The Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees has announced the selection of its new president. Brian M. Durant will be the ninth president in the college’s history. Durant will take over for Dr. Gregory T. DeCinque who has served as Interim President since December 2013.
“Brian is young and energetic and will fit right in at Cayuga. There are big shoes to fill when Dr. DeCinque leaves; but after meeting Brian, we all felt that he was ready to address the needs of our college,” said Jeffrey L. Edwards, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The Board looks forward to the transition and is eager to go to work on Cayuga’s future with Brian Durant at the lead,” he added.
Brian Durant most recently served as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack. He previously served as Dean for Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack before being promoted. He completed his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University, earned a Master of Science in Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from SUNY Plattsburgh.
“Brian Durant is the right person at the right time for Cayuga Community College,” said Dr. DeCinque. “Having spent the past 18 months as Interim President, I know that Brian will be a perfect fit with the Cayuga family. He brings a background that will help move CCC forward to a very bright future.”
Durant stated, “I am honored to serve as the next President of Cayuga Community College. With campuses in Auburn and Fulton, along with the comprehensive offerings available for students online, Cayuga Community College has a tremendous reputation for providing access to higher education. I look forward to collaboratively working with the college’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, and the regional community to provide high quality education for students as well as strengthen the position of Cayuga Community College for the future.”
Editor’s Note: Loraine Miller ’73 was originally run in the spring/summer 2007 edition of The Spartan. Updates on this piece were made in July 2015. See Prof. Miller’s new comments throughout.
Business/Computer Science Professor, Loraine Miller ’73
Interviewed by Karen Merritt ’77
Updated July 2015 – with Mary Kriever ’09
What year did you graduate from Cayuga?
I graduated from Cayuga in May 1973 with an A.A.S. Degree in Secretarial Science.
When did you start working at Cayuga, and how did you get into the field of teaching computer science?
In the fall of 1990 I was hired as an adjunct to teach Principles of Accounting and Business Communications. During the fall of 1992 semester, I was asked to take over the Introduction to Computer Science class from a professor who became ill. I had some previous experience teaching computer concepts when I taught high school business and adult education application software courses. The early 1990s saw an enormous increase in the use of PCs, especially with the introduction of the World Wide Web and affordable PCs. Because of the increased demand and my growing interest in the field, I continued to build my background by taking courses in management Information Systems at SUNY Oswego and Programming courses at Cayuga. In 1999 I started a second master’s degree at Syracuse University in Information management, part-time, and expect to complete the degree by this summer. I was hired in the fall of 2000 to teach both business and computer science courses, and now most of the courses I teach are in the Computer Information Systems program. The field is constantly changing; it’s exciting to be a part of new technology and to help others learn its benefits.
July 2015: I’ve been a full-time professor since 2000 and continue to teach courses in business and computer science. My favorite courses are in application software, database management, and web design. I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with new technology, which changes at what seems like lightning speed, and I especially enjoy working with students. Since 2009 I have served as Division Chair for the Behavioral/Social Science division which includes business, criminal justice, teacher education, behavioral and social sciences, and health and physical education. In this position I oversee faculty and work with administration to move the college forward in its mission.
Do you remember any of your classmates or professors that made an impression on you?
Since I graduated over 30 years ago from Cayuga, most professors are retired, but some only recently. The professors I remember best are Marge Miele, Helen Mahon, Bill Barth, and Don Fama. Marge and Helen taught courses in the Secretarial Science program, and both impressed me as knowledgeable, caring, and as outstanding teachers. Marge especially helped me realize my potential and built my confidence to pursue higher education after Cayuga. Bill Barth, who I feel is my role model as a professor, retired a couple of years ago, but still teaches part-time. He is detailed, thorough, and challenges student to learn all they can about a subject. It is almost impossible to follow in Bill’s footsteps, but I am honored to do so. Probably the professor who has had the most impact on my career is Don Fama. During the 1990s when I was trying to build some background in computer science and math, I had Don as a professor. He is by far the most dedicated, student-oriented, and visionary teacher I’ve known. Now as my colleague, his encouragement, camaraderie, and knowledge of the field keep me motivated and continue to help me develop professionally.
July 2015: I continue to credit my professors at ACC/CCC with success in my teaching career. I gained the foundation, the confidence, and drive to make education a life goal. These professors were my role models and I continue to use their philosophies and perspectives in teaching students today.
How does it feel to be a professor here after being a student here?
I feel at home at Cayuga. It is a friendly, caring, family-like environment. The faculty and administration are very supportive. The students are a pleasure to work with. The best part of my job comes from helping students who enter a class with little confidence and skill and walk away with the confidence and skill to continue their education or enter the job market.
July 2015: As a student it is hard to see the big picture. Continuing my education opened so many doors for me. I love to encourage students to learn about all their opportunities, work toward goals, and “think big”. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than hearing about the success stories of our graduates.
