ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE: FACULTY AND STAFF AWARDS

Lori Till, Nominator: President's Award

Name, Title of nominator:Lori L. Till, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Hospitality and Tourism Department

Name, Title of person who received the President's Award and Award received:Kathleen M. O'Brien, Lecturer and Director Campus House, Hospitality and Tourism Department

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

The interest in providing a platform to highlight my colleague's extensive college service efforts.

Describe the nomination team process.

The team basically consisted of faculty from the Hospitality and Tourism Department. They all agreed to volunteer their efforts to recognize this individual.

As the nominator, I provided support to the nominee regarding the portfolio she was going to submit, to accompany the committee's supporting materials. I took the lead to solicit letters from the college community and the WNY community. Faculty also wrote letters of support.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

I felt a sense of satisfaction throughout this process, as the letters of support clearly recognized the efforts of the individual I nominated. I also felt a sense of satisfaction when Kathleen M. O'Brien was publically recognized in Rockwell Hall at the Convocation.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a President's award?

  • Identify a deserving candidate for a President's Award based on the information provided on the college's website;
  • Give the nominee plenty of time to put the portfolio together, as this can be somewhat time consuming;



Wendy Paterson, Nominator: President's Award

Name, Title of nominator:>Wendy Paterson, Ph.D.

President's Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement and Award received:>Leslie Day

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

Mrs. Day has always done an outstanding job, actually more like three jobs. Few institutional avenues other than the President's Award would recognize and reward her outstanding contributions to the college, the faculty, the students and the community.

The reputation and branding of Buffalo State College directly benefited from Leslie's creative and prodigious energy in developing what has now become a nationally recognized program for professional development schools.

We often allow our brightest stars to simply shine in their own right, because we have learned to expect consistently outstanding work from them, but we forget to stop and gaze at them, and show others how extraordinary they are. It was not just a "nice idea" to nominate Leslie for this award, it was truly her earned reward for exemplary performance as a teacher and public servant.

Explain a bit about the nomination process.

I asked Leslie herself to provide some information and examples of her work. Letters inviting others to write on her behalf came from other nominators. All of us worked together to compile the folio.

At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

The nomination process is unwieldy and time consuming. It was very, very hard to focus on it when it was 'an extra' that often slipped down the priority list from daily deadlines and urgent work. We really had to make it Priority I as the deadline approached. It was a planned activity that required months of preparation prior to the actual nomination. The satisfaction came only when we knew that Leslie received the award she so richly deserved. Then, it was all worth it.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a President's award?

It is all too easy to say, "Next year." Don't put it off.

The recognition of outstanding work is sometimes the only way we affirm the values we all "say" we hold in high esteem.

We should put as much time into (and value on) nominating high quality people for awards as we do on getting our schedules right!

Sometimes, the amount of time we spend on an activity is the inverse of the actual value of that activity. The time we spend to recognize our colleagues for outstanding work has just such an inverse relationship to the emphasis of time and work we place on the mundane.




Sharon Cramer, Nominator: President's Awards

Nominator:Sharon Cramer, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor

Name, Titles of persons who received the President's Award and Award received:Tom Coates, Events Management, Excellence In Service and Gwen Veira, Admissions, Excellence in Service

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

In both cases, I saw two professionals who always went above and beyond their roles. They are both modest, humble people. Recognizing them for their continuing efforts felt like a really right thing to do. Once I saw the letters from their colleagues, I knew I was not alone in believing they deserved recognition.

Explain the nomination process used.

The two nominations were approached very differently. I completed one alone. For the other, we were a group of three. Each of us took on a different role:

  1. worked with the nominee to edit the CV, to get the names of people to whom letters should be sent
  2. responsible for receiving the letters, and kept track of what was still outstanding
  3. put the package together, got a notebook, created the Table of Contents, dividers, etc.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

Recognizing the excellence of these two people was so gratifying. Both of them had so many fans on campus. Letters revealed specific examples of how each of them had made our campus a better place. Getting the letters, putting them into a format that could be completely understood by others who didn't know the candidates, that made me glad.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a President's award?

