Excellence Awards

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Eighteen faculty and staff members received this tribute in 2009.


Excellence in Teaching (Full Time)

Mary CorriganMary Corrigan, Social Welfare

Dr. Mary Corrigan has been a staff associate and assistant dean in the School of Social Welfare since 2004. As part of her assignment, she teaches courses, advises students, serves as liaison with agencies that host Social Welfare internships, and assists instructors with teaching, technology, and curricular development. Prior to her current assignment, Dr. Corrigan taught occasional courses as a part-time lecturer and it was her success with those courses that figured centrally in her appointment as assistant dean. Colleagues describe Dr. Corrigan as an excellent instructor who teaches both popular and unpopular courses at beginning and advanced levels of the MSW program. Her courses include introductory research and evaluation of clinical practice (dreaded by many students), the two semester sequence in micropractice, and an advanced clinical practice course in crisis intervention. All her syllabi are well-constructed, demanding, yet engaging. She uses a variety of in-class exercises, videos, and group projects. Dr. Corrigan's student ratings are well above average, even for the least popular research course. Most are in the top third of the School's courses and on several occasions her class was the top-rated class. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Corrigan is a popular advisor because of the time and care she takes with students. She also contributes in important ways to curricular reform, conducting an informal, voluntary monthly teaching seminar attended by junior faculty and part-time lecturers. Each session has a topic and suggested readings focused on issues instructors are currently facing. For her multifaceted contribution to fine teaching, we are pleased to present a 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching to Dr. Mary Corrigan.

Mitchell EarleywineMitchell Earleywine, Psychology

Professor Mitchell Earleywine joined UAlbany as an associate professor of psychology in 2005. He was formerly on the faculty at the University of Southern California where he received 13 awards for his teaching. In the brief time he has been at UAlbany he has been recognized four times by the campus chapter of Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology for excellence in teaching, student advisement, mentoring, and for fostering student research and scholarly achievement. His nominator for this award describes him as "an exceptional teacher who is greatly appreciated and respected by his undergraduate and doctoral student... [someone who] is passionate about teaching, inspires students to excel, and goes above and beyond normative expectations for the profession." Professor Earleywine teaches both undergraduate and doctoral courses. He views teaching as an inherently interactive process, emphasizing the importance of communication and feedback between the teacher and student. He is flexible in his teaching methods, equally effective delivering a lecture to 400 students as he is leading a small research seminar. His student course evaluations are consistently in the "superior" category, and students routinely describe his classes as "awesome" and "the best class I've ever taken." A respected scholar and prolific writer, Dr. Earleywine is widely known for his research on drug abuse and serves on several advisory and editorial boards. A graduate student writing in support of this nomination comments "It was my interaction with Dr. Earleywine that forged my decision to attend UAlbany in the first place. His excitement and open-mindedness were immediately apparent." It is a great pleasure to recognize an outstanding teacher and mentor in presenting the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching to Dr. Mitchell Earleywine.

Ingrid FisherIngrid Fisher, Accounting and Law

Professor Ingrid Fisher began her career at UAlbany as a student and then progressed through a series of part-time and full-time academic roles culminating in her current appointment as a tenured Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Accounting and Law. She has been teaching in the accounting program since 1985. In the years since, with one exception, she has taught at one time or another every undergraduate course in the accounting program and six different graduate courses. Professor Fisher is widely recognized as a highly versatile, creative, and dedicated instructor, a scholar/teacher who is deeply committed to students. She is equally at home and effective with large and small classes, and she has been successful in incorporating into her courses new digital techniques and delivery technologies as these have developed over the past two decades. She has developed new courses in response to changes in the profession as well as institutional needs for writing intensive and honors instruction. She has also created opportunities to involve students in her research specialization, which blends information retrieval and digital documents with accounting standards. In addition to outstanding course evaluations, Dr. Fisher is admired and respected for her availability and devotion to students, who are her highest priority. She is a frequent invited speaker to student groups, and served for ten years as the faculty advisor for the Albany chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting fraternity; under her guidance the chapter moved from near probation to the status of "superior" chapter. We are delighted to recognize this exceptional record of accomplishment with the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Aida Torres-HewittAida Torres-Hewitt, Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Dr. Aida Torres-Hewitt has been teaching in the Spanish program of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures since 2001. She has offered courses on the literature of Spain, the literature of Latin America, and women's writing. She also mentors students and regularly offers independent studies. In addition to teaching two upper-level courses each semester, Dr. Torres-Hewitt oversees the teaching of more than 200 high school Spanish teachers who offer UAlbany language instruction for college credit through the University in the High School Program, work that involves visiting approximately 100 classrooms annually across New York State. So her impact is truly substantial, affecting the lives of many hundreds of students each year. Dr. Torres-Hewitt is described by her colleagues as a gifted teacher, who loves people, especially young people, someone who cares deeply about developing their skills as deep readers and critical thinkers. Teaching is her calling. They offer a picture of a faculty member walking back to her office after a class, in the midst of a bevy of students, laughing, discussing ideas that have spilled out from the classroom into the corridor and, finally into her office, which often looks more like a physician's office with patients lining the corridor waiting to see her. Dr. Torres-Hewitt will listen to them all and offer wise words of encouragement. We welcome the opportunity to recognize and honor this outstanding example of effectiveness and commitment to a central aspect of the University's mission by presenting the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching to Dr. Aida Torres-Hewitt.


