public administration programs provide high quality, affordable options for those seeking an advanced degree.

Doyle plans to continue to position SUNY Brockport as a leader in public higher education in the state.

He spoke of the numerous experiential opportunities for Brockport students.

That includes the recently launched Wade Investment Fund, which provides students with the opportunity to manage an investment portfolio.

Started by brothers Chuck and Ethan Wade, part of the Wade Group at Brighton Securities, the fund gives students the responsibility of evaluating securities, deciding when to buy and sell securities and managing the portfolio with guidance from industry experts and supervision by faculty.

Doyle is looking to build more high impact student experiences, including internships and other engagement opportunities, drawing on the Rochester business community, including the many Brockport alums who work there.

For example, Brockport already has strong partnerships with accounting firms in the area, and Doyle believes similar models can be applied to other industries, too.

Another area of interest is expanding the Dean’s Lecture Series, which was popular before it was paused due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

Doyle is looking for more local speakers for the series who have a broad appeal among college students.

He also wants to work with for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations and explore new marketing concepts to promote the college across the region.

“I’m interested in helping to create real life experiences that make an impact locally,” he said.

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021

Colleges and universities adapt to changing demographics, student preferences

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Dramatic demographic shifts, along with changes to how and where students want to learn, are leading to a substantial transformation of recruitment and instruction strategies at higher education institutions. In anticipation of a drop in undergraduate enrollment, schools now scramble to find new and innovative methods for attracting prospective students

The number of high school graduates is on pace to drop significantly throughout the Northeast and much of the U.S. by the early 2030s, including New York and the New England states, which anticipate reductions between 2.5 and 15%.

This is according to Dr. Nathan Grawe, a professor of social sciences at Carleton College who authored the 2018 book Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. Even steeper declines are expected among white, non-Hispanic college age students across the country, while the number of Asian and Hispanic students is rising in most of the U.S.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges Dean of Admissions John Young, who is familiar with Grawe’s work, said the number of students starts to decline significantly in 2025. Beyond 2025, students of color will make up an increasingly higher percentage of college-bound teenagers.


“Demographics are shifting dramatically,” Young said. “As an institution, if you aren’t spending a bunch of time thinking about this it would be to your own detriment.”

Young, who has worked in higher education for more than three decades, said it’s critical that schools start to lay the groundwork now to be able to attract a more diverse cohort in the future. In preparing for that future, Hobart and William Smith plans to increase the geographic footprint of its recruiting area.

For Hobart and William Smith, it’s vital to recruit from outside the Northeast, where the majority of the school’s students traditionally have come from, Young said, noting that this is particularly due to the region’s dwindling student population.

As part of its efforts to reach expand its geographic reach, Hobart and William Smith has increased partnerships with community-based organizations aimed at helping students from traditionally diverse and underserved backgrounds gain access to college. Young said the extensive outreach and networking within such organizations provides the school with broader reach into underserved high schools and, ultimately, has delivered “phenomenal students” to the college.

Young said the strategy has proven successful for Hobart and William Smith, which has an incoming class that is 27% Black, Indigenous and people of color and 20% first generation college students. Those numbers are “dramatically different” from the single-digit percentages at the school when Young started 17 years ago.

The coronavirus pandemic also forced Hobart and William Smith “to look in the mirror” and ask if there are programs or other opportunities that would be more relevant and attract prospective students, Young said, adding the school added several sports and a few minors and majors in fields like data analytics, museum studies and aquatic science over the last couple years.

Robert Wyant, director of undergraduate admissions at SUNY Brockport, echoed Young’s thoughts about the dwindling population, saying the state of New York specifically is “experiencing a declining high school demographic” and the state is “in the middle of a massive drop off” of high school graduates.


Wyant said there are several efforts underway at SUNY Brockport to maintain enrollment despite fewer incoming students, starting with several unique scholarship programs, something that has attracted students by making it financially feasible to attend college. Finances always play a role in education decisions, Wyant said, and many students and families are “hyperaware” of the financial component as costs rise and economic uncertainty increases.

