College of Liberal Arts & Sciences confers members of faculty with Awards for Excellence in Service and Excellence in Scholarship

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has announced the recipients of the 2011 Liberal Arts & Science Awards for Excellence in Service and Excellence in Scholarship at the faculty meeting on Nov. 29. This is the second year these awards have been presented.

Thomas Olsen, associate professor and chair of the English department, was awarded the Liberal Arts & Science Award for Excellence in Service; Susan Ingalls Lewis, associate professor and interim chair of the history department, Kenneth Nystrom, assistant professor in the anthropology department, and Jonathan Raskin, professor in the department of psychology, received the Liberal Arts & Science Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Olsen was commended for his congenial, equitable disposition when managing all aspects of the English department as well as his generous attention to cultivating the career development of junior faculty.

For students, Olsen has reinstated the English Department Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and each spring he organizes an induction event for students and parents. He has spearheaded a departmental newsletter, WorksCited, a departmental blog, and a departmental Facebook page to improve communication and networking between students and alumni.

Beyond the department, Olsen has chaired the Sojourner Truth Library Committee and has collaborated with members of the theatre department on various productions. In the community, he serves as Commissioner of the Historic Preservation Commission.

Ingalls Lewis’s primary scholarly contribution over the last three years is the publication of her monograph “Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth Century Albany, 1830-1885.” Her book won the Hagley Prize presented by the Hagley Museum and Business History Conference. In the award’s citation, the Prize Committee praises Dr. Lewis for presenting “a path-breaking analysis that challenges a wide range of assumptions so often made regarding women and their place in the world of commerce.”

Nystrom has published six co-authored articles over the last three years in highly prestigious, peer-reviewed journals. In addition, he has published two book chapters in scholarly collections and presented 12 papers at conferences; he has also mentored six students who have presented papers at the student research symposiums. Finally, he collaborated with Jennifer Waldo, assistant professor in the biology department to win a National Science Foundation Instrumentation Award.

Over the last three years Raskin published eight peer-reviewed articles, three book chapters, four book reviews, and an encyclopedia entry; in addition, he co-edited two books and gave 16 peer-reviewed conference presentations. He was elected as a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology in 2009, and the Association elected Raskin as a fellow in its Society for Humanistic Psychology in 2007. In 2010, he earned the George Kelly Award for his scholarly contributions to Constructivist Psychology.