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UAlbany Faculty Members Frank Vellutino and Trudi Jacobson Are Awarded Highest Academic Rank by SUNY Board of Trustees

Distinguished Librarian Trudi E. Jacobson is a national authority on information literacy. (Photo Mark Schmidt) 

Two University at Albany faculty members, Frank R. Vellutino and Trudi E. Jacobson, have been awarded the highest academic rank in the State University of New York system. Vellutino, a leader in reading education, has been named a Distinguished Professor; Jacobson, an authority on information literacy, has been named to the Distinguished Librarian rank. Vellutino, a professor of Educational Psychology and director of the Child Research and Study Center at UAlbany's School of Education, is known internationally for his seminal scholarship in the field of reading education and learning disabilities. Jacobson, head of user education programs in UAlbany's University Libraries, is nationally recognized for her scholarship in the field of information literacy instruction. 

Distinguished Professor Frank R. Vellutino

Distinguished Professor Frank R. Vellutino is known internationally for his scholarship on reading education and learning disabilities. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

They are two of 25 faculty members throughout the SUNY system recently designated as distinguished by the State University of New York Board of Trustees. To qualify for this award, individuals at SUNY campuses need to have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field.

“SUNY has now conferred its highest faculty honor upon more than 880 current and retired professors from across the system,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “In doing so, we proudly recognize the extraordinary achievements of our teachers, scholars, and mentors, all of whom serve as stellar examples of SUNY’s commitment to excellence.”

Robert Bangert-Drowns, dean of the School of Education, said, “To stand at the heart of a paradigm shift in your field is the mark of an extraordinary scholar. Over his 40-year career, Frank Vellutino has been a leader of several paradigm shifts. Dr. Vellutino’s work shaped – and continues to shape – the international discourse on literacy and its relationship to language and cognition, and his current work promises to spark a wholesale revolution in the way that education is conceived – putting the learner first, and adapting teaching so it is maximally effective for individual students.”

Vellutino joined the UAlbany faculty in 1966. His research has reframed the ways in which scholars, practitioners, and policy makers think about learning, literacy, and disability, and has attracted more than $16 million in grants from federal, state, and private sponsors. His book, Dyslexia: Theory and Research, is a classic in the field. He serves frequently as a consultant and adviser to education agencies and organizations. Vellutino was recently inducted into the International Reading Hall of Fame in recognition of his sustained contributions to the advancement of effective reading instruction. In addition to his scholarship, Vellutino is a valued teacher and mentor at UAlbany.

Jacobson is only the fourth librarian to be appointed to the Distinguished Librarian rank, which is awarded to librarians whose contributions have been transformational in creating a new information environment by providing access to information, sharing or networking information resources, and fostering information literacy. Meredith Butler, also from UAlbany, was the firs to be appointed to the rank.

Trudi’s appointment to the rank of Distinguished Librarian is richly deserved,” said Dean and Director of Libraries Mary F. Casserly. “Her theoretical and applied work in information literacy has earned her a national reputation as an authority on how individuals recognize the need for, find, evaluate, and use information. Trudi is also a very talented, innovative, and creative teacher and we could not ask for a more hardworking and generous colleague.” Casserly said Jacobson is only the fourth librarian ever to be appointed to this rank. Meredith Butler, also from UAlbany, was the first.

Jacobson joined the University at Albany library faculty in 1990, and is currently librarian and head of user education programs for the University Libraries. Jacobson is known nationally for her scholarship in the field of information literacy instruction. Her nine books and many journal articles serve as a history of the transformation of librarians as agents for the development of critical thinking, research, and lifelong learning skills. Her contributions to that movement are among her most important achievements because of their transformative impact on how academic librarianship is practiced today. Jacobson is the 2009 recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian of the Year, the highest honor conferred by the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. In addition to her research, Jacobson is a valued UAlbany instructor and colleague.

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