One such program aimed at making college more affordable for low-income and underrepresented demographics at SUNY Brockport is the Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program, a partnership with ESL Federal Credit Union, that will provide 30 local low-income students with funding to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses.

“Another piece of it is ensuring that your academic program array is relevant to the needs of society and market demands,” Wyant said. “We’re constantly reviewing that and evaluating that, adding new programs and adding new methods of delivering those programs.”

Part of that right now involves identifying new opportunities for online bachelor’s degree completion programs, Wyant said, adding students “want to have the opportunity to take classes when and where they want,” especially in the case of working adults seeking to complete a degree program.

In response to the shrinking population of college-bound students, Nazareth College Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management Frank Williams said the school is seeking to distinguish itself from other schools in a variety of ways.


“There are fewer students overall and a lot of students now are questioning the value of a higher education, and they’re questioning if they should go to a four-year school and they’re questioning loans,” Williams said. “We’re really trying to differentiate ourselves with regards to how we’re speaking about Nazareth and making sure we’re equity minded and enhancing our offerings.”

Williams said diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are front and center at Nazareth and a top priority of the school’s leadership. Roughly 17% of Nazareth’s student body belong to underrepresented populations, Williams said, and the school is aiming to reach 22-25% in the coming years.

“There’s definitely a push to increase underrepresented populations, and specifically we realize that the growing population of Latinx and Hispanic students is here,” Williams said.

Like Young, Williams pointed to partnerships with community-based organizations as important moving forward. Williams said Peer Forward, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, recently brought more than 300 students from high schools across the country to the Nazareth campus for a workshop that included learning about the admissions process, financial aid and drafting a personal essay.

Nazareth College also launched major initiative focused on innovation in education and reaching a wider range of learners. Their Expansive Naz program strives to create programming for individuals seeking a career change or advancement, develop flexible degree programs for cost-conscious undergraduates and provide adaptable educational content and delivery options to meet the needs of new and different learners.


“We’re really looking at the whole picture of what the opportunities are for us to deliver quality and cost sensitive content to learners,” said Janet Anderson, who was named executive director of the program in July, adding Expansive Naz would complement the school’s equity and inclusion initiatives.

Anderson said ultimately Expansive Naz intends to meet people where their needs are and assist them with career changes or specialized education, while also attempting to attract alums who may want to acquire a certificate or complete a graduate program and connecting with former students who seeking to finish a degree.

“You can think of it as moving beyond the strict semester-type focus and putting modules together and making those stackable,” Anderson said, adding Nazareth is actively working on flexible classrooms and hybrid schooling is a clear focus moving forward. “All of that is open territory for us at this point.”

Matt Reitz is a Rochester-area freelance writer.

In pandemic pause, local colleges adjust and still woo new students

The teaching winery at the FLCC Viticulture and Wine Center in Geneva. FLCC and other local schools are adjusting to the new realities as they recruit students and prepare for the next academic year. (File photo supplied by FLCC)
The teaching winery at the FLCC Viticulture and Wine Center in Geneva. FLCC and other local schools are adjusting to the new realities as they recruit students and prepare for the next academic year. (File photo supplied by FLCC)

Normally, April would be the month when high school seniors are making last-minute visits to Rochester-area colleges, trying to decide which school that accepted them they will attend in the fall. Juniors might use their April break to start their college search. 

But not this year. Not with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Schools are instead inviting accepted students to visit their web pages, take virtual campus tours, meet current students and officials on Zoom, and make a decision without setting foot on campus. In fact, chartered buses that normally bring students from the New York City area to visit Nazareth College and Finger Lakes Community College have been canceled, potentially resulting in fewer students from the Big Apple attending those schools in the fall. 

And many colleges are sharing their uncertainty about whether the incoming class will attend classes in person in the fall, as that’s still up in the air depending on the path of the pandemic. Colleges in the State University of New York system are waiting for direction from Albany. 

From community colleges to research universities, local institutions of higher education are juggling student decisions, extra costs of operating remotely, families hesitant to start or complete the college choice process because of their economic uncertainty, and what seems like daily news and changes on the pandemic scene. 

Several local schools, including the region’s largest employer, the University of Rochester, have frozen hiring to some extent, and instituted pay freezes because of the economic impacts of the pandemic. 

