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 2011 for Excellence in Academic Service.
Alan Wagner, Educational Administration and Policy Studies
Service and generosity are the hallmarks of Professor Wagner’s professional life. He makes enormous contributions to his department, his School, the University and the community. As chair he never sought teaching reductions, engaging fully in the educational and research missions of his department and School. He has served as a core member of the Comparative and International Education Policy Program; spearheaded the solicitation and administration of two grants from the Ford Foundation totaling over $500,000; led the partial transfer of the University at Buffalo’s international higher education research program to UAlbany; served on the board of the Capital Area School Development Association; and brought the Secretariat of the Comparative and International Education Society to UAlbany—a feat which has brought international attention and prestige to our School of Education.
Professor Wagner is known as someone who genuinely cares about his students and his colleagues. He steps in to help whenever and wherever needed, no matter the cost to himself. Even as chair he routinely volunteered as interim advisor, taught extra classes, chaired dissertation committees and acted as extra reader for dissertation proposals. For his support of students, he has received a Disability Services Award from the Disability Resource Center. He serves on many prestigious advisory boards, among them the International Comparative Higher Education Finance and Accessibility Project, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, the World Bank’s Project on Lifelong Learning Policies in Latin America, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, and the UNESCO European Centre for Higher Education.
Not content with working internationally and locally, he worked with SUNY New Paltz to design a doctoral program for a region needing educational leaders. Its students are all now working in New York’s public educational institutions, a result only possible through Professor Wagner’s constant stewardship.
During these challenging times when too many people doubt the returns-on-investment of public universities, we cannot exaggerate the importance of engaged scholars whose service is informed by, and contributes to, knowledge development in the service of humankind. Alan Wagner is an exemplary engaged scholar: he is the example of a servant leader. It is this leadership philosophy which makes him a worthy recipient of this award.