2014 “Honor Ride” Raises Over $10K

2014 Honor Ride group photo

Group Photo at Stewart Air Force Base

On August 24th, I joined over 120 cyclists from eight different states in a 50-mile fundraising “Honor Ride” for Ride 2 Recovery, an organization that gets veterans into cycling and provides training and specially adapted equipment to aid in their recovery.

We set out from Veteran’s Park in Maybrook with dozens of red, white, and blue jerseys among the usual road-safe yellows and greens. At every major intersection, scary-looking guys from the Orange County chapter of the Defiant Crew roared up on Harley Davidsons and turned them sideways to block traffic, then cheered us on as we streamed past. After a rest stop in Gardiner at mile 25, our escorts bunched the group so we could ride into our next stop, Stewart Air Force Base, as a unit, weaving through barricades, road spikes, and gateposts. As we assembled for a group photo under the flags, a veteran asked me to turn off the flashing safety light on my bike because it could trigger a seizure in someone who has had a traumatic brain injury; a poignant reminder that not every veteran has visible wounds.

The Honor Ride is not supposed to be a race, but road cyclists are a competitive bunch. On the last leg, this spirit was unleashed, and the leaders were soon well ahead of the escorts. I pushed to stay on their heels as a personal tribute. As I attacked the long hill back into Maybrook, the burning in my lungs and muscles was a visceral reminder of how hard injured veterans have to push every day in rehabilitation to restore something even close to a normal life.

Prof. Anne Balant

Prof. B on a bike? No way!

We crossed the finish line accompanied by the ringing of cowbells and the grins of young volunteers. As we demolished a buffet lunch, we heard inspiring remarks from a number of individuals. Veteran Matt Dewitt, an accomplished cyclist and racer, showed us how it is possible to steer, shift and brake an adapted bicycle using his prostheses. The Defiant Crew posed for photos with some of the cyclists and announced that they were donating what they would have been paid for their time. Overall, we raised more than $10,000 that day.

The Honor Ride will be back in Maybrook again sometime next year. Hope to see you there!

– Written by Anne Balant, SUNY New Paltz Communication Disorders Department

Matt DeWitt - Vet Rider

Veteran Matt DeWitt demonstrates his adapted bicycle

  invisible words to push this down so it isn’t broken up by the photos – don’t know hows!

Ride 2 Recovery is a non-profit organization that assists injured military members, veterans, and first responders in their physical and mental rehabilitation through cycling. To donate or become involved, visit their web site: www.ride2recovery.com

Deaf Education and Empowerment in Ethiopia

Ethiopia_2014_Empowerment_GroupParticipation in the Visions Global Empowerment Deaf Education and Empowerment program this summer renewed my love for traveling in Africa and strengthened my desire to awaken and increase Deaf Awareness in others.

In July and August I Ethiopia_2014_Empowerment_Youth1had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ethiopia on a service trip. My experience of Ethiopian culture and of cultural exchange was amazing. As part of the trip, we participated in Deaf Leadership Capacity training workshops with local Deaf adults, teachers and profeEthiopia_2014_Empowerment_Youth2ssionals in the field of Deafness. Also working in partnership with the Ethiopian Deaf Community, we conducted activities for Deaf children, youth and young adults. One of my favorite activities with the Deaf youth was to have them create a book about themselves. Then we had each student share their book with the group.

I especially enjoyed gaining insight into Ethiopian Deaf Culture. One similarity to American Deaf Culture that I observed was the desire for clear communication, expressed by being straight forward and getting to the point when conversing. It was intriguing to be immersed in the culture and to compare Ethiopian Sign Language to American Sign Language. There were differences in many signs and we had interpreters. After a short time signing together we were able to find ways to clarify things and communicate appropriately. It was a fantastic trip!

Ethiopia_2014_Empowerment_LeadersIn collaboration with Visions Global Empowerment, SUNY New Paltz will be offering a Study Abroad Program to Ethiopia in summer of 2015, June 15-27. For information about this opportunity contact: Rebecca Swenson at swensonr@newpaltz.edu.

For information about Visions, visit: www.VisionsGlobalEmpowermEthiopia_2014_Empowerment_RSwensonent.org.

-Post written by Rebecca Swenson, SUNY New Paltz Lecturer in the Deaf Studies Program and the Dept. of Communication Disorders


Climate Change Activist Bill McKibben to Speak at SUNY New Paltz

Bill McKibben credit Steve Liptay

Bill McKibben

By Despina Williams Parker

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York at New Paltz proudly welcomes author and environmentalist Bill McKibben as he mobilizes support for the largest climate march in history. McKibben will deliver a lecture entitled, “On to New York:  Why the Climate Movement is on the March,” on Tuesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

Presidents and prime ministers from all over the world will gather in New York City on September 23 for a landmark UN summit on climate change. In the days prior, dozens of workshops, seminars and events on climate change will culminate in a September 21 march on New York City, as tens of thousands demand action on what McKibben has termed the “biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.”