  • Pay careful attention to each of the criteria in the award.  When sending letters out, try to ask people to attend to specific criteria.(Be sure to enclose a copy of the award description, as well as the candidate's CV.)
  • Start early. Everyone is busy, and you don't want to have to remind them of your request more than once. Deadlines for the President's Awards are in March, and ideally, you will have all of your letter requests sent out in January, and received no later than mid-February.
  • Know the members of your nomination team. Working with people who don't have the time, or the talent, to contribute is harder than doing the nomination all alone.
  • Enjoy the experience. It is exciting to see the enthusiasm of the candidate explode as more and more letters are received.



Kevin Mulcahy, Nominator: President's Award for Advisement

Name, Title of nominator:Kevin Mulcahy, Chair, Hospitality and Tourism Department (at the time)

Name, Title of person who received the President's Award and Award received:Lori Till, President's Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

A very deserving nominee! The department was well aware of how much time and effort went into Dr. Till's advising.

Explain your nomination team, and how it functioned.

The Hospitality Department is small enough that we often do tasks together. This nomination process was no different. All five faculty members volunteered to help.

As chair, I took responsibility for coordinating the process. Faculty wrote supporting letters and helped collect student comments. The nominee prepared materials to be included in the portfolio.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

I think it began with reading many of the letters from colleagues, students, and alumni. It was thrilling, too, to see the award presented in Rockwell Hall.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a President's award?

  • Identify a deserving candidate
  • Get the criteria and dates for the specific award
  • Alert the nominee and supporters with plenty of time to complete the portfolio materials,
  • Organize the portfolio so that it is easily digestible for the review committee.



Howard Reid, Nominator: Promotion to Distinguished Rank

Name, Title of nominator:Dr. Howard M. Reid, Professor, Psychology Department

Name, Title of person promoted to the rank of Distinguished:Dr. David Carson, History and Social Studies Education Department

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

I had worked closely with Dr. Carson for a number of years and in a number of settings. His devotion to service to the college and SUNY was impressive. I thought this should be recognized and so I approached him to determine whether he would be interested in being nominated.

How did you approach the development of the nomination package?

I chose to work pretty much on my own rather than having a nomination team. Of course, I relied upon Dr. Carson to provide me with the names of individuals with whom he had worked closely, and he was responsible for providing an up-to-date vita etc., but I felt that 'too many cooks could spoil the broth', and thus did not think that a team would have been beneficial. With hindsight, working with one or two others could have been helpful.

At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased that you had embarked upon the process?

I was pleased at a number of points during the nomination process. It seemed that immediately after I had requested letters of support I began to receive very positive endorsements. And then when the actual letters arrived, they were very impressive. It was very nice to have my high opinion confirmed and it was especially rewarding when a number of the letter writers indicated that they were delighted that I had taken the initiative to recognize a very worthy colleague.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for an award, or for promotion to the rank of Distinguished?

My first piece of advice is so obvious that it might seem unnecessary, but only nominate someone who you are absolutely certain deserves the recognition/promotion and who you would be proud if they receive it.

Second, I think having a small team (2 or 3 people) would have been helpful, but if a team is involved I would suggest that there needs to be a clear understanding of each member's responsibilities.

Third, read another similar submission, if possible.

Fourth, start the process early, give enough time for the letters to be written, the letter writers thanked, and the folder to be created.

Fifth, read the criteria for the award or promotion carefully a number of times and identify each step that needs to be accomplished and create a deadline for doing so.

Sixth, put a good deal of effort into the nominating (introductory) letter.  Your enthusiasm should be evident and amply supported.

Seventh, put real effort into the organization and appearance of the actual folder. First impressions count and this is what others will see first.

Finally, enjoy the process! This should be a 'feel good' effort! If it isn't, then perhaps you should review step one.

And one more thing, fortunately this didn't happen to me, but if for some reason the nomination was not successful, learn the appropriate lessons from the experience, was the lack of success fundamentally due to a deficit in the nominee's credentials? Or was it instead due to some aspect of the submission? What the next step would be obviously would depend upon knowing which of these was involved.




Sharon Cramer, Nominator: Promotion to Distinguished Rank

Name, Title of nominator:Sharon Cramer, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor

Names, Titles of persons promoted to the rank of Distinguished:Ann Colley, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Susan Leist, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

I was aware of the amazing talents of these two faculty colleagues. The honor offered via the promotion to the rank of Distinguished was so powerful an experience for me, I wished to support two people who I believed were extremely deserving.