After moving spring semester classes online in the middle of the semester, most colleges have also announced summer sessions will be online, too. Schools report they are planning for multiple scenarios for the fall semester.  

The lighted sign on MCC's downtown campus. Like other area colleges and universities, MCC has had to make major adjustments to cope with the pandemic. (photo courtesy of MCC).
The lighted sign on MCC’s downtown campus. Like other area colleges and universities, MCC has had to make major adjustments to cope with the pandemic. (photo courtesy of MCC).

To try to reduce stress for prospective families, some colleges have delayed the traditional May 1 deadline for students to commit to June 1. 

 “Essentially, we want to give families the opportunity to think through their decisions and make sure they’re the best fit for them. In some cases, people need more time to make that decision because of the uncertainty that exists,” said John Mordaci, assistant vice president of admissions at Nazareth College.

The uncertainty may not lay with the college, but with the family’s circumstances. Suddenly without a job, some parents are having to rewrite their children’s financial documents, and are appealing financial aid offers made just a few weeks ago when their income looked very different. Hobart and William Smith Colleges said about 15 percent more financial appeals have been filed this year than in a typical year. 

While Monroe Community College is more affordable than most schools, the college is trying to let students know that even if they apply at the last minute — common with rolling admissions at community colleges — and even if they don’t have internet access at home, college staff are available to help them negotiate the financial aid process. 

Christine Casalinuovo-Adams, MCC’s associate vice president for enrollment management,  said there may be an uptick in enrollment for the fall because of changing financial circumstances for families who didn’t have MCC at the top of their lists until now. 

“Their number one choice is still alive and the pathway to get there is through MCC,” she said, noting MCC students have gone on to Yale and Cornell universities, as well as prestigious state schools.

Some other schools say it’s too early to predict whether their enrollment will differ in the coming year from the previous year. 

“Colleges and universities are a really important part of our economy, particularly here in Rochester, and so we’re all doing the best we can to make sure we reach our enrollment goals,” said Nazareth’s Mordaci. 

Finger Lakes Community College moved all registration for classes online for the first time this spring. “We’re seeing the same volume of activity in our new space,” said Matthew Stever, director of admissions. 

Nazareth enlisted a company to survey prospective students about how their decision-making process might have changed because of the pandemic. 

“What we’ve found is that most students who have already made their decision to attend a certain school are sticking with that decision,” Mordaci said. On the other hand, students who haven’t set foot on a particular school’s campus yet are unlikely to commit to that college.

John Young, vice president and dean of admissions at Hobart and William Smith (HWS), said that school is running about 10 percent ahead in deposits from accepted students, but is lagging in rejections.  He and other counselors agreed that undecided students are taking longer to make a decision. 

Students on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan College. The pandemic is playing havoc with the admissions timeline for many local colleges. (File photo supplied by Roberts Wesleyan)
Students on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan College. The pandemic is playing havoc with the admissions timeline for many local colleges. (File photo supplied by Roberts Wesleyan)

April is the month where most schools roll out the red carpet to either welcome those who’ve already committed or to woo those who are still on the fence. Accepted students days can be lavish affairs with catered meals, chances to meet college presidents and deans, tours of dorms and other facilities, meetups with current students and student groups, parent information sessions, swag, and perhaps even a chance to sit in on a class. 

“Without those events, it’s been a bigger challenge this year,” Mordaci said. 

Many schools report taking unusual steps in hopes of a full house in August or September, from calling every accepted student, to creating new virtual campus tours, webinars and special-topic zoom seminars that will help them make up their minds.

We had to pivot pretty quickly,” said HWS’ Young. In some cases, colleges repackaged digital information they already had in an easier-to-find format online. In other cases, they created new features online. HWS created new videos using some of the 125 students still on campus.  

University of Rochester has several videos for prospective students, but one is clearly dated because it includes an interview with a dean who passed away in 2018. Current-day deans, though, are featured in weekly videos made available to the university community in which they read favorite works. 

