Seven State University of New York at New Paltz academic, professional and classified staff members have been honored with the 2014 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.
“It is a great honor to be able to recognize Joan Barker, Karen Bell, Sue Books, Paul Chauvet ’03 ’11g, Mary Kastner ’71, David Hobby, and John Ruger at SUNY New Paltz with this award. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees across New York State,” said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.
“This year’s recipients have demonstrated extraordinary dedication and service to the College and are highly deserving of this distinction,” said President Donald P. Christian. “My congratulations and thanks go out to all for the positive impact each has had on our campus community.”
Barker, adjunct faculty in the Art Department, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching; Bell, associate dean in the School of Education, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; Books, professor in the Secondary Education Department, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Chauvet, senior Linux and UNIX systems administrator in Computer Services, and Kastner, director of design, print and mail services in the Office of Communication and Marketing, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; Hobby, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service; and Ruger, plumber and steamfitter in Facilities Maintenance, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.
The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are presented annually to faculty and staff in six categories: Faculty Service, Librarianship, Professional Service, Scholarship and Creative Activities, Teaching, and Classified Service. The honor provides system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence. Through these awards, SUNY publicly proclaims its pride in the accomplishment and personal dedication of its instructional faculty, librarians, and staff across its 64 campuses and System Administration.
In acknowledgment of their selection, the recipients will formally receive a certificate and a Chancellor’s Excellence Medallion at the college’s first faculty meeting and the first classified staff gathering in the fall.
Barker has taught in the Photography program at New Paltz every semester since 1994 and has consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to her teaching and her students. She brings to her work a broad and deep knowledge of photography, developed through extensive experience as a professional photographer.
Baker’s undergraduate courses run the gamut from Basic Photography (black and white) to Advanced Digital Color Photography, The Large Format Image, and The Constructed Image – all courses that are considered essential to the Bachelor of Fine Arts Photography program. Her efforts in support of her students extend well beyond the classroom, bridging educational experiences on campus with those in the field.
She is a valued mentor with an extensive network of professional connections that have led to student internships with local newspapers and arts organizations, including the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Center for Photography in Woodstock.
Dr. Bell was appointed associate dean of the School of Education in 2003. At that time, she worked closely with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to guide Education faculty and staff through the lengthy and complex accreditation process. Central to that effort was the Coordinating Council on Assessment (CAA), which Bell established soon after her appointment and through which she led the effort to develop, and subsequently implement, the assessments related to NCATE.
In 2010, Bell served as interim dean of the school following the retirement of Dr. Robert Michael, long-time dean of the School of Education. Among the programs that benefited from Bell’s leadership and support were those in the Department of Education Administration, which Bell has chaired since fall 2012.
Bell was recruited as a regional leader of the SUNY Teacher Education Network (S-TEN), the group charged with planning and designing professional development geared specifically toward the needs of college and university faculty in four key areas of education reform: teacher performance assessment, data-driven instruction, Common Core standards, and clinically rich practices. Bell was also charged with communicating S-TEN progress at the campus level, through her concurrent management of the local Campus Teacher Education Network (C-TEN). Through her work on these committees, her impact on faculty professional development has been positive and far reaching.
Dr. Books is known for creating a dialogic learning environment that invites students to become passionate learners. Her experiences in global settings have prompted her to look at her discipline and her teaching through new, international lenses, and her approach has already influenced understandings of “diversity” among her faculty colleagues in the School of Education. A course such as Education across Borders takes on new meaning as Books has taught and studied in South Africa, Iceland, Brazil, China, and Japan. She continues to seek opportunities to deepen her theoretical knowledge through educational work in several countries.
Books also exhibits an extraordinary commitment to students. In one student’s words, “[Dr. Books] is not a stilted academic but genuinely interested in all of her students on personal levels.” Her colleague Dr. Tom Meyer notes, “Some days you can’t get into her office because she’s quietly responding to students’ work; other days, Sue’s door is ajar and you can see her personally helping a young writer plan revisions so that her ideas are clearer.”
She also earns praise for her capacity to create rigorous learning environments. Dr. Julie Gorlewski writes that Books “maintain[s] high standards with authentic assessments.” One student comments that she “takes the time to offer genuine critique that goes much further than a simple letter grade”; another adds, “[Dr. Books] set the bar high and challenged us to rise to it.”