If you are concerned about climate change and the long-term health of our planet, don’t miss this important lecture.  The event is free and open to the public.

McKibben is the author of the 1989 book The End of Nature, regarded as the first book about climate change written for a general audience. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. The movement is named for the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.” A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.

To learn more about the People’s Climate March and People’s Climate Convergence, visit www.peoplesclimate.org.

High-Tech Listening: iPhone App for Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are better than ever; they’re slim, customized, discrete and technologically advanced. They are no longer the devices of the past that your grandparents kept in a drawer only to wear for an occasional outing. They are digital and brimming with connectivity. Hearing aids can connect to any device that is Bluetooth compatible, such as a computer, television, cell phone, land line phone, music device, car system and more. If the target device is not Bluetooth, then an adaptor can be utilized.

Collage of hearing aids throughout history

Hearing aids throughout history

Recently a variety of hearing aid companies have introduced another advancement: iPhone compatibility. Apple’s “Made for iPhone Hearing Aid” program allows the iPhone to act as a remote control for hearing aids. When moving from one sound environment to another, such as entering a noisy restaurant, adjusting the volume or switching the hearing aid’s pre-programmed environment settings is easily done with the iPhone app. In addition, the app can be used to select an input source, such as cell phone, TV or music, so that sound is delivered from the source directly to the hearing aid.

If you would like to find out more about hearing aids, please contact the SUNY New Paltz Speech Language and Hearing Center at (845) 257-3600.



Speech-Language and Hearing Center Closed July 21 – August 29

The SUNY New Paltz Speech-Language and Hearing Center will be closed from July 21 through August 29. During this time, hearing aid appointments for audiological clients will be conducted on the lower level of the building. Work on the Center and building infrastructure is being done to prepare for an upcoming renovation. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Questions should be directed to Sandy DiStasi, Secretary of the Communication Disorders Department, at (845) 257-3600.


Penny Freel Named LA&S Teacher of the Year

Penny Freel

Penny Freel

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has named Penny Freel ’95g (English Literature) Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014.

Hired as a full-time lecturer in 2006, Freel has taught numerous sections of ESL/SWW Composition 1 and 2; she also teaches courses in literature.

Prior to coming to New Paltz, Freel taught at the University of the Sacred Heart, an all female Catholic college in Tokyo, Japan (1995-2003). Professor Freel was hired as a “native English speaker” and taught everything from Composition to Film Studies to Public Speaking.

Freel has presented papers at the Annual Convention on College Composition and Communication; the SUNY Council on Writing; and the Council on Basic Writing. She is a regular participant in the SUNY New Paltz Composition Program Retreat. Her published articles on composition pedagogy have appeared in print or online in the Journal of Basic Writing and Basic Writing E Journal.

In honor of her achievement, Freel’s name will be added to the Teacher of the Year plaque located in the Jacobson Faculty Tower lobby on the campus. She will also receive $1,000 to be used for professional development, and will present a talk or lead a workshop on pedagogy for interested faculty in the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Freel received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Marist College in 1992 and a master’s degree in English Literature from SUNY New Paltz in 1995.

LA&S Secretaries Honored


Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program Coordinator Kathleen Dowley and Secretary Cookie Chandler


English Department Chair Nancy Johnson with Secretary Ethel Wesdorp


Black Studies Department Chair Major Coleman with Secretary Doris Butterfield

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences honored the outstanding dedication and service of its secretaries at its annual Secretary Recognition Reception, held May 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at The Terrace.

Honorees included Nancy Riley and Jannette Carcich (Dean’s Office), Cookie Chandler (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies), Margaret Betaudier (Sociology), Jane Lehman (Psychology), Myriam Long (Geography), Meredith Van Etten (Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Latin American Studies), Ethel Wesdorp (English), Pat Stewart (Economics, Political Science and International Relations), Deanna Lorenzo (Communication and Media), Sandra Schoonmaker (Communication Disorders), Doris Butterfield (Black Studies), Laura Tozzi (Philosophy, History, Asian Studies) and Susan Buckbee (Anthropology, Psychology).

LA&S chairs, coordinators and directors delivered heartfelt remarks on the special qualities and skills of the secretaries, who were frequently described as the hearts and souls of their departments and programs.