General feelings or comments about Cayuga that you would like to share?
One thing that impressed me most about Cayuga was the opportunity to meet other students and “socialize.” We would gather in the cafeteria, the student lounge, or the basement of the library building (during the 1970s there were vending machines and an open area to talk). These places, especially the cafeteria, were packed with students between classes during the day (especially the on days we held student protest against the Vietnam War but that’s another story!)
Today the cafeteria and student lounge are mostly empty and the basement of the library houses our AV equipment. The library itself and the Academic Support Center have become places to gather to study. I’m really excited about the renovations that started last year. The bookstore, cafeteria and the “cybercafé” will all be in the same area, and I hope that encourages student to come together to talk, study, and make friends. Half of the college experience and what is most memorable is the people you meet!
July 2015: Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working on the new mission and strategic plan for Cayuga. It has been a bottom-up process where we asked all our employees what makes CCC great – the dedication of the faculty and staff, the focus on student success, our proud alumni, and our community support. All of these values are built into our new mission and vision as follows:
We are Cayuga Community College, dedicated to providing students with diverse learning opportunities to discover their passions and advance their personal and professional growth.
Recognized as an essential educational resource for the region, Cayuga Community College will develop engaged citizens and improve our communities through effective leadership, robust educational programs, community partnerships, and state-of-the-art facilities.
Bruce G. Burton ’72, Counselor, Senior Foreign Service (ret.)
Alumni Award winner Bruce Burton attended ACC following his return from military service as a platoon leader in Vietnam. He quickly discovered his interest in international affairs. He attended Syracuse University; and after taking the long and difficult test for the Foreign Service exam, he was selected into the Foreign Service. For over two decades as an American diplomat, Bruce Burton witnessed history as it was being made. He started in the Carter Administration as a political officer reporting on human rights in Paraguay, then began working on arms control and security in Europe. In the early 1980s while NATO was locked in the last great political-military confrontation with the Soviet Union, Burton worked many long days and negotiating sessions to counter help with Soviet efforts to split the Alliance.
In the late 1980s, Bruce served as U.S. Deputy Director of Soviet Affairs. In this role he coordinated preparations in Washington for many high-level meetings between Secretary of State Shultz and his Soviet counterpart, as well as the series of Reagan-Gorbachev summits in Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington and Moscow. Future assignments in London and Tel Aviv kept Burton in the center of world history. As head of the political section at the embassy in London, he helped coordinate policy with our closest ally on a range of global issues and was eyewitness to momentous developments: the end of communism in Europe, the fall of Margaret Thatcher, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, and the First Gulf War. From London, Burton traveled to Tel Aviv. He said that working in Tel Aviv with the Israelis and Palestinians was especially complex. He worked with Israel’s Prime Minister in the signing of the Mideast Peace Accord at the White House in 1993.
Bruce retired from the State Department but still serves as Senior Advisor for the relatively new and somewhat experimental Office of eDiplomacy, an unprecedented effort to use new information technologies to improve the State Department’s ability to communicate and collaborate around the globe. It includes online communities, a department wide wiki, blogs, traditional websites, virtual outreach initiatives and much more.
Bruce shares that his wife Amy (Orlopp) Burton ’66 was his partner in all of his travels.
Heidi L. Huddleston Cross ’97, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, CWOCN
Heidi was selected as an Alumni Award winner for the outstanding contributions she continues to make in her volunteer work and in the field of nursing. From her fascinating childhood growing up with a father who was a professional opera singer and being a stand-in for Angela Cartwright in the movie “Sound of Music” to her remarkable career choices and mission work, Heidi Cross shows no signs of slowing down. She has received many honors including the Great Comebacks Ostomy Nurse of the Year Award, the Presidential Award from the WOCN Certification Board, and was twice the winner of the WOCN Certification Board Scholarship to the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI). Cross was recipient of a WOCN Society Members’ Research Grant and received the Community Service Mentor award from Sigma Theta Tau, Omicron Alpha Chapter. Heidi was chosen as Nurse of the Year by the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA).
Cross has served on several committees, including being the chairperson of the WOCN Certification Board Exam Committee. She has been a presenter at national and regional conferences and continues to do contract work with PESI (a provider of continuing education for health care professionals), lecturing nationally on wound care. Cross has been published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing, including a Best Practice Document on “Discharge Planning for the Ostomy Patient,” and in the International Wound Journal. She was involved in getting a legislative bill passed in New York State requiring coverage of ostomy supplies in 2014. In 2009 Heidi traveled with an Upstate New York medical team to South Sudan on a 10-day mission to teach nursing and wound care to physicians and nurses at the Duk Payuel Lost Boys Clinic.
