Excellence in Academic Service
Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. One faculty member received this tribute in 2009 for Excellence in Academic Service.
Serge Oktyabrsky, 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.