Novkov Honored with 2020 Torch Award
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 5, 2020) — Advisor, mentor, advocate, confidant and most importantly, friend. That’s how UAlbany graduating senior Katie Gowing describes the 2020 Faculty & Student Engagement Torch Award winner, Professor Julie Novkov.
Gowing, a double major in political science and public policy who will be attending UCLA School of Law in the fall, spoke of how Novkov met with her one day shortly after declaring her major during her second year at UAlbany.
Enrolled in Novkov’s constitutional law class, Gowing, who is originally from Houston and played on the women’s soccer team, had experienced difficulty in securing an advisor and charting her path from declared major to graduate. Novkov met with her, and over a few minutes, helped Gowing find answers to each and every one of her issues that she had been grappling with for weeks.
“Your persistent guidance, from advising on my honors thesis to writing tailor-made letters to each law school I applied to … has been above and beyond anything I could have envisioned,” said Gowing in a video testimonial nominating Novkov. “Every time I see you, I walk a little bit taller.”
Novkov joins a long list of Torch Award winners — a tradition that dates back to the 1930s. Initially part of Torch Night, which was envisioned a ceremony to recognize graduating seniors entering into alumni status, the Torch Award has taken on new meaning since the 1990s at UAlbany, where it now recognizes a faculty member who has had an outstanding positive impact on a graduating senior’s academic and personal success.
Novkov was selected from more than 80 nominations by graduating seniors in a process that is now finalized by a committee of former Torch Award winners.
Professor of Political Science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, Novkov also holds an appointment in the Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. An author of several books and journal articles, Her research and teaching are situated at the intersection of law, history, US political development, and subordinated identity.
In addition to Novkov, other outstanding nominees being recognized in 2020 include Associate Professors Lotfi Sayahi and Carmen Serrano of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Professor of Practice David Turetsky of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, and in memoriam, Christopher M. Daly of the Department of History.
In recognizing Novkov’s accomplishments, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Carol H. Kim said, “The honor is truly noteworthy, as a long-time UAlbany tradition and based on a selection from nominations advanced by senior graduating students. You are joining a select group of faculty who have been ‘called out,’ if I may, for their excellence in and outside the classroom. … I admire and appreciate your commitment to our students and all that you do for them.”