Heidi earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing, magna cum laude, from Syracuse University; a master’s degree in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from SUNY Upstate Medical University; and her WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse) certification at Wicks Educational Associates in Pennsylvania. Heidi works at Upstate University Hospital as a Nurse Practitioner in inpatient and outpatient wound and ostomy care. She is a Nurse Practitioner with CNY Surgical Physicians consulting on wound care for long-term care facilities, and maintained Central New York’s only ostomy support group for a number of years. Heidi has also branched out to legal nursing consulting and does chart review for attorneys. She and her husband live in Skaneateles, where they raised their four children, and is most proud of her eight “wonderful and beautiful” grandchildren.
Interim President Dr. Gregory T. DeCinque steps down as the college welcomes its ninth president. Dr. DeCinque came out of retirement to help CCC regain financial footing; he had served as president of Jamestown Community College for 19 years.
Some of the significant accomplishments achieved for the college during the last 19 months include structural improvements of Fulton campus buildings, advancement of the regionalized college concept to both Cayuga and Oswego county Legislatures, approved labor contracts with the college’s four bargaining units and movement toward new athletic fields and residence halls.
“I feel, personally, very pleased that I’m going to be leaving President Durant with a good, solid administrative staff that I see really functioning as a team,” DeCinque said. “I think we’re going to see a strong administrative team that will provide the kind of total support necessary for any president to get the job done.”
Gregory A. Sankey ’85 was officially named the eighth commissioner of the Southeastern Conference this past spring. The promotion was expected, as he has served as Commissioner Slive’s right hand man since 2002. Mr. Sankey has been overseeing the SEC office’s day-to-day operations since March 2012, when he was named the league’s #2 executive behind Mike Slive. He was the commissioner of the Southland Conference for nearly seven years before joining the SEC in 2002, and was hired by the SEC three months after Slive to assist the league in improving its reputation as an NCAA rules violator. Greg Sankey spent much of the past ten years by Slive’s side as he worked with SEC coaches, athletic directors and others across the league; he has already earned the trust and respect of many of the league’s key players.
As a native of Auburn, Gregory Sankey earned his bachelor’s degree in education at SUNY Cortland and his master’s in education from Syracuse University. He has remained active over the years, running in more than 40 marathons while working at the SEC offices in Birmingham. At one point, he had run one marathon each month for a whole year.
You can find Sankey’s favorite quote on his Facebook profile: “I will prepare myself and then, perhaps, my chance will come. – John Wooden”
After being part of the CCC Foundation family for 19 years, serving as its Executive Secretary, The Foundation’s Board of Directors held a reception in Carol’s honor on July 17. Board members, along with college faculty and staff attended to extend their best wishes to Carol. She was presented with a gift as a token of appreciation and Foundation President David Contiguglia thanked Carol for her dedication.
I would like to personally thank Carol for all of her support and assistance. Thank you for everything Carol!
~ Mary Kriever, Alumni Director.
Guy T. Cosentino has been appointed as the new Director for the CCC Foundation. He served on the Board of Directors from 2007 to January 2014; serving on its Executive Committee and chairing its Nominating Committee. Guy is the former executive director of the Stardust Foundation of Central New York as well as the Stardust Entrepreneurial Institute. Cosentino also served as the executive director of what was then known as Options For Independence from 1996 to 2007. He was mayor of the city of Auburn from 1992 to 1995, and he currently serves as a member of the Seymour Library Foundation Board and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Advisory Board, among others.
Mr. Cosentino said “I am excited about this position, having had a long relationship with the Foundation, but more importantly with the College, having taken courses with them as early as during my years at Auburn High School and working with them professionally for more than two decades,” Cosentino said in a statement. “Cayuga Community College is a tremendous asset for both Cayuga and Oswego counties, not only educating our citizens, but as a major economic driver. The Foundation is a key partner in both of those efforts.”
Cosentino is a graduate of Syracuse University, graduating with honors from their History Department. He and his wife, Crystal Purcell Cosentino, live in Auburn, raising their son, Samuel Thomas.
Carla DeShaw, Dean of Community Education and Workforce Development at Cayuga Community College, was honored at the annual 134th annual Canastota Alumni Association Banquet at the Rusty Rail Party House on June 27. She was named as the 2015 recipient of the Vincent V. Albanese Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to her profession and to the community.
DeShaw graduated from Canastota Junior-Senior High School in 1981 where she participated in JV/varsity volleyball and softball as well as Ski Club. She also performed with the Canastota Marching Band and the Pit Band. DeShaw received an associate’s degree in business administration from Cazenovia College and athletic scholarship awards for volleyball and softball. She furthered her education in receiving a bachelor’s degree in vocational/technical education from the State University of New York at Oswego and earned a master’s degree and a certificate of advanced study in educational administration from SUNY Oswego. DeShaw has been certified as a Work Keys job profiler/administrator; as an Achieve global trainer in leadership, supervisory and quality programs; and also received NYS permanent certification as a school district administrator.
