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February 2009
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In This Issue
Vanishing Tuition Illustrates Need
Summer Internships are Important
Geneseo Alumna Tapped as Chief of Staff
Geneseo Ranks High with Kiplingers
Students Gain Experience through Research
New Residence Hall Opens
Parent Involvement Benefits Students
Geneseo Launches Unique Study Abroad Program
Grant Awards and Faculty Recognition
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Siblings Weekend
Each year, Activities Commission Special Events hosts SUNY Geneseo's Siblings Weekend.  It is a weekend-long event filled with performances, a carnival, roller skating, and many other fun activities. 
Events take place all over the beautiful campus of Geneseo and all shows are sibling-friendly.  This annual event is a great opportunity for students and their siblings to spend some quality time together. 

This year, Siblings Weekend is scheduled for April 3rd through April 5th
For more information, please check the Activities Commission Web site calendar.

Important Upcoming Dates

14  Residence Halls close 
16-20 Spring Break
22  Residence Halls open 
23  Classes Resume
3-4 Siblings Weekend
4    Parents Council  
23  3RD Annual G.R.E.A.T.
14  Residence Halls close
16  Commencement
17  Residence Halls close
      for graduates
For more upcoming dates,
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Vanishing Tuition Monies Illustrate Crucial Need for Your Support
President Dahl
Christopher C. Dahl
President, SUNY Geneseo
The support you provide Geneseo with time, talent and treasures has never been more important than it is now, and I sincerely thank you for your ongoing commitment to our mission during these austere economic times.
Such support is crucial because New York State and SUNY are facing their worst budget crisis in 25 years.  Three rounds of SUNY budget reductions this year -- $210 million in all - are threatening Geneseo's student-focused educational mission.  Ultimately, the cuts will stifle the state's economic recovery. 
Added to the recent cuts was an unexpected hijacking by the New York Division of the Budget of 90 percent of this semester's $310 individual tuition increase to close other state budget gaps unrelated to higher education.   While this redirecting of tuition monies is not unprecedented in New York, it is grossly misguided and deceptive.  As parents, you would reasonably assume that your tuition payments would support  Geneseo.   Instead, most of your additional tuition dollars this semester have gone into the state's general fund to offset other budget shortfalls.  Next year may be no better as the governor plans to take 80 percent of the full annual tuition increase for the same purpose.  He has in effect imposed a hidden tax on SUNY students and their families. 
The tuition issue is important because tuition and fees comprise about 75 percent of Geneseo's budget; only about a quarter of our budget comes from direct tax-dollar support, which has dropped significantly over the years.
How can this manipulation of tuition dollars happen?  Many state residents do not know a troubling fact:  the governor's budget division has absolute authority over the SUNY budget once the legislature appropriates the dollars.  SUNY was established as a state executive agency and has the same status as, say, the Department of Transportation in terms of budget control.  On the other hand, your legislators have a great amount of influence on where and how funds are spent for K-12 education, the City University of New York and for community colleges.  
SUNY's Board of Trustees governs the university and can raise and collect tuition, but once the legislature appropriates those dollars, the budget division has sole discretion on how or whether to spend them.  We at Geneseo believe such unilateral executive control over SUNY leaves the university vulnerable to state budget whims, and this structure should change to protect Geneseo and other campuses now and in the future.  
To be sure, the state budget process is complicated, but it is important to understand that decisions being made in Albany are having a chilling effect on the quality of higher education we provide our students.  We will continue our advocacy efforts  to unshackle SUNY from executive control and afford it a legal status apart from a state agency.  This public-benefit-corporation model would turn more of the management of the university over to the trustees, putting SUNY on par with most of the country's great public universities in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Minnesota.
In addition to your continued financial gifts to Geneseo, I respectfully request your support in advocating for SUNY.  Let the governor, your assemblypersons and senators know that cuts to the SUNY budget are threatening to erode educational quality at Geneseo and other SUNY institutions.  Implore the state's executive branch to stop hijacking tuition revenue for the general fund.  Join us in working to restructure SUNY as a true university system rather than an executive agency of the state.  To help with this effort, visit
Even in turbulent  times, wonderful things are happening at Geneseo.  We are committed to  preserving  our core academic mission to provide your sons and daughters with the  excellent education for which Geneseo is so well known.  Rightfully so, we want to make sure that future Geneseo students have the same opportunity. Thank you for joining our efforts to do just that.

