Fall Focus 2023

The challenges facing higher education in the 21st century cannot be addressed by individual institutions working in isolation.

Instead, our future success requires active collaboration, engaged partnerships, and strategic alliances between our institutions.

Join senior leaders from regional institutions for a strategic working session to identify opportunities for collaborative success.

October 27, 2023

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

St. John Fisher University*


*in-person event

Session Facilitators

Amy Cronin, Executive Director
New York Six
Liberal Arts Consortium





Diane Dimitroff, Executive Director

Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges

Embracing AI in Education: Empowering Faculty Through ChatGPT

In response to member requests, UNYCC will be hosting an interactive presentation for instructional staff to explore the ways ChatGPT can be utilized as a valuable educational tool and how it can support educators.

“Embracing AI in Education: Empowering Faculty Through ChatGPT”

Date: August 25, 2023

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm

Duration: Approximately 75 mins

Platform: Zoom

Presenter/Facilitator: Jeffrey Allan, Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology (Nazareth University)


In order to have the most fruitful discussion we will limit space for this session. The goal is to empower participants to be advocates for AI integration in the classroom and implementation in their own work.  By adopting a “train the trainer” approach, we aim to encourage a collaborative environment where everyone can benefit from shared knowledge and expertise.

The session will delve into various aspects of AI including:

  • Understanding the potential of ChatGPT in the classroom and its impact on student learning outcomes.

  • Exploring innovative ways to incorporate ChatGPT into your teaching methodologies.

  • Discussing real-world use cases of ChatGPT to enhance faculty productivity and engagement.

  • Addressing any questions or concerns you may have about integrating ChatGPT into your teaching practices.

If you are interested, please contact your Provost to be nominated. 

Learning from Our Peers: Embracing Neurodiversity in Higher Education

Join UNYCC colleagues for a discussion specifically designed for disability and wellness professionals working in higher education settings. The presentation aims to raise awareness and understanding of neurodiversity while showcasing two successful RIT programs:

Spectrum Support Program (f. 2008) was founded to address the complex needs of a growing population of RIT students on the autism spectrum. SSP was one of the first programs of its kind and has since established itself as the industry standard.

Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (f. 2018) facilitates the path to completion and employment for neurodiverse students by connecting employers and job seekers.  Many young adults on the autism spectrum frequently lack essential early work experiences, and even those who obtain a college degree often encounter higher rates of unemployment compared to their peers. Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI) in 2018, RIT is uniquely positioned to bridge this divide.  NHI facilitates myriad programs, including Career Ready Bootcamp and Career and Connect, that build the confidence and job readiness skills of autistic RIT job seekers. 

This one-hour session includes a robust Q&A and discussion, allowing participants to engage with the presenter and exchange experiences and ideas.

Date:  August 10

Time:  12:00-1:00

Presenter: Kendra Evans, RIT



Kendra Evans, MAT (she/her) is the Director of the Spectrum Support Program (SSP) and the Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Evans is committed to advancing employment outcomes and quality of life for neurodiverse students. She has cultivated partnerships across campus to enrich the neurodiverse student experience and has also developed meaningful relationships with advocacy organizations and employers nationwide.

In addition to presenting at conferences, Evans provides consultation and neurodiversity trainings to establish inclusive hiring practices and work environments for all employees. She has presented at various neurodiversity conferences and recently was awarded the Presidential Excellence Award. Kendra has three teenage children. In her spare time, she loves to walk and ride or row on her Peloton, play with her pup, and do logic puzzles. Her last meal would be a soft pretzel and a craft beer at a ballpark, preferably Wrigley Field. If she survives, she’ll complete her MBA in the spring of 2024.

A Roadmap for Responding to Students, Faculty, and Staff in Times of Crisis: TIG in Higher Education

Colleges and universities are a primary resource for students offering continuity, safety, information, and support for their growth and success. Our students turn to trusted faculty, staff, or other school professionals for support and help in understanding challenging events in their lives.

College and university personnel are frontline resources for students experiencing trauma, illness, death, and loss – both at the time of immediate crisis and in subsequent years, as they continue to adapt and mature. By being knowledgeable and informed, higher education professionals can be prepared to respond and intervene effectively during these times of crisis.

The TIG (Trauma, illness, and grief) response model, which has been utilized for 20 years in the K-12 setting, can offer campuses a roadmap for responding to students, faculty, and staff at times of crisis. When a campus crisis occurs, the TIG team is initiated, allowing TIG-Trained staff and faculty to provide support to impacted students, colleagues, and communities.

This two-hour information session aims to educate college and university leaders about this exciting and innovative opportunity to bring this model to your campus. The TIG facilitators will also share program components and outcomes from the institutions that have implemented this approach on their campuses. 

At the end of the session, participants will:

  • Understand what TIG is and meet the facilitators
  • Be able to identify the components of the TIG approach
  • Understand what crisis response is and is not
  • Be able to identify how TIG aligns with your current supports
  • Understand how to bring this model of response to your campus

Date: August 21, 2023
Time:  10-12:00


Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)


This is a no-cost event. 

15 CE credit hours are available for LMHCs, LMSW, and LCSW licensees.

REGISTER for ASIST (before 2 August)

Select “Seneca” and the August 16th Date

The presenters are listed below. For more details see this link


ASIST Presenters:

Heather Frederick is a licensed mental health counselor and the current Senior Clinical Counselor at Northeast College of Health Sciences.  She has over 15 years of experience in both the mental health and healthcare industries. A committed advocate for mental health and suicide prevention she serves on both the Seneca County Substance Abuse and Seneca County Suicide Prevention coalitions. As a community educator, she has been a Talk Saves Lives trainer since 2018 and a Safe Zone trainer since 2019. She is an active member of the UNYCC Wellness and TIG committees and enjoys collaborating with other professionals to enhance the overall well-being of others both in higher education and local communities.

