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Earleywine, Sarfoh Win Chancellor's Awards

June 29, 2009



UAlbany's Mitch Earleywine

UAlbany Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology Mitch Earleywine has won the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Back when he was in high school, Mitch Earleywine couldn't figure out why anyone would want to make interesting concepts sound dull.

When he became a teacher, he vowed to change all that. The popular associate professor of clinical psychology has succeeded: He recently won the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, joining six other UAlbany faculty and staff members recently honored by the State University of New York.

"It's fun to be excited about ideas and to get other people to share that," said Earleywine, who teaches classes about drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment, and clinical research methods.

Earleywine joined UAlbany in 2005. Students give him consistently high marks on Rate My Professor, for explaining complicated ideas clearly, for using humor in the classroom, and caring about his students.

"Don't leave UAlbany without taking this class," writes one. "Going to class for the jokes isn't enough," writes another. "You've got to listen, learn, read, and review. He says this at the beginning of class, but it's easy to forget. Very knowledgeable all the same, and I respect him as much as I enjoyed his class."

Earleywine has more than 70 publications on drug use and abuse, including Understanding Marijuana (Oxford University Press, 2002). He serves on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. While the topic he studies – the legalization of marijuana --may be controversial, there is no doubt that he teaches his students to think for themselves.

UAlbany's Kwadwo

UAlbany's Kwadwo "Joe" Sarfoh has won the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Academic Service. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

The quintessential University citizen, Associate Professor Kwadwo "Joe" Sarfoh has also been honored with a Chancellor's Excellence Award, in his case for Academic Service. Since his arrival in 1978, Sarfoh has made an enormous contribution to the Department of Africana Studies, to the University as a whole, and to the Capital District community.

"Academic service is sometimes overlooked, but it is important because it lays the groundwork for students to succeed in their studies," he said.

Sarfoh has held a significant leadership role in each of his more than 30 years at the University, either as chair or acting chair (15 years), associate chair (one year), or director of graduate studies (16 years). His sensitivity toward students and to the needs of his faculty colleagues distinguishes his service on many College and University committees.

Sarfoh looks beyond the boundaries of the University to give his students connections to the broader world. He has a great passion to promote knowledge and awareness of issues in Africa. His efforts have been essential for summer field courses in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya, for opening up study abroad with South African universities, and for instruction in African languages. Vice Chair of the Africa Consortium, he has sustained a dialogue about African-based community projects with the schools of Social Welfare and Public Health. In addition, Sarfoh was a key organizer of the consortium's recent conference on campus.   

2009 Chancellor's Excellence Award Recipients include:

Mitchell Earleywine, Psychology – Teaching
Kwadwo A. Sarfoh, Africana Studies – Academic Service
Elizabeth F. Quackenbush, Office of Sponsored Programs – Professional Service
Janice E. Bogan, Office of Research – Professional Service
Rebecca Salinas, Office of Communications and Marketing – Classified Service
Julie Deden, Registrar’s Office – Classified Service
Suzanne Peplowski, Human Resources – Classified Service


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