Progress Reports from Spring 2020

Notes from groups around campus working to implement Ithaca Forever.

Faculty Research Support Group

The Faculty Research Support Group has held a series of focus groups with various faculty constituencies to better understand their range of research, scholarship, and creative inquiry practices as well as the forms of support that would be most useful to each constituency.

Invest in the Employee Action Group

  • Completed “Quick Guides” for employees to help navigate the retirement process and one for staff, which provide information about the New York State Paid Family Leave benefit. We will continue to add more guides in the months to come and will post them to the HR website.
  • Met with the Wellness Action Team (co-chaired by Bonnie Prunty and Julia Lapp) to provide feedback about the elements identified as being integral to a wellness model for Ithaca College.
  • Identified specific voluntary benefits that we propose offering. These will allow employees the opportunity to purchase insurance plans to supplement their current benefits package at a lower group rate than what they could purchase as an individual and have the premiums deducted from their paychecks.

Family Care Center Action Group

The family care action group has broadly defined family care to include child care, adult care, elder care, and family members with special needs.  

In evaluating our goal, “Commit to be an employer of choice,” we felt that the student experience was missing from not only a recruitment and retention standpoint but also an experiential learning perspective. We are therefore evaluating the effects a family care center will have on our ability to “Commit to being a college of choice,” where faculty, staff, and students thrive. 

The committee has spent the past three months collecting data, speaking with community partners, and benchmarking with other colleges and universities. We are confident these data will provide us with a solid roadmap necessary to develop a proposal for family care. We cannot thank our colleagues and community partners enough in supporting this effort.   

A couple of specific highlights:

  • We have solicited feedback from over 20 regional higher ed. institutions regarding their work to support the family care needs of their employees and students, and we have received 12 responses with a lot of really good, informative data. We will be following up with a couple of the institutions to conduct site visits to see their facilities and to discuss their research and planning process prior to developing a center.
  • We invited the Child Development Council to present last month, and we are preparing to invite other stakeholders (i.e., Longview, Coddington Child Care, and other center providers) to discuss potential partnership possibilities.

Internal Communications Action Group

This group has deployed a survey for faculty and staff asking about communications vehicles and the general sense of belonging. The team is also making calls to colleagues in higher ed. and beyond (RIT, UofR, Cornell, JP Morgan Chase, etc.) to benchmark best practices and gather ideas to improve and innovate internal communications.

Student Ready Campus Action Group

  • Almost completed a student survey to evaluate faculty and other advisors.
  • Completed cross-campus research related to existing advising processes and evaluation methods.
  • Completed a review of relevant NACADA documents.

Dining Action Group

  • Significant work has been started to develop dashboard indicators for the dining operation. With the fall semester complete, data are being gathered and analyzed for high-level reporting and operational decision-making.
  • Towers Marketplace hours have been changed based on fall semester utilization, and breakfast has been added on a trial basis. In periods between meals, the space will be open but not for full service.
  • An agreement has been reached to have Cornell Dairy supply most campus milk and yogurt and some cheeses
  • An Ithaca Bakery “to order” menu has been created, and initial test orders have started.
  • The student advisory committee has been reconstituted for the spring semester and is scheduled to meet every other week.
  • The internal audit group has been created (Karen Walls, Staci Hall, Toni Johnson, and Matt Walters). This group will audit (in pairs) each dining unit once per semester.
  • Grub Hub is open and operating in the Towers Marketplace. Initial results and feedback are positive with 5,902 orders processed through the end of January (an average of 295 orders per day since opening). Total registrations in January were 2,911.
  • Check-in/fall semester review meetings were held with Gimmie! Coffee, Ithaca Bakery, Ithaca Coffee, Chick-N Bap, and Purity.
  • The “Ugly Food” event, a partnership between Facilities Sustainability, Dining Services, and Maines was held in February.
  • Dining Services has expanded partnerships with faculty this spring semester. New partnerships include
    • one new Occupation Therapy (OT) class (will carry over into the fall),
    • one new Nutrition class,
    • one new Civic Engagement class,
    • one Nutrition class that has provided students for data entry into the Fusion nutrition and menu management software, and
    • one Math faculty member who has also provided students for data entry into Fusion.

Health Insurance Action Group

The committee continues to collaborate with insurance brokers and review our carrier options as well as various plan and benefit structures. 

Wellness Action Group

We have identified the following categories of wellness to incorporate into the campus wellness model: Financial, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Physical, Occupational, Environmental, and Intellectual.

Academic Resources (OER) Action Group

  • The survey about educational resources has been distributed to faculty members.
  • Data sources relevant to “hidden student” costs, including printing, supplies, books, and course packets, have been identified. 
  • Data needed from other sources, including NSSE 2019, LoA/Withdrawal survey, have been identified.
  • We have reached out to campus partners, including IT and Bookstore.
  • We have identified the timetable and goals for the spring 2020 semester.
  • The Campus Store has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to outsource textbook operations; selected vendors will be able to offer open educational resources (OER) support to IC faculty and others.

Experiential Learning Action Group

Focus groups for students who were unsuccessful at obtaining student employmentspecifically students who are awarded work studywill convene to determine how to better facilitate the process.

Master Plan

  • Weekly meetings continue to be held with the master planning firm for the IC project team to discuss the progress and development of the evolving Master Plan Update.
  • Perkins Eastman performed multiple site visits and met with multiple stakeholder groups to gain perspectives on the Master Plan.
  • Goal Co-Chairs have been working with Perkins Eastman to obtain feedback from the stakeholder groups and prepare numerous documents, reports, and information that will be valuable in developing the updated Master Plan.
  • The goal continues to develop and complete a Master Plan Update document by May 2020.

Space Utilization

The purpose of this work is to enhance the student experience and promote teaching and learning. A few recent highlights include the following:

  • In-depth planning for the 190+ office moves continues.
  • The Office of College Communications has relocated to the Peggy Ryan Williams (PRW) Center as part of the Space Planning initiative.
  • Estimates for summer 2020 minor construction and renovation projects are being procured.
  • Meetings with various constituent groups who will be relocated this summer are continuing to be held.

IC Partnership Pathways (ICP2) Group

Since early Spring 2019, the ICP2 Group has been working on developing a cohesive infrastructure for supporting the vast network of college initiatives (or “partnership pathways”) designed for campus-to-community collaboration. These include student internships, experiential learning arrangements, faculty-led student research, civic engagement projects, volunteer projects, and meeting a specific community need.

Although IC has a strong history of community engagement and collaboration, a coherent approach for cataloging and promoting these partnerships, tracking the totality of these efforts for knowledge sharing, and cultivating the relationships created by these valuable opportunities is lacking.

The ICP2 Group has therefore launched a mapping project that involves careful information gathering and cataloging of our current “partnership pathways,” which includes a campus-wide survey for capturing critical information about these pathway arrangements.