Summer Internships are Important!
   Internships image
Summer jobs and internships are more important than ever, and Student Employment Services at SUNY Geneseo is here to help!
With the worsening economy, graduating students are going to need more on their resume than a high GPA to compete in a tightening job market.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that 95.2 percent of employers surveyed say they prefer candidates with work experience, and 76.3 percent of employers prefer candidates with relevant work experience.  Employers have increasingly stated that they will not consider new hires out of college who lack experience on their resumes. 

With those figures in mind, we encourage every Geneseo student to seek relevant summer experiences whenever possible.  Our office posts summer opportunities from around the country, but we are always in need of more choices for our students. 

Parents can help us with our goals.  If your place of employment would be willing to offer Geneseo students summer internships (paid or unpaid) or work experience, please let us know!  You can email job postings to, or go right to our Web site at student employment services to post positions directly.   Geneseo students are highly motivated and skilled and can contribute greatly to your organization. 

If your own student is in need of a relevant summer experience, please encourage him or her to visit our Web site or to make a personal appointment with a counselor.  We can offer guidance on searching for positions, networking, completing applications, writing resumes, interviewing and more.  Students can visit our Web site for more details. 

We look forward to working with you and your students!  
Geneseo Alumna Tapped as Chief of Staff
for First Lady Michelle Obama
Norris portrait
A Geneseo alumna has landed a high-profile position in Washington as chief of staff for first lady Michelle Obama.  Jackie Norris, a 1992 political science major, was named to the post recently after working several years in various national political capacities and as a high school teacher in Iowa.   
"She was always very enthusiastic and optimistic and had excellent management skills at a very young age," said Alan Shank, who was a Geneseo political science faculty member for 30 years and chair of the department for 17.  "She was one of our outstanding internship students and was exceptionally outgoing and showed a high level of initiative.  Her appointment is a wonderful achievement."
Norris, whose maiden name is Jackie Dycke, worked as an intern during her senior year at Geneseo in the office of New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who later hired her to be Slaughter's chief of staff.
"She made an impression on Louise Slaughter and working for her launched her successful career," said Shank. 
Norris took other positions in politics and education and joined the Obama presidential campaign in 2007, when she served as the Iowa senior adviser during the caucus campaign.  She later served as the Iowa state director for Obama's successful 2008 general election campaign in that state. 
Norris also served as Vice President Al Gore's scheduler and events planner during the Clinton administration and as director of scheduling and advance for former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who is presently New York's attorney general.  She also served as finance director for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's 1998 gubernatorial campaign. 
In 2002, Norris obtained her secondary education teacher certification from Iowa State University and a master's degree in political science in 2008.  She taught high school history and government at three schools in Iowa.   She and her husband, John, have three children. 
Geneseo Makes Another Strong Showing in
Kiplinger Rankings of Public Colleges
Kiplinger imageSUNY Geneseo is among the colleges highly ranked on Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 2009 list of four-year schools in the nation that exemplify excellent academics while keeping their in-state and out-of-state costs to a minimum. 
Geneseo is ranked second for best value among the country's public colleges for out-of-state students and sixth for in-state students.  Geneseo ranked first and sixth, respectively, in last year's rankings. 
"This is yet another indicator substantiating Geneseo's strength as one of the country's outstanding public liberal arts colleges," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl.  "The Kiplinger recognition comes in the midst of a turbulent economy when students and parents both inside and outside of New York are taking hard looks at options for quality higher education that won't break the bank. Geneseo is a highly desirable option for the best and brightest students in the country seeking an exceptional and affordable liberal arts education."
The number of applications for next fall's class is up significantly from last year, according to Bill Caren, Geneseo's associate vice president for enrollment management.
"Our position as one of the top college values in the nation continues to pay dividends in these difficult economic times," says Caren.  "We are definitely seeing students with a stronger academic profile.  Rankings like these from Kiplinger help define who we are and attract the kind of student we like to have on campus."
Schools in the Kiplinger rankings are selected from a pool of more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities.  Order is based on academic quality, including admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, four and six-year graduation rates and on cost and financial aid.

