UAlbany Honors Models of Public Engagement

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 25, 2016) – A professor inspiring generations of STEM researchers, a biologist leveraging his local farm to teach about sustainable agriculture, and social work students who help the underserved navigate the health care system are among this year’s recipients of the President’s Award for Exemplary Public Engagement.

The awards, presented by University at Albany President Robert J. Jones at a ceremony April 21 in the Performing Arts Center, honor individual projects and programs that have made exemplary contributions to addressing a significant social need and enhancing public well-being through community-engaged research, creative activity, teaching, academic study and/or public service. A photo gallery from the ceremony is available.

The 2016 recipients include:

  • John Delano – A Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences, Delano has worked throughout his academic career to bring emerging scientific research in astrobiology to community audiences, as well as to assist high school science teachers improve science instruction. Receiving a lifetime achievement award, Delano has inspired generations of STEM researchers.
  • Gary Kleppel – Biology Professor Gary Kleppel has been a long-standing advocate for sustainable agriculture and local food systems, strengthening UAlbany’s ties with the local agricultural community and using his own farm as a learning laboratory for students and community members.
  • UAlbany Navigators Program – The UAlbany Navigators are M.S.W. students working to address the health insurance needs of Capital Region residents by providing education and support for those navigating the complex health care system. They work one-on-one with community members, with particular emphasis on underserved communities, to assess needs and match them to an ideal and affordable health plan.
  • Schoharie Archaeological Field School – UAlbany and N.Y.S. Museum researchers are excavating an archaeological site in Central Bridge, N.Y., and have uncovered more than 350,000 artifacts that they have shared with the local community to educate about the area’s history and the importance of preserving cultural resources.
  • Fellowship on Women & Public Policy, Center for Women in Government & Civil Society – This 30-year fellowship program is dedicated to preparing the next generation of female public service leaders and creating a network of local women who are change agents in public policy and community well-being.

The awards were established by President Jones in 2013 to advance UAlbany’s progress as a community-engaged research university. Public engagement is a cornerstone of his vision in bringing UAlbany to the next level of excellence.

In 2015, with the appointment of Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler in the joint position as Dean of the School of Social Welfare and Vice Provost for Public Engagement, the Office for Public Engagement was created. Wheeler has transitioned the University's public engagement portfolio from a presidential initiative to a permanent component of the academic affairs portfolio in the Office of the Provost.

Under Dr. Wheeler's leadership, the public engagement staff, along with the President's Public Engagement Council, will continue to provide invaluable professional service in advancing the University's commitment to public engagement.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.