University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Part Time)

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Two faculty members received this tribute in 2011 for Excellence in Teaching (Part Time).

Barbara RioBarbara RioSocial Welfare

Barbara Rio has been a grounding influence for Social Welfare students for over a decade, teaching key courses in the major and serving as the main link to students’ field experiences. She is one of the first instructors students encounter and students and alumni regularly cite the lasting influence of her teaching on them. They praise her talent for blending support and challenge so that students can take appropriate risks as they learn. Ms. Rio is respected and liked by her students while holding them accountable for high standards.

Ms. Rio continually reflects on how to improve the quality of the curriculum, developing important improvements for her courses and those of her colleagues. She was instrumental in increasing student engagement by piloting Team Based Learning in her courses, and working with colleagues to implement this approach throughout the curriculum. She redesigned the undergraduate field seminar to increase its academic rigor, to unanimous acclaim by the faculty. She serves on many School and University committees and with community-based agencies, always with an eye toward supporting student learning. She plays the central role in orienting new instructors to the undergraduate curriculum, continually working to create community across courses in the major. She is a standard setter for excellence, a guide for students as they prepare for their community roles and an exceptional classroom teacher. Ms. Rio’s syllabi and teaching materials were key evidence to demonstrate how the School meets reaccreditation standards. Her courses show exemplary construction and sensitivity to students’ developmental capacities. They emphasize students’ potential to undertake critical thinking assignments and demonstrate respect for diverse points of view.

Ms. Rio consistently concerns herself with the intellectual, professional and personal growth of her students.

Excellence in Teaching (Part Time)

Craig Hancock Barbara Rio
Craig Hancock
Barbara Rio
Social Welfare

Students participate in more than 200 student clubs and honor societies, and enjoy a busy calendar of campus events.