Students Gain invaluable Experience through
Privately Funded Research Opportunity
ODonnell photoUndergraduate research serves to further strengthen the status of Geneseo graduates relative to undergraduates of competitive private and state schools.  Hands-on research alongside a dedicated professor is one of the most important experiences that Geneseo offers to undergraduate students.  Each year, generous gifts from parents, alumni and friends fund research projects resulting in highly skilled, intellectually curious and results-driven graduates.  Last year, approximately 150 grants totaling over $85,000 are awarded to students to support research initiatives.
In the fall of 2008, Ashley Adams '09 and Cory Higley '09, teamed up to  study the effect of D,L-Sulforaphane on the cycle of breast cancer/melanoma cell line MDA MB-435 in conjunction with Professor Robert W. O'Donnell
When asked to describe the research project, the team responded, "Simply put, the cell cycle is a process that results in the division of a cell.  This is how any tissue grows.  Division is regulated by a number of checkpoints throughout the cycle, and is allowed to continue in the cycle if the appropriate proteins of a particular series are present.  Cancer cells are characterized as cells that have the ability to divide unregulated and therefore are present in surplus.  We knew that chemicals in the same family as Sulforaphane, a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables, had anti-carcinogenic effects.  Using a melanoma cell line, we first found out that Sulforaphane effectively blocked the cells in the part of the cell cycle right before actual division.  We are now trying to identify which proteins in the regulating series are affected by Sulforaphane." 
Corey and Ashley were kind enough to participate in an interview about their research:
1.  How has performing research alongside Professor O'Donnell impacted your learning experience at Geneseo?
It has been a rewarding experience.  We learn about many of the techniques we have been using in class, so it is fun to use them in real life.  Also, learning how to write grants and proposals will be beneficial in a career in any research field.  Overall, doing research has been a fun and educational addition to the normal course load.  We have learned a lot from the professor who leads us, not only in the topic but about future plans and life.  
2.  Do you plan to present your findings at a professional conference?
We have applied to present at a poster session by the Council on Undergraduate Research on Capitol Hill in May, so hopefully we will be accepted to present.
3.  What plans do you have for after graduation? 
Ashley - I plan to further my education in either the field of conservation biology or naturopathic medicine.
Cory - I plan to attend graduate school and enroll in a Masters of Public Health program.
4.  Do you feel better prepared for the real world because of your research? 
Yes, not only do we have experience performing certain techniques and writing grants and proposals, we have had experience presenting our work.  Also, working in a research group develops character and skills that will benefit us in the work force.    
5.  Why do you feel your research is important?  What practical applications does it have?
Cancer can be addressed at three levels: prevention, screening, and early diagnosis.  Of the three, cancer prevention is by far the most advantageous.  It prevents cancer from ever starting so that early diagnosis and treatment are not needed.  One important area of prevention involves lifestyle decisions such as diet.  The chemical we are using to study effects on the cell cycle is one found in common cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and mustard.
Ashley carries a 3.4 GPA and is a biology major with an environmental studies minor.  She has been on the Dean's List and the SUNYAC All American Team.  In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running and lifeguarding.  Corey also carries a 3.4 GPA and is a biology major with a minor in business studies.  Corey has been on the Dean's list and enjoys skiing, traveling and swimming in his spare time.  
Second Residential College House Opens
Writers' House imageThe Department of Residence Life is pleased to announce the opening of its second college house, "Writers House," in the brand new Seneca Hall Building for the spring 2009 semester.
Residential college houses are distinctive and creative communities in which residents develop their own collective expectations and goals each year.  Each residential college house has one or more faculty fellows who work with students in the community, planning programs, dinners and service projects.
Members of Writers House have the opportunity to participate in readings and workshops presented by visiting writers, and share their own poetry, stories, journalism, drama, song lyrics, graphic novels, etc. with other members of the House.  Pulitzer-prize winning poet Philip Schultz is pictured above signing his collection of poems for a Writers House resident.  Students will also work together on student publications and take courses in the seminar room in Seneca Hall. Students invited to live in Writers House will be expected to participate in the house's unique culture and to support the community's expectations and goals.
Please encourage any students that you believe would benefit from this opportunity to visit the Writers House Web site:
Parent Involvement Benefits Students