As Senior Linux and UNIX Systems Administrator, Chauvet supports an array of hardware, software and systems that serve the college as a whole and support the efforts of the other technical and application staff within the IT area. He is responsible for all aspects of the college’s web collection, e-mail, and web-based application servers, all system backups, every phase of project management and the entire virtualization process of our campus.
His successful completion of large and complex IT projects led to his serving as chair of the College’s Information Security Oversight (ISO) committee which, under Chauvet’s skillful leadership, has efficiently addressed ISO audit deficiencies and tackled the extensive and complex list of standards SUNY requires each campus to develop. Beyond these efforts, he initiated an internal campaign that includes a website, blog, and printed collateral to educate the campus on information security and its importance in maintaining a healthy organization. He constantly makes sure these critical systems are safe and functioning properly, and he has often demonstrated his willingness to respond quickly to extraordinary situations.
As a New Paltz alumnus and former student assistant, Chauvet is especially sensitive to students’ needs and to providing opportunities that will extend their education outside the classroom.
Kastner consistently exceeds the expectations of her position, demonstrating efficient and highly productive leadership and exceptional dedication to her work, her staff, and the institution as a whole. Colleagues have aptly described her as “a team player with an institutional view.”
Despite constant deadlines and an endless stream of requests from offices in need of publications, marketing collateral, banners, signage and other materials, Kastner approaches her work with a calm demeanor and endless patience. She brings strong design skills and technical expertise to her position, and her organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to plan and manage projects and budgets are unmatched.
Over the years, she has frequently been invited to serve on task forces, chair search committees, or represent professional staff in campus-governance efforts. Her vision of a unified image for our campus and a consistent look to our printed materials and public communications led to the formation in 1994 of the Institutional Image Group, which Kastner chaired for 10 years and through which New Paltz embarked on the development of its first identity system. She continues to play a key role in support of the College’s integrated marketing and communication efforts, and she has worked project by project, client by client, to educate the campus in these industry best practices.
As a New Paltz alumna, Kastner clearly understands the needs of students and strives to prepare them to be productive members of their professions and communities. For more than 30 years, she has consistently demonstrated her unfailing commitment to her alma mater.
For the last 28 years, Dr. Hobby has given consistently superlative service to SUNY New Paltz, most notably in curriculum development, assessment, and student advising. He has willingly and generously taken on extra responsibilities, such as serving multiple terms on the College Curriculum Committee, serving as a founding member of the College’s General Education Board and the College-wide Assessment Advisory Council, and being the first presiding officer of the School of Science & Engineering. He served as chair of the Department of Mathematics for two terms (2003-2006 and 2006-2009) and has been the main liaison between Mathematics and the Department of Secondary Education for the past several years. Beyond this, he has chaired and participated in numerous committees, both at the department and college levels and has been an overall good citizen of the institution.
Credit for New Paltz’s strong General Education (GE) curriculum and its progress in advancing assessment of student learning campus-wide goes in part to Hobby for his service as chair of the College Curriculum Committee, founding chair of the GE Board and as a member of the College-wide Assessment Advisory Committee, the Liberal Education Ad Hoc Committee and its successor, the Liberal Education Committee. A masterful tactician who is “excellent with meeting deadlines and completing necessary paperwork to make sure things run smoothly,” Hobby’s service on these committees has contributed to the development of our campus’s GE curriculum; to students’ success in majors which all build on knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in GE; and to our significant strides as a campus community in making evidence-based decisions.
Hobby distinguishes himself through his exceptional levels of motivation, innovation, and initiative. He demonstrates a true affection for our institution and a care and concern for making it better for students.
Ruger’s career at New Paltz began on July 5, 2006 as a Plumber & Steamfitter in our Facilities Maintenance Department. Support for the nomination of this prestigious award for him reflects his unrivaled commitment to high quality work, and evidence of his exemplary customer service to the campus community year after year.
His immediate supervisor regards him as an excellent employee who is professional, courteous and has a great attitude. His division supervisor states that he’s very knowledgeable, reliable and committed to his work, often assisting during off-hours. John is highly valued and admired in his department and among his peers. They describe him as someone who is readily available to assist both students and staff without hesitation.
Ruger’s high standards in the performance of his responsibilities along with his genuine dedication to the college and his colleagues are admirable and inspiring.