Press release from GCC:
For the first time in 51 years, Bob Knipe doesn't have a regular job. "I started working at age 15 and I have never not worked," Knipe stated on June 21, 2013, his last regular day of work as the dean of Learning Technologies at Genesee Community College. "I've been very lucky," he added. "I've worked at jobs I loved and in great places, this being the best. I'll miss the people here, they're great people." He leaves a legacy of innovation and achievement that has positioned GCC to meet the changing needs of students in today's fast-paced, high-tech world.
When Knipe, now 66, arrived at Genesee Community College in 1990 he thought he'd be here for five years and then return to the Pacific Northwest, where he'd spent the previous three decades. Instead, he found an ideal professional home. "I was encouraged to evolve at Genesee, doing things I like to do and that I do best."
He also reconnected with boyhood roots. His father had moved the family from Canada to Batavia in 1953 to open the Genesee County Public Health Department. Bob attended school in Elba and Oakfield before the family headed west when he was nine years old. "When I moved here 23 years ago, people still remembered my dad," Knipe recalls.
Knipe earned his associate's degree from Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Education from Western Washington University and a Master of Science in Instructional Systems from Indiana University. He completed doctoral work at Indiana and Washington State Universities. Prior to GCC, Bob served in many roles in higher education including library and media services administrator, faculty development and assessment, instructional support, academic department head and curriculum developer. "I love working with faculty designing courses," he said.
Knipe helped develop and grow GCC's online course offerings giving rise to the current 12 degrees that can be earned fully online, with the newest, Supply Chain Management available this fall. Online enrollment is now 15% of GCC's total enrollment.
Knipe considers himself "a good bridge builder" and enjoys bringing people together for collaboration. One of the initiatives of which he's most proud is the OWL (Online Western New York Learning) Alliance. "OWL was my brainchild," Knipe said. "It grew out of a need for collaboration with community colleges regionally." Five State University of New York (SUNY) community colleges are part of the OWL alliance, which allows students enrolled at one of those colleges to access courses from all five of the schools online. Besides GCC, OWL includes Corning Community College, Erie Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College. All are fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Knipe is a multiple Middle States accreditation team member and plans to remain involved with the organization.
He expects to be professionally active in other ways as well, teaching classes and giving workshops. In July, he will teach a leadership course at the Instructional Technology Council's Distance Education Leadership Academy, which will be held in Buffalo. He hopes to co-teach a course at GCC this fall and do some consulting work. "Now I get to do the fun work stuff," he said.
"GrandBob" will also have more time to spoil his three grandchildren, ages 8, 5, and 2. Knipe has two sons, Tom, 38, lives in Ithaca with his wife Mary and their three children. His son Andy, 36, returns next month from a two-year tour with the Peace Corps in Cameroon where he has worked in economic development. Knipe and his wife, Linda, live in Batavia and have a summer home on Lake Ontario. "There are a lot of projects around the houses I can get to now," Knipe said.
He will remain active in the community as well. He serves on the board of GoArt (Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council) and plays French horn with both the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and the Batavia Concert Band. Look for him at Concerts in the Park this summer at Centennial Park in Batavia.
As he leaves the day-to-day work world, Knipe feels fortunate for having had an opportunity to make a positive difference in many students' lives. "At a community college you get to do stuff," he said. "There's a flexibility and a mindset of being customer-oriented and serving the student. We're really good at taking students from where they are and bringing them to the next level."
GCC's new dean of Distributed Learning, Craig Lamb starts August 12, 2013. He will fill Bob's seat and continue to build GCC's dynamic online learning program, enjoying a rock-solid foundation started and expanded by his predecessor.