For more than a decade, Keuka College adjunct instructor Andrea Bastedo had one foot in law enforcement and one foot in academia.
A valued member of the College’s Criminal Justice Adult and Online Education (AOE) staff, she spent more than 20 years on the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.
She has now combined those passions as part of her new role: Director of Campus Safety and Security for Onondaga Community College.
“It’s an amazing job – a huge opportunity,” says Dr. Bastedo, a Syracuse-area native who already had close ties with OCC. “I went to my first two years of college here. My police academy was held here. … This is where I grew up. This is where my roots are.”
Her new duties involve overseeing a staff of more than 75.
“Even though OCC is a community college,” she says, “it’s bigger than Keuka College geographically.”
Her charges include 15 armed peace officers, 15 security guards, dispatchers, transit drivers (she also has responsibility for the college’s bus line), and a student patrol.
“I’ve enforced law for decades, but now I’m looking at the penal law in relation to educational law; you have that dual role,” she says from the campus office she has occupied for barely four weeks.
Keuka College Connections
As she adjusts to her new responsibilities, she’s getting direction from a familiar face:
Her predecessor is fellow Keuka College adjunct instructor Dave Wall.
“He’s amazing,” she says. “It was nice to take the reins from somebody I know and I have respect for.”
Prof. Wall’s retirement began two weeks before Dr. Bastedo began at OCC, but he still manages to give his successor advice.
“Every Tuesday!” she says. “He still teaches here so he comes in and gives me pointers: ‘Sit back, watch and learn, follow your gut.’”
In fact, Dr. Bastedo – who earned both a master’s and doctorate degree from Minnesota’s Walden University – might not have added teaching to her resume were it not for a fortuitous Keuka College connection.
While attending a job fair to recruit for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office – from which she retired as a sergeant in 2018 after almost 22 years – she ran into Gary Prawel, then head of Keuka College’s adjunct program and the College’s director of public safety. Prof. Prawel was also in recruitment mode.
“We started chatting and she said, ‘What’s it take to be a faculty member?’” recalls Prof. Prawel, now an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice. “I said, ‘A great personality, knowledge of criminal justice, a master’s degree, and you have to convince me you should be there.’ She said, ‘I think I should be there; I have a master’s degree and I’m already teaching.’”
That was back in 2007 and she’s been doing it ever since.
‘Energy and Passion’
“Andrea has always brought a lot of energy and passion to the programs and her teaching,” says Dr. Rich Martin, associate professor of Criminal Justice & Leadership and the College’s program director of Criminal Justice. “Those are the things that can’t be taught to an instructor and are what make the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher.”
Great teacher, indeed. She was named the College’s Adjunct Instructor of the Year in 2015.
Dr. Bastedo credits her extensive classroom experience for giving her a leg up in transitioning to full-time campus safety.
“It’s helped tremendously,” she says. “As a police officer, you don’t know educational law. You don’t know Title IX and (the Clery Act). You don’t know the world of academia at all. But I teach adjunct at Keuka College and I’ve had mandatory training from the educational side.”
Dr. Bastedo also had about seven months of on-campus policing under her belt. She retired her sheriff’s job last September to join the Marcellus (N.Y.) Police Department as school resource officer for the Syracuse-area Lyncourt Union Free School District.
And she remains a commander overseeing special operations with the New York Air National Guard, where she holds the rank of lieutenant colonel.
One thing she does not plan on giving up is teaching for Keuka College.
“I couldn’t leave Rich!” she says with a laugh. “He’s great to work for and great to work with!”