Rochester Institute of Technology has a virtual tour with the feel of a video game featuring a real student tour guide who comes and goes, something like an avatar. It’s not surprising from a university with state-of-the-art video game design facilities. RIT also announced on Wednesday freezes on hiring and pay, some pay cuts and furloughs, as well as halting construction projects through the summer.

Prospective students at Nazareth College usually meet the college president at accepted students day events. This year they will virtually meet President Daan Braveman, who will step down in June, and incoming President Elizabeth Paul during an online event. 

Even with these online tools, college admission counselors say there’s no substitute for an in-person visit. Many of today’s college applicants have come to expect they’ll visit nearly every college they apply to before they apply, and make second visits after they receive acceptance notifications. 

Young said when he started his career, about 25 percent of students arrived for classes each fall without having visited previously. Now attending the college without a prior visit is rare, except for one group: foreign students. 

So Young invited Gizem Hussain from Pakistan, a member of HWS’s Class of 2021,  to share with accepted students how she settled on a college from abroad.

In her letter to prospective students, Hussain wrote that she searched the college’s website, but also connected with social media accounts and searched out videos that could give her more of a feel for the campus. She checked out course listings to see what classes would be offered in her major. 

“If there is a silver lining to this virtual, rather than in-person, experience, I can promise you that the moment you do step foot on the campus of your choice, you will experience something magical. There is an unmatched, indescribable excitement of physically seeing a world that you had only associated with images and videos on a screen for the first time,” she wrote. 

While MCC is patting itself on the back for being an early adopter of online instruction and processes — it has had paperless registration and course selection for 15 years — others are getting into that game for the very first time. 

This is going to force a lot of schools to do things a lot differently and some of these methods are going to stick,” Stever said.

Other lasting effects of this time might be the economic impact on campus workforces and in families rejiggering their comfort level with having their students go far away from home to attend college. 

Locally, UR, St. John Fisher College, Roberts Wesleyan College have all announced hiring freezes of some sort. SUNY Brockport said it is reviewing every unfilled position to determine whether replacements should be hired at this time. RIT reported it is in meetings on the subject.  

MCC was already reducing staff through a voluntary separation plan before the pandemic hit.

Colleges are also seeing signs similar to the period after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, when families’ decided to send students to college closer to home rather than risk being separated by many miles during uncertain times. 

“Last year our freshman class came from 29 states,” Mordaci said at Nazareth. “We don’t expect that will be the same this year, based on the circumstances. We had to cancel a bus trip we normally do from NYC.  We feel that’s going to impact us.”

“Families might not be as willing to go as far” once again, Stever said. 

But as with all things pandemic, predictions can be mercurial. 

Stever said FLCC’s reach has expanded because more information is online now, making it more accessible now to non-traditional age prospective students who may want to retool. 

HWS saw increased enrollment after 911 from urban areas.

I wonder if we might see the same things here,” Young said. “It’s much easier to pay attention to social distancing on a campus like ours.  It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.”

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College at Brockport readying campus for quarantined students from abroad

After denying anything was official for hours on Friday, the SUNY College at Brockport issued a statement late in the afternoon confirming that the campus is readying itself to possibly take students returning from five coronavirus-affected countries.

Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said up to 95 students can be accommodated in quarantine in the school’s Gordon Hall, and that students could start arriving early next week. A SUNY College at Brockport official said earlier in the day that there was no official word that students are coming to Brockport.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday that approximately 300 students are being called back from their studies abroad in China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.  His announcement mentioned that students, faculty and staff from abroad would be quarantined in SUNY dormitories for 14 days, but didn’t identify the location of those dormitories.

Macpherson noted that students are being offered “the option to undergo precautionary quarantine for 14 days … either at home or on one of three designated SUNY campuses. Brockport is one of the locations being considered because it has the facilities, services, technology, clinical and general staffing capabilities to accommodate (state health) quarantine guidelines.”

She added, though, “we won’t know if our campus will be utilized until we get a final determination from SUNY depending on the number of students that select the dormitory option.”

David Mihalyov, SUNY Brockport’s vice president for university relations, said there are no Brockport students, faculty or staff in the study abroad group returning to the United States.