Excellence in Teaching (Teaching Assistant)

Elise Bouhet, French Studies

Elise Bouhet has been a TA in the French studies program for four years. She has taught all levels of beginning and intermediate French and completed a teaching practicum in which she participated in all aspects of FRE355, Contemporary French Society and Culture. She has consistently provided an exceptional learning experience for undergraduate students both inside and outside the classroom. Ms. Bouhet's effectiveness is reflected in her exceptional SIRF ratings, which have been consistently above the departmental average, even in her first year of teaching. She routinely receives perfect or near perfect scores for four evaluation items including "Communicated course content in ways you understood," "Well-prepared for class," "Receptive to students' ideas and viewpoints," and "Instructor, overall." Ms. Bouhet is described by her faculty mentors as a natural teacher who combines sound pedagogical instincts, a warm classroom presence and a good sense of humor to provide instruction that is both pedagogically sound, intellectually stimulating, and enjoyable. She shows creativity in designing culturally rich, contextualized exams, and in creating podcasts that bring various aspects of French vocabulary and grammar to often hilarious life. Outside the classroom she has been active in the activities of the Francophone House and co-organizer of the Department's international film series. Her nominator notes that Ms. Bouhet has increasingly become the example that other TAs are encouraged to follow. We are pleased to present this years President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant to Ms. Elise Bouhet.

Kristy Thacker, Social Psychology

Kristy Thacker is a candidate for the doctoral degree in social psychology. She was a teaching assistant for six sections of upper-level writing intensive psychology courses, serving approximately 75% of the students enrolled in such courses in Psychology over a two-year period. In all, she worked with four different professors in three different courses, none of which were in Ms. Thacker's specialization. Thus, she had to master the literature for these courses in addition to assisting students with their written assignments. Ms. Thacker has also been the instructor of record for four courses, including Statistical Methods and Experimental Psychology, two of the Department's most challenging required courses, each with minimum grades for admission to the major. By all accounts she has performed in a superb fashion in all of these assignments. Her student course evaluations are the highest in the Department of Psychology for doctoral students and teaching assistants. Psychology faculty also praise her versatility and her ability to teach both large and small classes. Her syllabi are well organized and her lectures are engaging and insightful. She is generous with her time outside of class, often holding extended office hours. As a doctoral candidate, Ms. Thacker has published in peer-reviewed journals and is active in professional societies. We are delighted to recognize this record of outstanding accomplishment with the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant.


Excellence in Research

Laurie FeldmanLaurie Feldman, Psychology

Professor Laurie Feldman is Professor of Psychology in the cognitive doctoral program in the Psychology Department. She joined the University in 1990.

Professor Feldman's research focuses on language processing, in particular, how the morphological structure of English differs from other languages and how these differences affect language comprehension and production. She investigates morphological issues with native speakers (adults and children) and non-native adult speakers. Another aspect of her research is how native and nonnative speakers understand language produced by someone whose accent is different than their own.

She has published an edited book, 50 peer-reviewed articles and 25 book chapters. Many of these were co-authored by her doctoral students, and many published in the premier journals of her discipline. Her work is frequently cited by other scholars and is an internationally sought after speaker. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Society. In the words of her nominator, Laurie Feldman is a "superb social scientist and an internationally recognized scholar in the psychology of language."

Alan LizotteAlan Lizotte, Criminal Justice

Professor Alan Lizotte, Professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Director of the Hindelang Center since 1984, has had a tremendous influence on the field of criminology through his work on delinquency, gun violence, and criminal justice system processes. He was one of the founding investigators of the Rochester Youth Development Study project, one of the most significant longitudinal social science studies of juvenile delinquency in the world, attracting over $20 million in external funding. He is the author of more than 25 publications resulting from that project alone and his scholarship has been cited over 1600- times, based on a Google scholar analysis. He is an executive board member of the American Society on Criminology.