Ingram h/sEverywhere I go, I meet Geneseo parents who express gratitude with the way that Geneseo's liberal arts education is preparing their children for successful and meaningful lives ahead.  Parents speak positively about the educational and co-curricular opportunities at Geneseo, and they are encouraged that the College is preparing their students well for highly competitive jobs and graduate education.  
It's that level of satisfaction that motivates so many parents to become involved with the College.  As one parent I met with recently said, "Being involved with Geneseo while my daughter is a student allows me to 'pay it forward'...I am where I am today because someone was willing to mentor me."  Every parent has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Geneseo students by actively participating in the Parents Council  -- a dedicated group of parents and family members who are developing internship opportunities, raising funds for programs through the Geneseo Parents Fund, and participating in recruiting the best and the brightest to Geneseo.  All parents are invited to attend the Parents Council meeting April 4 at 2:00 p.m. in the Hunt Room in the College Union.
Your contribution to the College can come in so many ways, but one way to ensure that Geneseo students have access to scholarships, undergraduate research, leadership programs and athletics is to make the Geneseo Parents Fund a giving priority for the entire time your child is a student at Geneseo. 
You may designate the use of your gift to the academic, co-curricular or athletic programs of your choice.  You can also make your gift in honor of your student or of someone else on campus that has been especially influential in your child's life here.
The generosity of graduates, parents, and friends enables Geneseo to offer personal and individual learning experiences, empower students to be effective world citizens, and prepare them for a society in need of their leadership. Support is critical to the mission of SUNY Geneseo and the health of the college community.
If you haven't given to the Geneseo Parents Fund, please do so and join the many parents who are supporting current programs at the college.  You can make a gift today today by visiting our on-line giving site at, or by contacting the office of the Parents Fund at (585 ) 245-5570
Thank you for your support! 
Tammy Ingram
Director of Parent Relations
Geneseo Launches Unique Study Abroad Program in Italy
Study Abroad ImageThis summer SUNY Geneseo launches a unique study abroad program in Italy that combines Art History and Studio Art in a manner that distinguishes this program from every other study abroad program in the U.S. 
Designed by two members of Geneseo's faculty, Lynette Bosch (Art History) and Tom MacPherson (Studio Art) under the guidance of the program's director, Ann Priester (Art History), the program  also invites faculty from other institutions to participate so that Geneseo's students can expand their opportunities to build networks at universities with graduate programs.  The first invited faculty is Charles Burroughs, the Elsie B. Smith Professor and acting chair of classics at Case Western Reserve University. 
Geneseo Italia will take its first group of students to Siena, Florence, Assisi and Rome, with planned short trips to Venice, Orvieto, Todi, Pompeii and Tivoli among other locales.  The course of study is simultaneously demanding and flexible, combining the studies of ancient Rome, early Christian Italy, medieval architecture and sculpture, Roman and Florentine urbanism alongside Italian and Baroque Art.  Drawing, watercolor, and the opportunity to develop photo essays of the trip provide the studio art complement to the art history focus.  The program was designed to allow independent study alongside classroom experiences, as individual students can tailor the program's requirements to their talents and interests.
One of the opportunities Geneseo Italia will give students and faculty alike is the chance to visit the SACI Center for Restoration in Florence, which is one of the leading institutes of studio art, exhibitions of contemporary art, and archaeological and artistic restoration in Europe.
What is truly unique about Geneseo's program is the combination of these four scholars, whose expertise, experience, knowledge and reputations have received national and international recognition through their extensive records of publication, exhibition, awards, scholarships and prizes.  In diverse ways, the faculty of Geneseo Italia have been collectively recognized by the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kress Foundation, the San Diego Watercolor Society, the American Philosophical Society, and Harvard University's Bunting Fellows Program.  That these scholars have also received teaching awards means that Geneseo Italia's students benefit from scholar-teachers of international reputation who have come together to create a program that takes a student on a global journey from the Roman Empire to the world of current artistic practice. 
No other study abroad program in the country has this combination of individuals and course content.  Geneseo Italia will, in years to come, truly distinguish the College with an outstanding contribution to Geneseo's Study Abroad programs.
Students and parents are invited to contact the School of the Arts at 585-245-5814 or the Office of International Programs at 585-245-5529 for additional information about this exciting program.

