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Faculty/Staff News

By Carol Olechowski

UAlbany Promotions and Appointments

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carlos Santiago has announced the promotions of Bruce Szelest and Suzanne Phillips.

Suzanne Phillips
Suzanne Phillips
Bruce Szelest
Bruce Szelest

Following a national search, Szelest (B.A. ’86, M.P.A. ’89, C.A.S. ’95, Ph.D. ’03), formerly associate director of UAlbany’s Office of Institutional Research, has been promoted to assistant vice president for Strategic Planning and Assessment. In this capacity, Szelest serves as a senior adviser to the Provost in the areas of academic management, evaluation, and planning. In announcing the appointment, Santiago said, “The vice presidents and deans are absolutely delighted to have Dr. Szelest engaged in this new role and campus position. The University will operate in a difficult fiscal and planning environment for the foreseeable future, and Bruce’s extensive experience and expertise in supporting campus-wide decision and policy-making will be invaluable to our collective efforts in these critical areas. I have also asked Bruce to spearhead the development of a comprehensive, campus-wide assessment plan that will complement and enhance the value of ongoing faculty and staff activities targeted at improving teaching, learning, support services, and the overall collegiate experience of our students.”

Phillips has been promoted to the position of director of Academic Advisement to lead the activities of the Advisement Services Center and to provide overall expertise and direction in the delivery of academic advisement University-wide.

Santiago said, “Sue Phillips emerged as the strongest candidate following a national search for someone to continue the progress we’ve made in Advisement Services. Sue’s knowledge of the best practices in academic advisement puts her among the leaders in this field. Her depth of knowledge about the University at Albany’s academic programs and support systems, including the new IAS student records system, means we have an extraordinarily capable individual in place.”

For five years prior to this appointment, Phillips served as associate director in Advisement Services. Before that, she was director of the University in the High School Program, and assistant to the chair in the Department of Economics. Phillips joined the University in 1992.

The director of Academic Advisement has responsibility for: leadership of all aspects of the Advisement Services Center; coordination with all academic units and several administrative offices to ensure the integrated delivery of advisement on the campus; and outreach and education to the University on the optimal provision of academic advisement.

The Advisement Services Center provides academic advisement to approximately 5,000 first- and second-year students, while the remaining 7,000 students are advised by departmental faculty and professional staff.

Elena Nelson
Elena Nelson
Adrienne Bonilla
Adrienne Bonilla

Interim Vice President for Research Jeryl L. Mumpower recently announced that Adrienne Bonilla and Elena Nelson have joined the Research Division. Bonilla and Nelson are located in the Office for Sponsored Programs, MSC 312.

As the new director of Research Compliance, Bonilla is responsible for ensuring the University maintains a coordinated compliance assurance system for human subjects and animal research. She also serves as the research integrity officer and HIPAA privacy officer. Bonilla earned a bachelor’s degree from Empire State College and a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School of Union University. She formerly worked at UAlbany as a purchasing assistant in Sponsored Funds Purchasing and as a financial manager in the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. More recently, she was associate for University Financial Analysis at System Administration.

Nelson has joined the University as a Research administrator. Her primary responsibility is to assist campus researchers in the submission of research proposals and administration of awards. Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Juris Doctor from New York Law School. More recently, she was employed by Trustco Bank as trust manager. Prior to that, she worked as a development manager with the New York City Bar Association.

Faculty/ Staff

Victoria Rizzo
Victoria Rizzo

In response to the tremendous growth in the population of Americans 65 and older, gerontology has become an increasingly important field within social work. As Executive Director of the Elder Network for the Capital Region in the School of Social Welfare, Victoria Rizzo, Ph.D., has been actively involved in efforts to promote government funding opportunities for social work research on aging. On March 11, Rizzo participated in the 10th anniversary of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research on Capitol Hill, where chosen social work researchers presented posters. Members of Congress, Congressional staff, federal staff, and representatives of national organizations as well as social work leaders viewed the posters. The social work poster session highlighted important studies that have been conducted in the search for more effective and efficient care for our vulnerable populations. Rizzo was one of 12 social work researchers chosen to represent the profession at the national level.

In her presentation with co-author Jeannine Rowe, M.S.W., Rizzo summarized the findings of a comprehensive literature review of social work studies over the last 15 years that have examined the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of social work services for those 65 and older. Her findings indicate there is clear empirical support that social work interventions play an important role in lowering the costs of health care and improving the quality of life for seniors. The review provided strong support for a reexamination of the current reimbursement structures under Medicare and Medicaid, since they currently fail to sufficiently fund social work services for either caregiver or care recipient. As part of her advocacy role, Rizzo called on social work journals to include cost-effectiveness as part of their intervention research agenda.

Professor Edward Turner of the Department of Mathematics is organizing two conferences this year, both supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the areas of combinatorial and geometric group theory. The 2004 Albany Group Theory Conference, part of an annual series since 1989, will be held Columbus Day weekend, October 8-10, at the Rensselaerville Institute. Seven distinguished group theorists will present hour-long lectures and 20 or 25 brief talks will be presented by others. This conference, typically with about 80 participants, has developed into one of the premier conferences in the world in this area. Information, when available, will be posted on the conference Web site

This year Turner has also organized an NSF-CBMS Regional Research Conference in the Mathematical Sciences to be held August 15-20 at the Rensselaerville Institute. The CBMS (Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences) program, funded by the NSF, sponsors a week-long series of lectures by a leader in a particular subject with the expressed intention of training young investigators in the field. There are four such conferences nationally this year. Professor Martin Bridson of Imperial College London (recently of Princeton and Oxford), will lecture on Non-positive Curvature in Group Theory. About 50 participants are expected. Information is available at the conference Web site http://math.

Professor of Philosophy Bonnie Steinbock is co-organizer and speaker at a conference on human cloning in San Francisco, Calif., May 24-26. She is chairing a panel on reproductive cloning and giving a presentation on “Choosing Our Children’s Genes.” Cloning is said to be the gateway to genetic interventions and enhancement.

Ballard Awarded Honorary Degree

Allen B. Ballard received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.Allen B. Ballard, professor of history and Africana studies at the University at Albany, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters on April 15 from Kenyon College of Gambier, Ohio. Ballard was one of the first two students to integrate Kenyon College in 1952, where he served as class president and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of Kenyon College’s undefeated football team in 1952. Ballard spent a year in France on a Fulbright Fellowship, served a two-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army, and earned a doctorate in Soviet politics from Harvard University.

Ballard has published two non-fiction books, The Education of Black Folk (Harper and Row, 1973) and One More Day’s Journey: The Story of a Family and a People (McGraw-Hill, 1984). His articles have appeared in scholarly and popular publications, including The New York Times. His first novel Where I’m Bound was published by Simon and Schuster in 2000, and is now available in paperback.