Macpherson said “Our first priority is the safety, health, and welfare of all students, faculty, and staff and local residents. None of these students that may arrive on our campus will have tested positive for COVID-19 but have visited one of the impacted countries and must undergo precautionary quarantine.”

Friday morning, Monroe County legislators Mike Zale and Jackie Smith, both Republicans, took the Democratic governor to task, saying he has “has been in front of the cameras daily, yet has refused to confirm widespread rumors that these students will be arriving to SUNY Brockport as early as this weekend.”

Zale and Smith both represent parts of the town of Sweden, in which the Brockport campus lies, and adjacent towns.

In Cuomo’s news release about the arrangements being made to bring SUNY and City University of New York students back home, he said:

“It’s important that facts outweigh fear, and the reality is we are getting the testing done, getting the information out and deploying healthcare resources to treat people who need it, so I am reminding New Yorkers that there is no reason for undue anxiety and the general risk remains low in New York.”

Zale and Smith, meanwhile, were raising an alarm because, they said, the proposed quarantine dormitory at SUNY Brockport is not yet furnished nor habitable, and “there has been a lack of communication with area first-responders during the initial planning.”

They said they had heard from numerous Brockport residents who are concerned about the supposed plan.

“The state’s supposed strategy to avoid panic by withholding information is having the adverse effect,” the legislators claimed.

A call to the SUNY public information office for comment on Zale’s and Smith’s statement was not immediately returned.

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275

County legislator calls for investigation of College at Brockport

Monroe County Legislator Vincent Felder
Monroe County Legislator Vincent Felder

County Legislator Vincent R. Felder, a graduate of the College at Brockport, has asked the chancellor of the SUNY system to investigate his alma mater because of recent conflicts over diversity. 

In a Feb. 18 letter to SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, Felder stated his concern over the firing of Chief Diversity Officer Cephas Archie in January; the subsequent departure of  Sandra Vazquez, diversity recruitment and retention specialist; and the federal discrimination complaint filed against the college by Vicki Elsenheimer, administrative assistant to the vice president for advancement. 

He also noted the college’s attempt to investigate anonymous charges against Archie after he was fired, which College President Heidi MacPherson ordered stopped once the investigation was made public. 

“The combination of these events in such a short period of time lead to a simple conclusion: Something is wrong at SUNY Brockport,” Felder wrote. 

Johnson last week appointed SUNY Oswego’s chief diversity officer to work with Brockport at least through the end of the semester.

Felder graduated from Brockport in the early 2000s and has remained involved with the college since, he said. He was a member of Brockport’s Organization for Students of African Descent, and president of the student government. 

Given his perspective, Felder said, he was troubled by recent events, but not surprised. In fact, he said, it fits a pattern that has been repeated in the past of making some progress on racial issues and then letting advances slip. 

“The diversity issue at SUNY Brockport must be treated as the crisis it has proven to be and must be dealt with in a way that produces sustainable and verifiable results,” Felder said. He suggested reinstatement of Archie as one possible result. 

Felder also offered to meet with the chancellor when she visits campus.

The college has declined to be specific about Archie’s dismissal, but Archie has said he was told he was being fired over “performance issues” that weren’t specified.  
[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275.

Diversity a key goal of healthcare education programs in Rochester

Local healthcare education programs make inroads on diversity.

When it comes to diversity in higher education programs for healthcare, two local institutions have made the grade nationally.

Insight into Diversity magazine gives awards each year to the higher education institutions across the country with the best track records for diversity in their professional healthcare programs. While the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing has won this award for some years running, this year the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry won for the first time, and the College at Brockport’s School of Nursing won for the first time, too.

These three programs were among the 43 nationally that won Healthcare Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED for short) awards from the magazine.

(Insights into Diversity also offers a general diversity award for higher education institutions, and Rochester Institute of Technology was one of 96 winners of that award.)

The awards reflect an institutional commitment to diversity that has been building for years or has recently been amplified. In some cases, the programs feature diversity initiatives similar to those at other schools, including some in the Rochester area, but it appears that a cumulative effort put them over the top.

Adrienne Morgan
Adrienne Morgan

UR “has been committed to increasing our diversity pool and our outreach for decades,” said Adrienne Morgan, assistant dean for medical education, diversity and inclusion at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry.

