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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences honors faculty excellence

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences announced the recipients of its annual Excellence Awards at an end-of-semester gathering hosted by the LA&S Senate on May 16 in the College Terrace.

Meg Devlin O’Sullivan, an assistant professor of history and women’s, gender & sexuality studies (WGSS), and Cristopher Livecchi, an adjunct in the Geography Department and WGSS program, took top teaching honors. O’Sullivan was named Teacher of the Year, and Livecchi was honored as Part-Time Teacher of the Year. Ş. İlgü Özler, an associate professor of political science and international relations and director of the SUNY Global Engagement Program in New York City, received the Excellence in Service Award.

The awardees will receive funding for research and professional development-related activities and have their names engraved on a plaque in the Jacobson Faculty Tower lobby.

Meg Devlin O’Sullivan – Liberal Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year

Since joining the New Paltz faculty in 2012, O’Sullivan has taught courses focusing on women’s history and American Indian history. A sought-after advisor and mentor, O’Sullivan fills her elective courses to capacity and boasts Student Evaluations of instruction that “practically glow in the dark,” her nominators wrote.

In their joint letter of nomination, Kathleen Dowley, WGSS program coordinator, and Andy Evans, chair of the History Department, praised O’Sullivan as “the very model of the teacher-scholar that New Paltz  strives to support and nurture.” They cite as evidence her innovative classroom strategies, her work revising and updating the WGSS introductory course to reflect current scholarship, and innovations in the History capstone seminar, which resulted in a journal article that is currently under review.

Cristopher Livecchi – Liberal Arts & Sciences Part-Time Teacher of the Year

Livecchi has distinguished himself as an exemplary teacher in his dual roles as a geography and WGSS adjunct.  In their nomination letter, Dowley and Geography Department Chair John Sharp praised Livecchi’s maturity, organization and natural “gift” for teaching.  “Cris has a very clear sense of the objectives he wants his students to achieve, he develops highly innovative approaches to achieve those objectives, and he has the patience in the classroom to carry those plans out,” they wrote.

Livecchi has also made significant contributions to the WGSS-sponsored LGBTQ Living Learning Community, which he will direct next year. His nominators described Livecchi’s temperament as well-suited for mentoring and engaging students from diverse backgrounds with unique challenges and concerns.

Ş. İlgü Özler – Liberal Arts & Sciences Excellence in Service Award

Özler’s selection for the Excellence in Service honor acknowledges her singular contribution in founding the SUNY-wide Global Engagement Program in New York City. The program is a comprehensive, 12-15 credit academic and internship experience that enables students to work within the United Nations community and devise original research projects.

Bruce Sillner, Dean of International Programs, described the development of the Global Engagement Program as “an accomplishment of immense magnitude” that provides “an opportunity of a type usually only available to students at exclusive liberal arts colleges.”

Political Science and International Relations Chair Jeff Miller added that Özler “devotes an astonishing amount of time and effort” to developing and maintaining relationships with organizations and cultivating internship opportunities for students, many of whom go on to accept important positions in the international community.

More information about the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is available online.