Grant Awards and Faculty Recognition Contribute to Student Learning Environment 
A vibrant college community is a reflection of the academic and research activities in which students and faculty participate.  The bright students at Geneseo are supported by a faculty highly acclaimed in their areas of expertise, as evidenced by the many grants and accolades bestowed upon them by agencies and peers.

English Department
Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ronald Herzman received an award through the University of Vermont (the lead institution) from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Dr. Herzman and Dr. William Stephany (professor of English, emeritus, University of Vermont) are co-project directors on the National Endowment for the Humanities award "Dante's Commedia."  This award will support a six-week "Seminar for School Teachers" which will be team-taught in Siena, Italy.  Dr. Herzman and Dr. Stephany have offered this seminar seven times since 1999 (the current award for the summer of 2009 will be the 8th).  Geneseo's award for this project was $55,197.

History Department
Distinguished Teaching Professor William Cook has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of over $140,000 to conduct a seminar for high school teachers in Italy in the summer of 2009.  

Assistant Professor of History, Jordan Kleiman, recently received a $131,766 Scholars Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to complete research on his book manuscript, "The Appropriate Technology Movement in American Political Culture."  The grant, which emanates from the NSF's Science, Technology, and Society Program, will allow Kleiman to complete the first book-length scholarly study of a movement that helped lay the groundwork for a number of increasingly urgent endeavors, including the development of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green building, and sustainable wastewater treatment. 

Keck Geology Consortium is a multi-college collaboration focused on enriching undergraduate education through development of high-quality research experiences.  Jeff Over, professor and chair of geological sciences, is a co-primary investigator for one of eight projects offered in 2009-10.  Eight U.S. students will spend four weeks in the field in Mongolia in collaboration with Mongolian colleagues.
Assistant Professor of biology Kevin Militello received the National Institutes of Health  Academic Research Enhancement Award in March of 2007.  In August of this year 2008, Dr. Militello and Geneseo student, Clement Nsiah, were awarded a supplement to Dr. Militello's main grant that will provide support for Clement for one year of research through the "Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research" program.  The supplement was for $13,034. 

Chemistry professor James McGarrah's  research group is part of a unique consortium composed of ten liberal arts colleges involved in a collaborative project with the goal of finding a catalyst that can be used to economically and efficiently affect the photoelectrolysis of water to generate hydrogen.   A student involved in this project will have hands-on opportunities to prepare and test metal oxide films for their activity as catalysts.  Such catalysts are instrumental in the development of the technology necessary to bring about a transition from fossil fuel to solar energy.  See for further information.

Denise Scott, associate professor of sociology, won "runner up" for her book "The Best-Kept Secret:  Women Corporate Lobbyists, Policy, and Power in the United States."  The book was one of five finalists chosen from a selection of 30 books.
The Association for Humanist Sociology has established this award for the book that best reflects the ideals and practice of humanist sociology. Humanist sociologists strive as professionals, as scholars and as activists to uncover and address social issues, working with others to lessen the pain of social problems.