Trustees Experience Campus Innovations

By Dan Verderosa, February 19, 2019
President’s fellows and seed grant awardees present work to Board of Trustees.

Members of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees were introduced to some of the innovative and collaborative work being done by the president’s fellows and seed grant awardees at one of a series of immersion sessions during the board’s winter meeting. Held on Friday, Feb. 15, the hour-long session showed board members the results of two signature initiatives of President Shirley M. Collado’s first year at Ithaca College.

Similar sessions were also held with the Roy H. Park School of Communications, the School of Business and the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. Sessions with the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Music were held during the board’s October 2018 meetings. The sessions gave board members an opportunity to expand their interaction and collaboration with the campus community.

At the session on presidential initiatives, seed grant awardees and president’s fellows set up tables to demonstrate their projects, and trustees divided into groups to spend a few minutes learning about each of them. Trustee Orinthia Montague, president of Tompkins Cortland Community College, said that the event would help the board better serve the campus community.

“It gives us better insight into what’s happening on campus,” said Montague. “We are here to advocate and work and lobby on behalf of the campus — the students, the faculty, the staff members — and so it allows us to have a clearer vision as we look at how to do our jobs better.”

Montague praised all of the presentations she saw, such as assistant professor Sebastian Harenberg’s seed-grant-funded use of 360-degree video and virtual reality for immersive learning. At the immersion session, trustees donned a pair of VR goggles as Harenberg showed them how the technology aids research in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.

“Sure, I’ve done it on a game at the mall, but to see how it’s being used in the classroom, that’s pretty intense and dynamic,” said Montague. “I like that they’re able to tie something that we all consider fun into something curricular. I think that’s wonderful.”

For their part, the president’s fellows and seed grant awardees were happy to share what they have learned with trustees.

“I think it’s a really great learning experience for the trustees to know what we’re up to, because we’ve learned so much, and so we can transfer some of that knowledge into what they know about the institution,” said Carlie McClinsey ’19, a president’s fellow working in the Division of College Communications.

Collado created the President’s Seed Grant Initiative to foster and grow cross-disciplinary collaborations and innovations on campus. The President’s Fellows Program moves participants outside of their normal work environment and field to experience new professional opportunities on campus, develop leadership capabilities and receive mentorship in an unfamiliar area of interest. Both initiatives are supported through the President’s Discretionary Fund, a strategic resource for supporting faculty, staff and students as they explore their potential as learners, educators, leaders, professionals and human beings.

“I’m very grateful that the Board of Trustees made funding available for the president to offer seed grants,” said Barbara Belyea, a clinical professor in the Department of Physical Therapy whose seed grant project provides bystander intervention training. “I feel fortunate to have been supported in my project.”