Professor Lizotte's research focuses on the causes and consequences of delinquency, especially over the adolescent life-course. He also researches patterns of ownership and use of firearms, patterns of illegal gun carrying, the role of guns in gang behavior, sentencing for firearms offenses, and the effectiveness of gun control.

Professor Lizotte's reputation as a scholar has been an important factor in the ranking of the School of Criminal Justice and the attraction of talented young scholars to the School. In the words of his nominator, "Alan Lizotte's, "impressive body of work ... [that is] widely read and serves as the foundation for new researc ...Alan Lizotte has a sterling national and international reputation as a scholar."

Philip McCallionPhilip McCallion, Social Welfare

Professor Philip McCallion, joined the University in 1994 in the School of Social Welfare. He currently serves as Director of three organized research units: the Institute for Social Services Research and Development; the Center on Child Welfare, Drug Addiction and Intergenerational Risk (CWDAIR); and the Center for Excellence in Aging Services.

Professor McCallion's research on dementia and aging is described by his nominator as "pathbreaking", and constitutes one of the most significant arenas for scholarly contributions in gerontology. His scholarly efforts infuse an intergenerational perspective on many aspects of aging and disabilities. Professor McCallion was the first gerontologist to study grandparents as primary caregivers for their grandchildren; this work garnered national attention and informed innovative social services to support these families. He has also studied dementia, informing effective services for this growing population.

Professor McCallion has received funding totaling over $15 million dollars in federal and foundation grants. He has been named a Hartford National Scholar (2000) and a Hartford National Mentor (2003) by the Hartford Foundation's national social work gerontology initiative. In the words of his nominator, Professor McCallion is a, "gifted scholar" who "epitomizes the 21st century researcher who embraces research excellence at all levels."

Serge OktyabrskySerge Oktyabrsky, NanoScience Constellation

Professor Serge Oktyabrsky, is a member of the NanoScience Constellation at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). Professor Oktyabrsky is a highly accomplished researcher who studies the science and technology of semiconductors and other electronic materials and devices in imaginative ways. He joined the University's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in 1998. Professor Oktyabrsky's cutting-edge research program includes novel photonic and optoelectronic semiconductor structures with quantum confinement, novel material systems for high speed low power digital electronics, novel nanoscale electronic devices. He is internationally known in the materials science and electrical engineering scientific communities.

Professor Oktyabrsky has published over 170 articles in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings; his work is highly cited by other researchers, over 750 times, ranking in the top 10% of his field. He has been principal investigator for research grants totaling more than $6 million over the past 10 years, including grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. In the words of his nominator, Professor Oktyabrsky is one of the few materials scientists, "who has had such a level of success in combing fundamental science and applied technology."


Excellence in Academic Service

Kwadwo Sarfoh
Kwadwo Sarfoh
, Africana Studies

Since his arrival in 1978, Professor Sarfoh has made an enormous contribution to the Department of Africana Studies, to the larger University, and to the Capital District community. His steady leadership has sustained a small department and contributed to the development of innovative projects that have provided students with unique academic opportunities and linked the university with the community in important new ways. He has accomplished all this with uncommon humility and modesty, without ever drawing attention to himself, and without expecting any recognition. Put simply, Professor Sarfoh is a quintessential University citizen.

Remarkably, Professor Sarfoh has held a significant leadership role in each of his more than 30 years at the University, either as chair or acting chair (15 years), associate chair (one year), or director of graduate studies (16 years). He has always served with great sensitivity to students, and to the needs of his faculty colleagues, a quality that also distinguishes his service on many College and University committees. His frequent invitations to participate in critical assignments are a reflection of the respect and value faculty and administrators have for his knowledge, experience, and judgment.

In addition, Professor Sarfoh has made substantial contributions to co-curricular initiatives both within the campus and in the larger Capital Region community. These activities are often an extension of his great passion to promote knowledge and awareness of, as well as connections to Africa. His efforts have been instrumental, indeed essential for UAlbany's student delegation to the annual Model Organization of African Unity held at Howard University, for summer field courses in Ghana, for opening up study abroad opportunities with South African universities, and for instruction in African languages. As Vice Chair of the Africa Consortium, he has helped to forge connections between faculty and graduate students across the University concerned with African issues, and particularly to sustain a dialogue about African–based community projects developed in the School of Social Welfare and the School of Public Health. He was a key organizer of the Consortium's recent conference held on campus, which featured research papers delivered by students, scholars, and interested community members.