For example, Morgan described a grant program UR participates in that starts recruiting minority and low-income students to science and health majors starting in middle school, with four-week summer intensives.

“That’s where you’re really starting to build your foundation, academically,” Morgan said. “It’s a great entry point for students to begin, hone their skills (and) understand what’s needed to be a researcher, physician, physician assistant (or) nurse practitioner.” While students as young as middle school know about doctors and nurses, they may not be familiar with some of the other professions within healthcare, she said.

It’s important to reach students that young, noted Margaret Kaminsky, dean of STEM and health at Monroe Community College, which also participates in the Science and Technology Entry Program that Morgan described.

“Choices made in middle school are going to determine how far a student can get in math and science through high school,” Kaminsky said. If a student doesn’t take accelerated math at the middle school level, that may prevent them for taking higher math, chemistry and physics later on, all prerequisites to healthcare degree programs.

Morgan recalled one STEP student at UR who shared that the program helped him realize how much he’d have to up his game academically to reach his newly formed goals. He went on to get a science degree in college and a job with NASA. He’s now pursuing a doctorate in a science field outside of medicine.

“Everybody who does the program isn’t necessarily going to enter the medical field,” Morgan said. “But everything they learn can be used in other professions as well.”

UR follows up with a research internship program for high school students that includes shadowing emergency room professionals, group journaling exercises, work in anatomy labs and other opportunities.

“We try to make them understand the steps they’ll need” to purse a degree in healthcare, Morgan said. “Many students who do the (summer) program end up being our students.”

Three key programs at the College at Brockport that helped the nursing program win diversity kudos:

  • Conducting an annual poverty simulation for students, an exercise in which participants are given a limited amount of income and resources and must use them to obtain basic needs in a prescribed amount of time.
  • Reverse role-playing with deaf actors. Nursing students play the patients who cannot use spoken language to communicate, and deaf actors and sign language interpreters play the caregiving roles. (Similar exercises are conducted at other local schools.)
  • Two-week clinical intensives in Costa Rica and Peru during school vacations, allowing students opportunities to study abroad and experience a different culture that their schedules would normally prevent.
Kathy Peterson
Kathy Peterson

All of these programs help sheltered students learn about different perspectives. Of the clinics abroad, Kathy Peterson, chairwoman of the nursing department at Brockport, said, “It really has changed more of their outlook on life, and what we have. It’s been life changing for many of them, and for our faculty.”

Students participating in the role-playing exercise really begin to empathize with the Rochester area’s deaf population, she said, and the poverty simulation teaches them how much hard work it takes to live in poverty.

Brockport, UR and MCC all described a somewhat diverse population of students, with an increasing number of male students entering nursing programs over the last couple of decades. Morgan said UR’s medical school and even nursing school generations ago used to attract mostly well-to-do students

“People are coming from all walks of life now to medicine,” Morgan said. “It’s not like it’s the family business anymore.”

Peterson said Brockport has always attracted more of a middle-class student body, but when she started teaching there 35 years ago, the freshman nursing class typically would have been comprised of 60 white female students.  Today’s class of pre-licensure nursing students at Brockport is about 14.6 percent minority and 16.2 percent male.

MCC’s Kaminsky didn’t have similar figures at her fingertips, but she noted that for some years when she taught basic chemistry, a prerequisite for healthcare majors, about half the students were minorities.

Keeping a diverse student body in school long enough to graduate can be a challenge because of income differences or other barriers.

“We have found — and this is national — that we do lose a higher proportion of our diverse students than our white students,” Peterson said. “We are actively looking at that and trying to support those diverse students with more engagement and more assistance.”

MCC participates in another grant program that provides funding for special programs for diverse healthcare students such as mentoring. It even offers small grants that can help them with expenses that could be roadblocks to their success. Kaminsky said she has approved grants for the $800 textbook that radiology technology students need and even for as little as $10 for printing so a student could print out course materials.

The growing number of healthcare students who are not white and female might find their gender or ethnicity presents an issue for patients.

