From Genesee Community College:
In a world that seems to get smaller yet spin faster every day, Genesee Community College has already benefited from the global perspectives and experiences of its new executive vice president for Academic Affairs. Dr. Eunice Bellinger began her tenure with Genesee this past August and as she marches past her 100-day anniversary, a moment of reflection for what's ahead and deeper appreciation of her past is warranted.
A native of Buffalo, NY and a 1969 graduate of Kenmore-East High School, Dr. Bellinger has spent over a decade teaching and administering academic programs abroad. From England, to Kuwait, to the United Arab Emirates, she has taught sociology, anthropology, psychology, ceramics, and developed curriculum as well. She returned to Western New York to oversee all of Genesee's academic programs and non-credit and business instruction, develop new programs, and provide general guidance to a dynamic team of over 200 full and part time faculty members.
She began her career teaching internationally in 1992 at Exeter College in Devon, England as a Fulbright Award participant where she taught sociology. From 1993 until 2002, Dr. Bellinger spent her time in Kuwait teaching and developing curriculum for the Public Authority for Education and Training as well as teaching for the University for Maryland's European Division, where she taught U.S. military personnel.
While teaching in Kuwait, Dr. Bellinger led the life of any normal Kuwaiti citizen. She lived in an apartment and her two children attended the American School of Kuwait where they learned to be fluent in Arabic. She participated in the very routine and collective culture, which included enjoying weekends on Thursdays and Fridays, and occasionally patronizing a variety of western-franchised restaurants. During the years she spent with her children abroad, she found that she became accustomed to the Middle Eastern culture and began to enjoy it and appreciate the calming abilities of a routine-filled life.
"Even if we take part in different cultures, and may not share the same language, we understand that we all have hopes and dreams and sorrows," said Dr. Bellinger. "At the end of the day, we realize we are more alike than we are different."
After a decade in Kuwait, Dr. Bellinger moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become the dean and associate professor of Liberal Arts at the American University in Dubai. She went on to Abu Dhabi University to become the director of Graduate Studies in Education and director of the English Language Institute. Throughout her time as an educator overseas, she has worked with a diverse group of students and faculty. She still maintains a keen interest in international programs and the development of curriculum that includes both knowledge and cultural awareness.
More recently, Dr. Bellinger has held positions state-side at SUNY Empire State College and Massachusetts Bay Community College. She came to Genesee Community College with a wealth of knowledge, a vibrant understanding of international academics, and a strong interest in academic development and advancement.
Learning from her experiences abroad, and with the existing economic and political environment, Dr. Bellinger has already begun preparing for the next phase of academic progress at Genesee. Concerned with current challenges and the troubling economic climate, Dr. Bellinger notes that the College must respond to these changes and make a strategy for the future. For example, as four-year colleges begin budget cuts and cutting transfer programs, Genesee must develop degrees that are not just transfer based, but can stand alone as two-year Associate degrees. She also believes that the College should respond to the number of adult learners who have been laid off from their jobs and are looking to Genesee to further their business and academic skills.
"It is important that the College has resources for the over 50 population," said Dr. Bellinger. "There has been a culture shift and the College needs to take action to respond to that change."
Looking to the future, Dr. Bellinger would like to see several new academic programs develop at Genesee. "We are looking into green technology, including wind technology, as well as veterinary technician, transportation technology and computer-created virtual environment programs," she stated.
Dr. Bellinger has found great pleasure in her new position at Genesee, admitting that: "I get to do the fun things that I really am passionate about, like curriculum development, because I'm surrounded by efficient people who help get the day-to-day business completed. I'm really enjoying meeting new people. The people at Genesee have reinforced my view that the College is an easy place to communicate. You don't have to go through numerous layers of bureaucracy to get things accomplished here."
After being at the College for over 100 days, Dr. Bellinger's only complaint is the parking. She laughs, "Seriously, I'm enjoying my time here so far. I wake up every day happy to be going to work. I really have no complaints, except the parking!"
When not in her office, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes a son, Christopher who is studying at the University of Buffalo, a daughter, Kirsten who is a staff archeologist with United States Army Corps of Engineers in Manhattan, and a granddaughter, Maggie Kate who is two. She has two well-traveled pets. Gizmo, her cat is from Kuwait, and Molly, her dog is from the United Arab Emirates. Together, they are all currently residing in Clarence.
Twenty Questions and Twenty Answers from Dr. Bellinger:
When not in the office I can be found: "In Saratoga on the weekends visiting friends."
Last three books I read: "Lately, it's been mystery novels. My favorite book of all time is, 'Two Years Before the Mast and Twenty-Four Years After,' by Richard Henry Dana."
In the kitchen I am known for: "Directing and managing the preparations."
What kind of music would we find on your iPod? "A bit of everything! Well, maybe no rap."
Meet my family: "One daughter Kirsten, one son Christopher, and my granddaughter, Maggie Kate."
Favorite Movie/Genre: "Comedies"
Drink of choice: "Iced tea"
Favorite Meal/Cuisine: "Mexican"
Favorite team/sport: "Go Bills!"
Drives: "Along the Hudson River"
Favorite vacation spot: "Maine or Alleghany State Park"
Favorite teacher/professor: "Professor Pete Nye, from Alfred State. He taught me what it means to be a good professor. "
Pets: "One cat 'Gizmo', who came from Kuwait, and 'Molly' a dog, from the United Arab Emigrates"
I like to relax by: "Riding a bike or reading books"
Favorite game: "Bananagram. It's like a version of Scrabble but with no point scores for words."
Interesting Talent: "I'm a decent potter. I really enjoy ceramics."
One thing you'd never guess about me: "I have a tattoo of an otter on my arm. In my next life I want to come back as a river otter living in the Colorado Rockies. It's funny because right now I can't even swim!"
If you could teach anywhere in the world, where would that be? "GCC, of course!"
Complete the sentence: In high school I was... "Voted most artistic and most humorous!"
If I wasn't a college administrator, I would be... "Retired in Tuscany?"