The University is extremely fortunate to have a scholar/teacher with Professor Sarfoh's dedication and commitment to work consistently as an agent for positive change in bringing the world within reach. In recognition of his outstanding achievement in service, as well as his extraordinary example as a faculty leader, we are pleased to present the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Academic Service to Professor Kwadwo Sarfoh.


Excellence in Professional Service

Janice BoganJanice Bogan, Division of Research

Over the past 15 years Ms. Bogan has demonstrated a high level of commitment and impact at the University, most recently as Assistant to the Vice President for Research. In this role, she serves as primary fiscal officer for the University's Division of Research, managing the Division's finances including seed, bridge, and match funding for faculty and student research. She also provides staff support for the University Senate's Council on Research and works with Division staff to organize an annual research colloquium and other sponsored research events. Ms. Bogan came to her current position after receiving a bachelor's degree in business education and a master's degree in guidance and counseling, and serving in a series of appointments in financial aid services. She first joined the UAlbany staff in 1994, as assistant director of financial aid. She moved to the Office of the Vice President for Research in 2001. Her responsibilities bring her into contact with many university constituencies and require high levels of judgment, diplomacy and skill. She is diligent and highly productive in her core work assignment. She is also the team leader for many special projects, planning and managing events. She contributes to the University beyond her assigned duties, serving often on search committees and special task forces and councils, always with dedication, integrity, and collegiality. We are delighted to present Ms. Janice Bogan with the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Winifred KutchukianWinifred Kutchukian, University Libraries

Ms. Winifred Kutchukian is a part–time instructional support assistant assigned to the University Libraries' interlibrary borrowing unit where she provides critical service in coordinating and processing a very large volume of requests for research materials not available in the University's collection. Winnie is an alumna of UAlbany, and throughout her 18 years with the Libraries she has served in a variety of roles and functions. Her colleagues know her as a very dedicated and thoughtful professional who has well developed customer services abilities and a broad knowledge of interlibrary loan trends and issues. She works to find solutions, resolve issues, and strengthen the ability of the Libraries to achieve excellence in interlibrary loan operations. Her many suggestions for expediting interlibrary loan requests have enabled the Libraries truly to put global resources within easy reach of students and faculty in a timely and expeditious manner. The high quality of her work has directly enhanced the Libraries reputation for service and as one of the top 100 research libraries in the U.S. In addition to her notable performance in her core assignment, Ms. Kutchukian is valued for her service on many committees, task forces, and special project initiatives. Her talents have particularly benefited the Libraries Diversity Committee. We take great pride in recognizing Ms. Winifred Kutchukian as an exemplary member of the professional staff and one of the 2009 recipients of the President's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Corinna Ripps Schaming, Art Museum

Ms. Corinna Ripps Schaming is also an alumna of UAlbany. She began her professional career here in 1979, as a part–time technician with what was then called the University Art Gallery. Following a break in service from 1984 to 1994, she returned to the University as a part–time Assistant to the Director of the University Art Museum. She was promoted to Associate Director and Curator in 2002. Ms. Schaming has oversight of museum exhibitions, publications, communications, special events and public programming. These are core museum functions, central to the museum's standing in the field, and important contributions to the university's educational program and value as a regional cultural resource. Ms. Schaming's efforts have been instrumental, particularly in recent years, in attracting artists of international reputation to the campus and in increasing national visibility for the Museum's exhibition program. She initially developed the very popular Art and Culture Talks or ACT Program, which brings high caliber visiting artists, critics, writers, and scholars to the University. Her efforts were recognized this past year in the award of a substantial grant, the largest in the museum's history, from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; this support will help to sustain a vibrant program focused on contemporary art over the next several years. We are pleased to celebrate these outstanding accomplishments by presenting Ms. Corinna Ripps Schaming with the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Beth QuackenbushBeth Quackenbush, Telecommunications