Rene Mitchell is a licensed mental health counselor with Seneca County Community Counseling Center where she oversees the school-based clinics in Seneca County.  She is a graduate of both Houghton College and St Bonaventure University.  Rene has extensive experience working in both residential and community mental health agencies.  She is a certified trainer in both Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Kathleen (Kathy) Fitzpatrick is a licensed mental health counselor and has been with Northeast since 2022.  She has 30 years of counseling experience in the areas of community substance abuse, mental health, and employee assistance programs.  Kathy has had her own private practice for 15 years and holds licenses to practice in Virginia, Florida, and New York.  In addition to her practice,  Kathy has provided psycho-educational trainings for several companies and in 2022 Kathy became a certified trainer in both Talk Saves Lives and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).  She is an active member of the Upstate New York College Collaborative Wellness Committees.




Breaking Barriers, Achieving Dreams

Empowering Students through Financial Wellness

June 28, 2023

11:30 – 12:30

A virtual discussion with UNYCC regional colleagues about the intersection of financial wellness with retention initiatives and the early eye-popping results.

This event will be of particular interest to Financial Aid, Enrollment Management, Student Success, and other departments advocating for Access for All Students.


*While this event is offered at no cost to the UNYCC community, registration is required.

Our Presenters:

        • Ryan Hartnett (Provost, Villa Maria College)
        • Erik Neilans (VP Enrollment Mgmt, SUNY Erie)
        • David Gonzalez (Arbol, Co-founder/CEO)

This event sponsored by Arbol:

Virtual College And University Breakfast Series – Bonadio/UNYCC

Monday, June 12, 2023
9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. ET

Two hours of CPE credit will be offered for this event.


The Bonadio Group, in collaboration with UNYCC, is once again hosting our Virtual College & University Breakfast Series. Please join us for an interactive discussion as we explore:

  • IRA refundable energy credits
  • Reexamining internal control structure in light of employee turnover
  • New in-kind accounting and other new matters

Questions will be encouraged during the presentation via the chat feature.

While there is no charge for this event, registration is required.


Talk Saves Lives: A Brief Introduction to Suicide Prevention




A Brief Introduction to Suicide Prevention

March 15, 2023


Suicide can be prevented. This presentation will cover what we know about this leading cause of death, the most up-to-date research on prevention, and what we can all do to fight suicide.  Join UNYCC colleagues to learn the common risk factors for suicide, how to spot the warning signs in others, and how to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and those in our community safe.

 Register Here

*This UNYCC event is virtual and offered at no charge to members.  Registration is required.

Please share this invite with interested colleagues.


Heather Frederick is a licensed mental health counselor and the current Senior Clinical Counselor at Northeast College of Health Sciences.  She has over 15 years of experience in both the mental health and healthcare industries. A committed advocate for mental health and suicide prevention she serves on both the Seneca County Substance Abuse and Seneca County Suicide Prevention coalitions. As a community educator, she has been a Talk Saves Lives trainer since 2018 and a Safe Zone trainer since 2019. She is an active member of the UNYCC Wellness and TIG committees and enjoys collaborating with other professionals to enhance the overall well-being of others both in higher education and local communities.



Becky Kieffer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 22 years of experience in the mental health field. Her career in higher education began in 2016 when she returned to her alma mater St. John Fisher.  With a strong focus on mental health, she assisted in addressing increased campus needs, by spearheading efforts to establish Fisher as a JED campus and was instrumental in launching the UNYCC/TIG higher education pilot.  Becky holds a BA in Psychology from St. John Fisher and an MA in Clinical/Medical Social Work from Syracuse University.

2023 Annual Outlook for Higher Education

Feb 28, 2023

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Join FORVIS and colleagues from UNYCC as we dive into the 2023 Annual Higher Education Outlook for knowledge about the latest trends and challenges in higher education. Download your complimentary copy and gain valuable insights to help your institution develop a strategy and tactics moving forward.

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

1. Identify the trend in leader confidence and their capacity for change
2. Explain revenue and expense management strategies and tactics being used
3. Discuss future industry direction


*1 CPE credit (pending approval) in the Specialized Knowledge field of study may be awarded upon verification of participant attendance, during live broadcast. If you would like information regarding CPE credit, contact cpecompliance@forvis.com.​

Personal Perspectives and Practices for Gender Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

February 15, 2023

12:00 – 1:15 PM

Increasing numbers of students, faculty, and staff self-identify as transgender, gender non-binary, and/or gender diverse. Creating a sense of belonging for these members of our academic communities requires everyone to be intentional, explicit, and consistent.

This introductory presentation will provide participants with insight into the experiences of people who are gender diverse and suggest actions we can each take to make our campus communities more inclusive and affirming.

Please share this invite with interested colleagues. 
*This UNYCC event is virtual and offered at no charge to members. Registration is required.


Jamie MaKinster, Ph.D. is the Senior Associate Provost for Curriculum and Assessment at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She partners with the leadership team in the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs to advance a diverse portfolio of responsibilities that includes curricular initiatives, evaluation, and assessment, institutional research, the management of specific academic programs, efforts focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and strategic planning. Jamie has been a faculty member in Educational Studies at HWS for 20 years. Her teaching and scholarship focus on educational leadership, environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and issues of gender and gender identity in higher education.