Faculty Opportunities

Faculty Engagement Programs

We offer a variety of programs that engage our students and faculty, both inside and outside the classroom. Learn how you can get involved.


Food for Finals

We partner with Student Affairs and University Auxiliary Services to offer students a special meal served by faculty, staff and administrators before finals begin. We encourage students to take a study break and connect with their campus community to discuss helpful study tips and receive words of encouragement. 

Every year, we witness firsthand just how appreciative students are of having our campus community there for encouragement and support as they prepare for their final exams. 

We offer the following each semester:

Fall Semester features faculty, staff and administrator "celebrity servers" in residential dining halls serving up Late Night Breakfast.

Spring Semester features "celebrity servers" on the Academic Podium for a Late Night BBQ the night before final exams begin.

Faculty & Staff Advisor Program

Student organizations are required to have an advisor and we encourage faculty and staff to consider being an advisor for the various student organizations on our campus. 

Host a Peer Educator

First-Year Experience faculty can nominate a promising student to serve as their peer educator or request that a peer educator be randomly assigned to them. In either instance, faculty must tell Student Engagement in the spring that they would like to work with a peer educator during the fall.

Torch Award for Transformational Teaching

Torch Night originated as the Torch Light Ceremony and Procession, and dates to the 1930s. We began recognizing outstanding teaching at the Torch Night Ceremony in the 1990s. When we established Student Engagement, the process of selecting the Torch Award Professor was revised to reflect a broader student nomination process and the winner is now chosen by an elite group of prior Torch Award faculty.

Faculty are nominated by graduating seniors who have made a positive impact on their academic and personal success and nominate and one is selected to be the Torch Professor. This award culminates in both the student and faculty member being introduced at a reception in April and recognized during May Commencement Weekend.

Nominations include a description of the level of engagement between a faculty and student and the impact they’ve made during a student’s undergraduate career. We consider all types of academic engagement (e.g., faculty that work with students in classes, labs, independent research projects, within their major and as thesis advisors.)


Faculty Torch Award Recipients
2023Ray Van Ness, Management
2022Jeffrey Berman, English
2021Samantha Friedman, Sociology
2020Julie Novkov, Political Science
2019Susanna Fessler, East Asian Studies
2018Victor Asal, Political Science
2017Sheri Stevens, Social Welfare
2016Shawn Jasinski, Writing and Critical Inquiry
2015David Smith, Finance
2014Seth Chaiken, Computer Science (Retired)
2013James Lilley, English
2012Melinda Larsen, Biology
2011Katy Gonder, Biology (Former Employee)
2010Jeffrey Haugaard, Honors College, Counseling Psychology (Retired)
2009Christopher Fernando, Student Support Services (Former Employee)
2008Rachael Harris, Judaic Studies (Former Employee)
2007John Delano, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences (Retired)
2006Jeanette Altarriba, Psychology
2005Maurice Richter, Sociology (Retired)
2004John Levato, Massry School of Business (Deceased)
2003Anne Hildreth, Political Science (Retired)
2002Rabi Musah, Chemistry
1996Richard Hamm, History
Spark Award for First Year Experience Teaching

Those who teach first year students take on a special duty to not just teach, but to help students grow in new directions, discover the excitement of learning, and develop the skills needed to be successful at UAlbany and in life. FYE faculty don't just teach - they nurture, motivate, advise, connect with, and support new students. The Spark Award for First Year Experience Teaching recognizes those who go above and beyond traditional teaching to light a spark in students: one that ignites their passion for learning and academic excellence. 

The Spark Award is an opportunity for new students to recognize a faculty member who has had a positive and significate impact on their transition to UAlbany and has helped them develop into a successful student.


Faculty Spark Award Recipients
2023Eve Baldwin, Writing and Critical Inquiry


How to Get Involved

Would you like to teach a first-year experience course or start a Living-Learning Community for your department? There are many opportunities for faculty to get involved with First-Year Experience.


A faculty member teaches students outside

Get Involved

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with our team.

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