Philip Phommala, a nursing student at MCC who is Laotian-American, said he hasn’t experienced racial discrimination, but he has been asked to switch out with a female nursing student when working with some patients. It’s usually the patient’s family members, rather than the patient themselves, that makes the request, he said.

“I try not to take it too hard. I do expect to have that happen from time to time,” Phommala said.

A men’s league for male nursing students at MCC provides a place for him to talk over issues like that.

Kaminsky, who has only been the dean over healthcare programs at MCC since August, said she has observed instructors tell students these issues are likely to come up in the context of sensitive issues, such as changing a catheter, and students should be prepared for it, and include a second nurse in the room.

And Peterson has heard reports — albeit rare — including a male cancer patient who didn’t want to be cared for by a male nursing student because he assumed male nurses would be homosexual. Yet she also heard a report from the maternity unit where both mother and father wore confederate flag clothing yet didn’t raise an issue with a black student nurse or black nursing instructor who attended them.

UR includes discussions about patient push-back in its classes, Morgan said, as such events can take a toll on students and professionals in the field, causing what she called “moral distress” over time. They practice coming up with responses to such patient requests, she said.

“Depending on who you are, it can happen on a daily basis,” Morgan said.  Whether hospitals should comply, and in what circumstances, with patient’s objections to being treated by healthcare professionals of different demographics is part of an ongoing national discussion, she said.

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275


Moral outrage subject of Brockport talk

Princeton University’s Gideon Rosen will talk Thursday about managing moral outrage through philosophy at the first in a series of talks hosted by the College at Brockport’s Center for Philosophic Exchange.

The lecture will be at 5 p.m. in McCue Auditorium at the college. Rosen will explore the relationship between emotion and reason, focusing on those emotions constituting moral blame, including guilt, resentment and indignation.

The talk is open to the public and free. Additional talks in the series include Paul Audi from the University of Rochester on Dec. 6 and Hilary Kornblith, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on March 14.

For more information on the series, visit the center’s website. The center’s annual series focuses on using philosophical inquiry to discuss academic or public issues. 

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New dorm opens at Brockport

The College at Brockport officially opened its newest dormitory Thursday with a ribbon cutting for the $24 million, 263-bed residence.

Eagle Hall also includes a smart classroom, multipurpose rooms and soundproof study rooms. Each floor of the four-story building has a lounge and kitchen. Dorm rooms include their own private bathrooms.  The building’s main-floor lounge opens onto a patio with a fire pit.

Construction took just a little over a year, owing to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York using “design-build,” a single contract for both design and construction that helps expedite a project.

“I was very impressed with the efficiency of the construction process,” said Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “A little over a year ago we broke ground. Now I see a state-of-the-art residence hall filled with students. Utilizing design-build allowed us to provide our students with a high quality, affordable residence hall and continue to make The College at Brockport a great place for our students to live and learn.”

Representatives of DASNY said the “design-build” process may be used for other state projects to speed them along, saving money.

“With design-build, we were able to execute the project within a compressed time frame, keeping costs down while maintaining a high level of quality,” said Gerrard P. Bushell, president and CEO of DASNY.

Eagle Hall was built to meet LEED-Silver specifications for energy efficiency and sustainability.

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Brockport offers new graduate programs

The College at Brockport is introducing six new graduate programs, following a trend to move more courses online.

One certificate program in aging students will be in a hybrid format, meaning some in-class instruction and some online, while the other five programs will be primarily online. Starting the fall, Brockport will offer graduate programs in business administration, community health education, teaching English to non-English speakers, family nurse practitioner, and poverty studies. Some programs are master’s levels, some certificates and some offer both.

Eileen Daniel, vice provost at Brockport, said the college’s capacity for online education has increased in recent years and students are starting to expect online coursework.

“More and more students are opting for the flexibility. They want to get a graduate degree or they can’t commit to every Monday night. Or they can’t commit to driving to Brockport from wherever they live,” Daniel said.

In many cases, online courses are more than a mere convenience; a growing number of students are coming from beyond commuter distance, Daniel said.