Her diverse and extensive experience in the area of continuing education includes more than 20 years serving in key leadership positions in both public education and higher education. In 2002, DeShaw authored and created the Mohawk Valley Manufacturer’s Consortium, a project that received $5.2 million from Empire State Development for incumbent worker training in lean manufacturing, management development and technical skill development. Recently, DeShaw was instrumental in forming the first formal partnership between the Oswego County BOCES (CiTi) and Cayuga Community College to deliver career and community education to Oswego County. It is a pioneering effort to consolidate and share resources between a BOCES and a community college
DeShaw has received numerous professional awards and recognitions, the most recent including the 2012 Canastota Central School District Athletic Achievement Award and the 2014 Cazenovia College Distinguished Alumni Award. She currently serves as the mayor of Canastota.
Congratulations to Spartan bowlers Bernie Cecchini (Union Springs, NY) and Joe Clavelli (Oswego, NY), who were named to the 2014-15 Academic All-American Team for their demonstrated superior performance in the classroom. This honor is awarded to student-athlete bowlers by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association.
A 5K fundraiser was hosted by CCC’s Phi Theta Kappa in April. All proceeds went to the Matthew House in Auburn. Cayuga’s Criminal Justice group was on hand to prepare food for the event. To read more on the Color Run, checkout the fall issue of Cayuga Alumni’s Spartan newsmagazine.
CCC students experienced Washington, D.C. on a bus trip in April. Escorted by Director of Student Activities, Normal Lee, the group visited the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum, saw Senator Bob Dole and enjoyed many activities held on the National Mall during their stay.
Finding the Relaxation Exercises That Work for You
For many of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response.
You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.
The relaxation response: Bringing your nervous system back into balance
Stress is necessary for life. You need stress for creativity, learning, and your very survival. Stress is only harmful when it becomes overwhelming and interrupts the healthy state of equilibrium that your nervous system needs to remain in balance. Unfortunately, overwhelming stress has become an increasingly common characteristic of contemporary life. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques can bring it back into a balanced state by producing the relaxation response, a state of deep calmness that is the polar opposite of the stress response.
When stress overwhelms your nervous system your body is flooded with chemicals that prepare you for “fight or flight.” While the stress response can be lifesaving in emergency situations where you need to act quickly, it wears your body down when constantly activated by the stresses of everyday life. The relaxation response puts the brakes on this heightened state of readiness and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.
Producing the relaxation response
A variety of different relaxation techniques can help you bring your nervous system back into balance by producing the relaxation response. The relaxation response is not lying on the couch or sleeping but a mentally active process that leaves the body relaxed, calm, and focused.
Learning the basics of relaxation techniques isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. Most stress experts recommend setting aside at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice. If you’d like to get even more stress relief, aim for 30 minutes to an hour. If that sounds like a daunting commitment, remember that many of these techniques can be incorporated into your existing daily schedule—practiced at your desk over lunch or on the bus during your morning commute.
Finding the relaxation technique that’s best for you
There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. When choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences, fitness, and the way you tend to react to stress. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts in order to elicit the relaxation response. In many cases, you may find that alternating or combining different techniques will keep you motivated and provide you with the best results.
How you react to stress may influence the relaxation technique that works best for you:
- The “fight” response. If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or guided imagery.
- The “flight” response. If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energize your nervous system, such as rhythmic exercise, massage, mindfulness, or power yoga.
- The immobilization response. If you’ve experienced some type of trauma and tend to “freeze” or become “stuck” under stress, your challenge is to first rouse your nervous system to a fight or flight response (above) so you can employ the applicable stress relief techniques. To do this, choose physical activity that engages both your arms and legs, such as running, dancing, or tai chi, and perform it mindfully, focusing on the sensations in your limbs as you move.
The term “fight or flight” is also known as the stress response. It’s what the body does as it prepares to confront or avoid danger. When appropriately invoked, the stress response helps us rise to many challenges. But trouble starts when this response is constantly provoked by less momentous, day-to-day events, such as money woes, traffic jams, job worries, or relationship problems.
Health problems are one result. A prime example is high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. The stress response also suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. Moreover, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them. One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response. The first step is learning to breathe deeply.
The benefits of deep breathing
Deep breathing also goes by the names of diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises.
For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow “chest breathing” seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety.
Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm’s range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs doesn’t get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Practicing breath focus
Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations. It’s especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach.
First steps. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath: Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).
Breath focus in practice. Once you’ve taken the steps above, you can move on to regular practice of breath focus. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps a focus word or phrase that helps you relax.
Relax. You deserve it, it’s good for you, and it takes less time than you think.
You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
2. Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
3. Be Present
“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.
When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
4. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
5. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.