Ms. Quackenbush has contributed to the University over more than two decades through a series of assignments with the SUNY Research Foundation, culminating in her most recent appointment as Research Administrator in UAlbany's Office for Sponsored Programs. In this role she is responsible for managing a large portfolio of grant and contract applications and awards, for negotiating awards and agreements, and for facilitating the administration of grants by keeping faculty advised of sponsor and institutional policies and procedures. After earning her B.S. in economics, Ms. Quackenbush was initially appointed to a series of clerk titles at SUNY Central Administration, leading ultimately to her first professional position in 1996, as a Grant Administrator on the UAlbany campus. She served briefly in 1998 as Project Staff Assistant with the SUNY Center for Academic and Workforce Development, returning to UAlbany in 1999 as a Research Administrator. Several have observed that the mix of perspectives Ms. Quackenbush acquired in these different positions contributes to her effectiveness in her present post, in which she serves approximately 120 faculty members appointed to departments and research centers associated with UAlbany's College of Arts and Sciences, together with other University–wide institutes. These faculty members generate approximately 150 grant applications and receive approximately 100 awards annually, comprising 20% of the campus's total submissions and awards. Appreciation for an uncommonly strong professional service ethic comes through in all the commentary accompanying this nomination. In addition, Ms. Quackenbush is praised for her consummate professional skill, patience, organization, and calm grace under pressure. We are pleased to recognize this extraordinary contribution with the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.


Excellence in Support Service

Julie Deden, Registrar

Since her initial appointment in 2003, Ms. Julie Deden has been an eager learner, a hard worker, a cheerful colleague, and an excellent, customer-oriented member of the enrollment management team in the Registrar's Office. She interacts with visitors on the telephone and in person, projecting a caring and positive attitude to all who contact the office and providing excellent assistance. She is particularly valued for her ability to sense when it may be appropriate to make exceptions to standard procedures and refer students to those authorized to exercise discretion. Ms. Deden is responsible for all official student folders, including the files for currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students; those in storage in the sub-basement for students not currently in attendance; and those from before 1987 — in total more than 110,000 folders! She adds new documents, keeps folders up–to–date and retrieves them for customers needing them. Ms. Deden supervises several work-study students, developing an extraordinary rapport with each student. Even after students leave the University, many keep in touch with her. Her sense of humor and upbeat personality make Ms. Deden a major contributor to staff morale. She is the first to volunteer — filling in for absences, helping in other functions during periods of peak demand, and taking on new tasks. As a result, she has become a resource for every support staff function in the Registrar's Office. We take great pride in presenting the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Support Service to Ms. Julie Deden.

Suzanne Peplowski, Payroll

Ms. Suzanne Peplowski has worked as a Calculations Clerk in the University's payroll office for 30 years, but her service to her colleagues, customers and the University as a whole is broader than this title implies. Ms. Peplowski routinely goes beyond expectations for her position to learn information in complex new areas. Her colleagues and customers rely on her advice and insight on payroll issues, drawing especially on her extraordinary expertise in such varied areas as HR rules and policies, retroactive pay changes, reimbursements for health insurance and pensions, Union Labor benefits, reconciliations of audit reports, tax rules on withholding and exemptions, and tax treaties with foreign countries. She regularly fields complex financial questions from anxious customers with aplomb and a smile, returning answers promptly and accurately–and earning high praise and gratitude in the process. Colleagues, customers and supervisors value her ability to listen, understand a question no matter how indirect, and provide an answer that makes sense to all involved. Outside the parameters of her position, Ms. Peplowski serves the University and her community with extensive volunteerism. She is appreciated by her colleagues, friends and neighbors as a person who can be depended upon in difficult circumstances. Ms. Peplowski's willingness to take time to show kindness to customers and neighbors make the University and our community a better place. We honor these important qualities in presenting the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Support Service to Ms. Suzanne Peplowski.

Rebecca SalinasRebecca Salinas, Media and Marketing

Ms. Rebecca Salinas has worked as secretary in the Office of Media and Marketing since 2001. The hallmark of her professional work is her strength at analyzing existing practices in order to develop new ones that result in greater efficiency and better business practices. Ms. Salinas embraces change, excels at solving nagging problems and gets to the bottom of complex issues, developing new, streamlined results. She is a "self-starter" who enjoys problem-solving for her unit. For example, she solved the problem of communicating findings on the US Census and Hispanic population trends to Hispanic print, radio and television media by traveling to NY City and translating a presentation, resulting in front page coverage in several national and international Hispanic media outlets. She worked with several units on campus and with external contractors to implement the campus entryway signs that advertise key events on campus and to upgrade the Carillon so that it could serve as a public emergency address system. She learned how to program these systems and taught her colleagues how to use them. Ms. Salinas also takes pride in the UAlbany campus, and spends much time volunteering on projects that enhance its visibility and value to the public. Colleagues from across the campus remark on her generous contributions to UAlbany. We are pleased to celebrate this outstanding record of accomplishment by presenting the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Support Service to Ms. Rebecca Salinas.


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