“The same faculty who teach in face-to-face courses are teaching in these. Almost all have doctoral degrees,” Daniel said. In some cases, the online experience can be more robust as students who are uncomfortable to speak up in class find it easier to write a question on screen. Online class discussions often require responses. “It’s 100 percent engagement for the most part,” she said.

Students may still enroll in some of these new programs, Daniel said. The college has other new graduate programs coming perhaps as early as spring 2019, she said, such as a master’s degree in instructional design, higher education administration and computer science. While some degrees may duplicate others offered in the Rochester area, Daniel not that state college tuition is significantly less than at private colleges.

More information about the programs is available online.

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Brockport hires new provost

Katy Heyning, a dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has been hired to become the next provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State College at Brockport.

Katy Heyning
Katy Heyning

Heyning will take over in June from Interim Provost James Haynes.

During her time as dean and associate dean of education and professional studies at UW, Heyning oversaw creation of a professional master’s degree and started partnerships between the university and Ecuador, Mexico and China.

“She brings a wealth of experience in higher education leadership, including on a national stage in her work on teacher education preparation,” said Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “Her focus on community engagement matches Brockport’s vision of building meaningful lives and vibrant communities, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she will continue to enhance our rich academic programs and work in partnership across divisions and schools.”

Heyning’s previous positions included leadership in curriculum and instruction, teaching at the University of Arizona and teaching fifth grade in Highland Park, Illinois.

Heyning said “Throughout the interview process (at Brockport) I was consistently impressed with the many accomplishments, supportive leadership, and sense of community that was evident across all levels.”

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Greece Chamber panel discusses regulations, educating young workers

Human resources regulations can be a pain in the neck and costly, agreed educators, business people and legislators participating in a wide-ranging panel discussion at the Greece Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Even those regulations with the best of intentions can be difficult to enact. Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District, noted the requirement that all teachers and staff obtain training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of a cardiac defibrillator.

“Who can argue with that if you’re going to save someone’s life?” he asked. But fitting in and paying for the training still isn’t easy.

Heidi R. Macpherson, president of the State University College at Brockport, reminded the audience of about 60 that there’s a reason for those regulations. She said Brockport hired a full-time Title IX compliance officer who has created a better experience for female students than previous generations had, transformed college culture on sexual harassment and dating violence, and educated male students about what obtaining consent should look like in a sexual situation. All of that was due to regulations.

“They have improved our culture,” Macpherson said.

Understanding those regulations can be complex, though, added Jeffery Tredo, director of Rochester Colleges, Bryant & Stratton. He said New York’s “Enough is enough” sexual abuse regulations are in direct conflict with some federal rules.

New York regulations are like “water torture,” said David Perotto, vice president of Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home. “I threw up my hands last year and hired Paychex.” The HR and payroll company does a great job, Perotto said, but the service comes at a cost.

Another topic many agreed on was that youngsters frequently are not prepared for work.

“We know from our business partners that the kids are unprepared,” said Kathleen Graupman, superintendent of Greece Central School District. She said schools have to be intentional about the partnerships they provide, including real work experience, to help students learn about work. But they must also teach students how to learn before they teach them to work.

More students, including in the Greece district, are growing up in poverty or without two parents working, she said, so students haven’t necessarily witnessed what it means to go to work every day.

Graupman said she grew up in Greece and her father, like many in Greece at that time, was a lifelong Kodak worker. “The challenge is that’s not our community anymore,” she said.

Perotto said it would be good for students in high school to apprentice in a line of work before choosing their higher education path. That might head off a situation he faced recently: A young woman finished two years of schooling for working in a funeral home before beginning her one-year residency at Bartolomeo & Perotto. He felt she brought a lot of talent to the job. But two weeks later, she quit, saying she didn’t want the night work and long hours.

Greece Superintendent Bill Reilich said, “The most basic elements (of work) have to be stressed early on.” In town government, he’s required to hire from the top three scorers on civil service exams. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get a worker who will show up on time, he said.

Deborah Whitt, owner of the Deborah Ham Whitt Agency, said she’s had to tell high schoolers working for her to remove inappropriate nail polish or to change into business attire. But the students can become loyal and hard-working employees.

“As business owners, we have that opportunity to help our young people learn good work habits,” Whitt said.

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