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GCC expands global outreach to include students in Vietnam

Press release:

Genesee Community College now offers accelerated courses to 20 students in Vietnam who are enrolled in the American Pacific Unified International School. Trustees heard about this unique global education initiative at their regular board meeting Tuesday night.

The independent college preparatory high school is located in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). This effort is part of the college's Accelerated College Program (ACE) program, which has made courses available to juniors and seniors in area high schools for many years.

To date, students have participated in Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, French 201, French 202, and Principles of Business courses during their school day. They are using GCC curricula, and Genesee has certified their instructors as adjunct Genesee faculty members.

Credits earned by the Vietnamese students can be used toward Genesee degrees or transferred to most colleges and universities across the United States and even abroad. Most of the participating students would like to attend college in the United States, according to Edward J. Levinstein, associate dean of Accelerated College Enrollment Programs.

The new initiative reflects Genesee's emphasis on global outreach, and may be the first step in boosting enrollment from other new international sources, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Virginia M. Taylor told the board of trustees last evening.

Genesee has sponsored an extensive global education program for more than two decades, bringing lectures, demonstrations and other activities focused on cultures around the world to the college. More recently, the college has begun pilot international study programs, permitting local students to complete coursework in such locations as Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands. Last year, 130 students from two dozen different nations enrolled for classes at Genesee.

Some baccalaureate colleges and research universities offer academic coursework to students abroad, but Genesee is believed to be one of the first community colleges in the nation to begin an initiative such as this, Taylor said.

"We are very excited about the opportunities this new ACE initiative will offer students in Vietnam and hopefully other nations, as well as our own students," Taylor told trustees. "This could eventually mean greater international outreach, and many more international students traveling here to complete their degrees at Genesee."

On a related note, President James M. Sunser reported that he has been nominated for membership on the Global Education Skills Alliance Board of Directors. The alliance is a consortium of nine colleges and universities seeking to boost international study among students of the participating colleges. The alliance will recommend common curricula and transfer standards, as well as study abroad and exchange programs. Sunser would be one of two United States representatives on the board, which is expected to conduct meetings by teleconference.

Trustees endorsed Sunser's participation on the alliance board.

In other business at the meeting, trustees:

•    Heard Board Chair Maureen T. Marshall note the observance of Veterans Day. Marshall thanked all veterans for their service on behalf of the board.

•    Heard President Sunser report that Donna M. Grant has been appointed Career Services Specialist with the college's Perkins IV Grant program. She has served as an academic advisor at the Medina Campus Center since January 2011, and has served on the staff of Canisius College. She holds a B.A. degree from the University at Buffalo and a M.S. degree from Canisius College. She is a resident of Tonawanda.

•    Heard Sunser report that external reviewers completed the college's Periodic Review report, required for continuing accreditation of the college by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. He said the report was positive, and the college is awaiting the final draft from the Middle States Commission.

•    Approved revisions to the college's policies on nondiscrimination and tobacco use. Wording of the nondiscrimination policy is now consistent with wording often used throughout the SUNY system. The updated tobacco use policy prohibits all forms of tobacco use in campus facilities and within 50 feet of entrances.

•    Approved the deactivation of the college's Customer Relationship Management program. Although the degree will be discontinued in 2016 after six students complete their studies, customer relationship management coursework will continue to be fully offered as part of the college's business programs.

•    Heard Director of Computer Services Cindy M. Delmar report on Genesee's new Computer Technology Master Plan. Delmar noted that the last master plan completed more than three years ago resulted in numerous technological advances for the college. These included: a new "flexible registration" process enabling non-credit students to register and pay online; support for the college's new video and access control safety programs; and the installation of "smart" technology in virtually all Genesee Community College classrooms and labs.

The new master plan will: emphasize the college's participation in the SUNY-wide "Degree Works" initiatives, which will streamline degree planning and transfers throughout SUNY; make greater use of mobile technologies for both instruction and administration; provide more videoconferencing opportunities among the Batavia campus and six campus centers; and expand bandwidth to support the college's growing eLearning programs.

"Our priority is to continually make improvements to the technology, and our business processes," Delmar said. "This helps us maintain our reputation as a leader in technology."

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