SUNY Excellence: Six New Paltz faculty and staff receive Chancellor’s Awards for 2023

Six SUNY New Paltz faculty and staff have been recognized for outstanding scholarship, teaching and service to the campus community as 2023 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence honorees.

The Chancellor’s Awards are conferred annually to celebrate superior professional achievement in five categories: Faculty Service, Librarianship, Professional Service, Scholarship & Creative Activities, Teaching, and Classified Service. Awardees receive a medallion and certificate commemorating the achievement, as well as a permanent stipend.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s SUNY Chancellor’s Awardees:


Corinna Caracci (Excellence in Professional Service)

As Director of Residence Life, Corinna Caracci expertly manages the complexity of occupancy management, facilities upkeep and maintenance, design of living facilities, and the community building that is the cornerstone of New Paltz’s successful living-learning environment.

She is known for being generous with her time, passion and energy, and for a willingness to go beyond her formal duties to build a supportive campus climate for students and colleagues alike. One example is her work as a regional director for the Rape, Aggression, Defense (RAD) self-defense program, through which Caracci offers trainings on campus and to SUNY partners across the state, and contributes directly to the system-wide effort to empower students and reduce sexual violence.

Caracci elevated her efforts as a leader and stabilizing force during the most disruptive periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping Residence Life adapt to unprecedented circumstances and working with colleagues to chart a path forward. Throughout that period of evolving and ever-changing public-health conditions, she advocated for student residents and her professional and paraprofessional staff, and guided her team in developing new and creative ways to maintain a strong living-learning experience.

Letters of support for Caracci’s nomination use words like “advocate,” “rockstar,” “mentor” and “inspirational,” and these help convey the excellence that has defined her career and her approach to supporting New Paltz students.


Jeremy Coulter (Excellence in Classified Service)

Jeremy Coulter has provided exemplary service to students and faculty colleagues in a variety of roles since joining the campus community in 1998. After being hired as a Maintenance Assistant, he has received multiple promotions to positions including General Mechanic, Trades Generalist and his current title, Plant Utilities Engineer.

His support of the Departments of Biology and Chemistry is especially noteworthy and demonstrates his commitment to excellence and the University’s mission. Coulter oversees the maintenance of several campus buildings including Coykendall Science Building, which poses unique challenges because it houses a distilled deionized water system, autoclave machine and live specimens that students and faculty in science programs rely upon.

Over many years, Coulter has worked tirelessly to service these systems when outside technicians are not readily available, prioritizing this work to keep our labs operational and reduce potential negative impacts on student learning, while simultaneously helping the University realize significant cost savings and extending the lifespan of this critical educational infrastructure.


Mary K. Holland (Excellence in Scholarship & Creative Activities)

Mary K. Holland is a professor in the Department of English and a renowned specialist of contemporary American literature and women’s, gender and sexuality studies whose scholarship has had a transformative impact in these fields.

She is the author of two monographs – “Succeeding Postmodernism: Language and Humanities in Contemporary American Literature” (Bloomsbury 2013) and “The Moral Worlds of Contemporary Realism” (Bloomsbury 2020) – that are recognized by external referees for their groundbreaking, transformative and rigorous analyses of postmodern and post-postmodern literature.

Holland has also co-edited two significant essay collections, “Approaches to Teaching the Work of David Foster Wallace” (MLA 2019) and “#MeToo and Literary Studies: Reading, Writing, and Teaching about Sexual Violence and Rape Culture” (Bloomsbury 2021). This latter work, along with the forthcoming collection “Narratives of Gendered Abuse in Academia” (co-edited with Carrie Rohman of Lafayette College), represent Holland’s engagement with crucial and timely interdisciplinary dialogues in gender studies and related disciplines.

Professor Michelle Woods, a longtime colleague of Holland’s, has observed “how profoundly she integrates her research into her work as a teacher (and her experiences as a teacher into her research).” This commitment to integrating research and teaching is also evident in the courses Holland has developed, which enrich our curriculum and inspire our students. She enjoys a reputation as a rigorous and engaging teacher who is devoted to her students’ success.


Shuguang Liu (Excellence in Professional Service)

Shuguang Liu has served as professor and associate dean in the School of Business since 2015 and has been a member of the New Paltz faculty since 2003.

In the seven years since assuming the role of associate dean, Liu has shown an aptitude for planning, proposing and launching new academic programs that modernize the School of Business’s educational offerings and help students enter high-growth career fields. He spearheaded development of the undergraduate business analytics program, launched in 2019, which now enrolls 70 students; has proposed new graduate programs in business analytics and accounting; and contributed to many other program revisions and new microcredentials in healthcare administration and music business.

Liu is also a leader in assessment whose knowledge of methodology and implementation has aided the institution’s evidence-based decision making and continuous program improvement. He has applied these skills to support AACSB reaccreditation within the School of Business and institutional reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

He has additionally served as a member of key personnel committees, most recently the presidential search committee. His dedication to the search process and his ability to work collegially and diplomatically with colleagues throughout campus has distinguished him as a trusted and valued committee member.


Douglas Maynard (Excellence in Teaching)

Professor Douglas Maynard is recognized by colleagues and students as an exceptional teacher, mentor and scholar in the Department of Psychology whose pedagogical strengths are evident both within and outside the classroom. Letters of support describe his courses as rigorous, carefully planned and delivered with clarity and creativity. He is exceptionally skilled at motivating his students, sparking their interest, and keeping them engaged.

Three “pillars of student motivation” inform Maynard’s teaching: He strives to boost students’ confidence and sense of competence; support their autonomy and sense of belonging in academia; and assure them of the value of their efforts. His use of game-like activities in the classroom not only makes his classes more enjoyable but infuses them with his own scholarship, much of which explores gameplay and its impact on well-being.

Deeply committed to his role as a teacher-scholar, Maynard regularly involves his students in research, treating them as collaborators with vital roles to play in planning a study, developing materials to run it and collecting data to support it. As a mentor, Maynard is accessible, supportive and extraordinarily generous with his time. Several of his mentees have co-authored peer-reviewed articles or co-presented at major conferences, and a number have gone on to pursue graduate study and careers directly related to what they learned in his classroom and lab.


Richard McElrath (Excellence in Professional Service)

As senior instructional technologist in the Office of Instructional Technology (OIT), Richard McElrath has demonstrated consistent excellence since joining SUNY New Paltz in 2015, especially in his work to implement best practices and a positive, forward-looking culture around remote learning.

McElrath has worked closely with colleagues in the Division of Academic Affairs to develop a comprehensive approach to faculty training and certification for online course delivery, with a thoughtful, clear and data-informed set of procedures for the training and credentialing process.

These structures were all the more important as the University pivoted to remote instruction in response to COVID-19. Our continued ability to provide course instruction was due in large part to the work of the OIT team. For colleagues who struggled with the transition to remote teaching, especially early in the pandemic, McElrath represented a lifeline who helped keep them afloat.

Following quickly on the heels of the COVID-19 pivot was the SUNY-wide transition from the Blackboard Learning Management System to Brightspace, which Assistant Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer John Reina has called “the largest project undertaken by OIT in the past 10 years.” McElrath brought valuable experience and insights to the transition, endeavoring to master the new platform himself and helping direct OIT’s work in supporting a smooth and transparent experience for students and faculty on our campus.