University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Full 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. Five faculty members received this tribute in 2013 for Excellence in Teaching (Full Time).

Katherine Van AckerKatherine Van Acker, English

Katherine Van Acker has taught in the Journalism program since 2002 and developed a wide variety of courses. Her teaching is an essential component in the photography in both the Journalism and Documentary Studies curricula.

In all of her courses, Ms. Van Acker raises ethical and other issues that photographers regularly face. Her aim is not just to teach hands-on photography skills, but to give students a context that will sustain them for their entire career. She ensures that students learn to embrace the hard questions, and at the same time remain sensitive to individual differences that exist in a multi–cultural society.

Ms. Van Acker takes the time to conduct individual conferences with her students, meeting them where they are and then spurring them on to higher levels of performance. Students praise her knowledge, professionalism, and high standards. Most of all, they are impressed with her passionate belief in them as individuals, and with her tireless encouragement to work hard for success.

She has achieved a reputation as a challenging but very fair instructor who will work diligently to help her students, and whose enthusiasm for photo-journalism is contagious. She asks her students to produce a multi-media project nearly every week—a very ambitious schedule of assignments—and then she works actively with them to ensure they can pull it off.

Former students are grateful to Ms. Van Acker for teaching them the most modern technology and the skills they actually needed when they got out into the field. They report that their own investigative reporting is inspired by Ms. Van Acker's sense of ethics. They each say that the rigorous preparation she provided, and the independence and creativity she fostered as they prepared projects has had a lasting impact on their personal and career success.

Excellence in Teaching (Full Time)

Rita Biswas Ryan King MArcia Sutherland Katherine Van Acker Shu-Han Yeh
Rita Biswas
Ryan King
Marcia Sutherland
Africana Studies
Katherine Van Acker
Shu-Han Yeh
East Asian Languages and Cultures

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