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News Release

UAlbany Honors Three Distinguished Professors

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980 

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 23, 2003) - The State University of New York Board of Trustees has named three University at Albany faculty members to the rank of Distinguished Professor, a designation for eminent faculty in the SUNY system. Steven Messner and Stephen North were named distinguished teaching professors. John Pipkin was named a distinguished service professor. Both titles are a full rank above that of full professor.

The Distinguished Teaching Professorship honors and recognizes outstanding teaching. To be appointed to this prestigious rank, candidates must have a record of consistently superior performance in each criterion for selection for the rank: mastery of teaching skills (teaching techniques), scholarship and professional growth, student services, and academic standards and requirements and evaluation of student performance.

Messner has been on the UAlbany faculty since 1982. A professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, his research has focused on the relationship between social organizations and crime, with a particular emphasis on criminal homicide. In addition to having published more than 60 articles in professional journals, Messner is co-author of Crime and the American Dream, and Perspectives on Crime and Deviance. He is recognized as one of the nation's leading authorities in crossnational studies of violent crime. He received the University's Excellence in Teaching award in 1992 and the Excellence in Research award in 1996. Messner earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

North graduated from UAlbany in 1979 and joined the English Department faculty in 1981. He was promoted to associate professor in 1987 and to professor in 1998. He views himself as a "teacher of writing and a teacher of teachers of writing." His teaching experiences are extremely varied, from one-on-one tutoring in the Writing Center through course work at the graduate level. Known as a nationally visible scholar in the fields of rhetoric, composition and literacy studies, North has published two books, seven book chapters and 15 articles in refereed journals. His first book, The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field, was published in 1987 and is required reading in graduate writing programs across the country.

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service. Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service not only at the campus and the State University, but also at the community, regional and State levels. Further, many candidates for appointment to the rank have rendered influential service contributing at the national and international levels.

Pipkin was named a Collins Fellow in 2001. His years at UAlbany have been distinguished by service in many administrative positions and volunteer capacities. He chaired the Department of Geography and Planning from 1983 to 1986 and, in 1992, was appointed to the faculty of the Ph.D. program in Information Science. He also served as dean of Undergraduate Studies and associate vice president for Academic Affairs 1995 to 1999. Pipkin received his bachelor and master's degrees at the University of Sheffield in his native England, then earned his M.S. and his Ph.D. at Northwestern. Pipkin, whose research interests include urban, economic, and transportation geography and urban design, has also written or co-authored numerous books, book chapters, and reports.

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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