Stewart and Tozzi, who are retiring this summer after many years of devoted service, received special praise and heartfelt farewells from their colleagues. Economics Chair Hamid Azari-Rad described Stewart as “a calm presence” and “very professional and effective.” History Chair Andy Evans called Tozzi “uber organized” with a “wonderful sense of humor.” All the secretaries received potted Gerber daisies as gifts at the end of the reception.

The secretaries presented Interim Dean Stella Deen with a potted plant and card, and thanked her for her service to LA&S over the past year.

Barrett Appointed New Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Laura Barrett

Laura Barrett

Provost Philip Mauceri has announced the appointment of Laura Barrett as the College’s new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Barrett is currently the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor in the English Department at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, Ga. Her appointment is effective August 1.

Barrett brings broad experience in interdisciplinary studies, curriculum development, teaching, and research to New Paltz. Prior to her tenure at AASU, she served as the chair of fine arts, humanities, and social sciences at Wilkes Honors College, a branch of Florida Atlantic University. There, she worked with colleagues to create curriculum, centered on interdisciplinary efforts, worked on the development of the writing program, and developed majors and minors, mentored junior colleagues, sponsored student organizations, and served on various standing committees. She also served as assistant/associate director of the Honors Program at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, where she developed and taught interdisciplinary classes, interviewed and selected Honors students, counseled undergraduate students, coordinated special events and co-directed an annual campus conference, and served as an adjunct professor.

Laura holds a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a master’s degree in English literature from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in English, summa cum laude, from Long Island University (LIU), Brooklyn Campus.

“I am confident that Laura’s impressive combination of notable faculty and administrative achievements will continue to advance the exceptional work already being done by our talented students and faculty in the liberal arts,” said Mauceri.

LA&S Funding for Interdisciplinary Team Teaching

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce support for faculty development and teaching of interdisciplinary and team-taught courses.  To encourage collaborative teaching across the disciplines, LA&S will award two stipends of $2,500 each to two faculty members who will develop an interdisciplinary course in summer 2014 that they will team teach in spring 2015.  It is expected that the course would count for three credits in each of the team teachers’ load for that semester.

Two $300 stipends will also be awarded to two faculty members who will support these team teachers and have been chosen by them to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of the class.

This professional development funding is made possible through the generous support of gifts to the LA&S Dean’s Fund.


  • Two full-time faculty members from different departments should present a description of the course, student learning outcomes, and a provisional list of texts or other learning materials.  At least one faculty member should be from LA&S.
  • The course description should include a rationale for an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, indicating how an interdisciplinary approach will enhance knowledge of the topic and will serve students’ needs.  Please indicate whether this would be a 200-, 300-, or 400- level course.
  • Faculty will be encouraged to adopt appropriate innovative pedagogies or technologies to teach this course, and to make use of institutional resources to support these efforts.
  • Proposals for four-credit courses are preferred.

To apply, faculty should submit the following:

In one to two pages:

  • A course description, as outlined above
  • A brief account of innovative pedagogies or technologies possibly to be adopted
  • The two faculty members’ curriculum vitae

Applications should be sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, JFT 614.  Deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.  Awards will be announced on May 13, 2014.

April is Autism Awareness Month


April is Autism Awareness month, and it is Autism Awareness Week here on campus. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development, which are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism, in varying degrees, in the United States.

The SUNY New Paltz chapter of Autism Speaks U will be hosting a series of events aimed at raising autism awareness and raising funds for Autism Speaks. Be sure to visit their table outside of SUB100 this week; bracelets, pins, water bottles, and raffle tickets will be on sale. Blue hair extensions and henna tattoos are also available.

On Friday, April 4, eat a meal at P&Gs on Main Street and 15% of the bill will go to Autism Speaks U; you must present the coupon, which can be printed from the chapter’s Facebook group page:


In addition to this week’s events, there will be a parent panel on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30pm in CSB Auditorium. Parents on the panel will share their experiences in helping their child navigate the public education system and answer audience questions.

About Autism Speaks U

Autism Speaks U is a program designed to support college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks. Since its inaugural event at Penn State in 2006, Autism Speaks U events have raised over $1 million and student-organized Walk teams have brought in millions more.

The Autism Speaks U SUNY New Paltz chapter was founded by Danielle Franke in November 2011. She says: “I decided to start this chapter on our campus because of my past work with children on the spectrum. Our chapter has raised much-needed awareness of autism, and we have been successful at raising money for Autism Speaks and for individuals on the spectrum; we raised money for a child to receive a therapy dog.”

Visit the Autism Speaks U table outside SUB100 to learn more about autism, Autism Speaks, and to support the efforts of this “true blue” campus group!