Four College employees recognized with Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

Four members of the State University of New York at New Paltz’s academic, professional and classified staff have been honored with the 2010 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence and will be recognized at the May Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 23, on the Old Main Quadrangle.

Michele Halstead (Stone Ridge), assistant vice president for finance and administration, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; Surinder Tikoo(Highland), professor of business, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; Nancy E. Johnson (Hurley), associate professor of English, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; and Charleen McCarthy (Wallkill), custodian in the Haggerty Administration Building, will receive the 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Classified Service.

Michele Halstead
Halstead’s responsibilities include oversight of all of the College’s daily financial operations, internal control program, and a complex array of central administrative departments, including purchasing, accounts payable, revenue accounting, student loan counseling, administrative services, mail services, receiving, property control and telecommunications.

President Steven Poskanzer noted in his nomination of Halstead that, “She has shown exceptional leadership across these varied realms, meeting the highest standards in her own work and inspiring others to raise their respective goals and standards of achievement. In this way, she has clearly strengthened our institution.”

Halstead has worked on several campus-based and SUNY-wide committees, including New Paltz’s Middle States Accreditation Review Committee; the College Auxiliary Services Corporation Board; the Intercollegiate Athletics Board; the SUNY Budget Officers Committee; and the New Paltz Scholarship Golf Tournament.

Surinder Tikoo
Dr. Tikoo’s research focuses on franchising, consumer decision making, and the interface of finance and business strategy. His research has had considerable impact on his discipline and on business practice. It has been cited in numerous articles, doctoral theses, development bank reports, conference proceedings and books. His articles have been part of reading materials in graduate and undergraduate business courses at other universities across the country. Harvard Business School Publishing has sold over 2,000 reprints of his “Assessing the Franchise Option” article in Business Horizons.

Poskanzer noted, “Dr. Tikoo has developed his successful and productive research while contributing fully in all other realms of faculty work. He is a popular and effective teacher, willing to take on additional teaching assignments to meet school needs. He is also a fine institutional citizen who is committed to service on School of Business and College-wide committees, including frequent leadership roles.”

Nancy E. Johnson

Dr. Johnson joined the New Paltz faculty in 1998 with a focus on 18th century English literature. She quickly emerged as an outstanding teacher, both in this scholarly field and in a wide array of other specialties, including women in literature, literary criticism, early American literature and first-year composition.

Poskanzer’s nomination states, “Dr. Johnson is known for her rigorous standards and high expectations for student achievement, the clarity and depth of her course organization and materials, and her focus on developing students’ thinking and analytical abilities. She generously dedicates time, insight and mentoring to the successful supervision of undergraduate independent study projects and honors theses and multiple graduate theses. She is the embodiment of the ‘teacher-scholar’ model that is so inspirational to our students.”

Charleen McCarthy

McCarthy began working at New Paltz in 1997 and from the outset of her employment distinguished herself by the quality of her work and within 18 months was identified as the suitable candidate to replace a highly valued custodian responsible for the administrative offices in the Haggerty Administration Building, which contains the offices of the College’s senior leadership.

“Her work ethic is exceptional,” noted Poskanzer. “Her personal pride in meeting the highest standards of care for every aspect of her work demonstrates that she recognizes the importance of well-maintained facilities. In turn, this has a direct impact in accomplishing the mission and goals of the campus. The outstanding quality of Ms. McCarthy’s performance of her responsibilities, combined with her genuine dedication to the College and her colleagues, are of a uniquely high standard.”

These four individuals join a list of 37 other New Paltz academic, professional and classified staff and emeriti faculty who have received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. For a complete list of the names and the award areas, visit

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are System-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. These programs underscore SUNY’s commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction, and serving the public good. Through these awards, SUNY publicly proclaims its pride in the accomplishment and personal dedication of its instructional faculty, librarians and professional staff across its campuses.