How did the nomination process work for each candidate?

Dr. Colley: the rules for the promotion to Distinguished are very explicit about how to prepare the package. In the case of this nomination, a team approach was used. Both Kevin Railey and Ralph Wahlstrom were key to putting the package together. Because some of the criteria were a little ambiguous, we did wind up calling SUNY to get clarification on a few points. We were glad we made the call, the process to be used, once the nomination left campus was clarified. I learned, "Never be afraid of picking up the phone."

Dr. Leist:Because the promotion to Distinguished Teaching requires an analysis of teaching evaluation, and teaching load, it was easiest to work on this nomination alone. I worked closely with Dr. Leist to put the best materials into the package.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

I was very gratified to be involved in reflecting on the careers of two such outstanding faculty members. Although much more time was involved than I anticipated, I never doubted the rightness of what we were doing, and so the satisfaction was ever- present. I think that getting the letters from colleagues of the nominees was heart-warming to me, and to them.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for an award, or for promotion to the rank of Distinguished?

  • Start early. The October deadline comes at a busy time of the semester, so I suggest beginning in May.
  • Work closely with the candidate to get the names and contact information for those who will write letters of support. Pay careful attention to the requirements (e.g., Distinguished Teaching requires letters from current and past students, no such requirement for Distinguished).
  • Request more letters than you will need. The people who are to write letters are often very busy, and may not respond in a timely way. If you have extra letters you wish to use, you can create a section of the nomination package for 'local committee review only.'
  • Set a timeline for the whole nomination, well ahead of the final due date. Ideally, get all letters by the end of August.
  • Be positive in working with the candidate, sharing letters as you go. It will enable the candidates to enjoy the reflection on their careers. Don't complain to the candidate about how much work is involved.
  • Accept the possibility that the nomination will not be accepted, and more work will need to be done for a resubmission. Specific details will be provided from SUNY about what needs to be changed/added/deleted; don't be hesitant about a resubmission.
  • Enjoy the experience of celebrating the accomplishments of a colleague.



Craig Werner, Nominator: Chancellor's Award

Name, Title of nominator:Craig Werner, Associate Professor of English

Name, Title of person who received the Chancellor's Award:Barbara Bontempo, Professor of English (Excellence in Teaching)

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

Through my long association with Dr. Bontempo, I knew her to be a skilled and dedicated teacher. I wanted to nominate someone who would never seek Chancellor's Award recognition on her own.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

I was pleased at the eagerness of Dr. Bontempo's colleagues and former students to write letters of recommendation for her. Approximately ninety percent of those from whom help was solicited submitted letters. Most were very detailed and informative.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a Chancellor's award?

  • Look at previous applications (if available).
  • Study the form of the applications, and try to replicate it.
  • Write a nomination letter with extremely thorough documentation of every component mentioned in the letter.



Catherine Lange and Kevin Williams, Nominators: Chancellor's Award

 Nominators:Catherine Lange, Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences and Science Education and Kevin Williams, Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences and Science Education

Award Recipient:Gary Solar, Associate Professor and Chair of Earth Sciences and Science Education; Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

The faculty and staff of the department of Earth Sciences and Science Education are a close working group of colleagues. Gary Solar had been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching several years ago.

When the notice for nominations for the Chancellor's award appeared in the Daily Bulletin, several members of the department felt Gary was a worthy candidate for the award. It is well known in our department how much the students appreciate Gary's high standards and motivational lectures on hard rock geology. He is legendary as an inspirational scientist as demonstrated by his "fan club" of students, who are also well-equipped to continue to achieve higher educational goals or to become great earth science teachers. Special people who stand out with so many attributes need to be recognized for their accomplishments. For us, this was a no brainer!

Describe the nomination team process.

Since we (Cathy Lange, Kevin Williams, Michele Parente, Jill Singer and Joe Zawicki) had been working on another project as a team, we just informally passed the word around that this project was underway. As soon as a few of us began, we realized that we had enough people to complete the work.

If you used a group of people, how did you divide up the responsibilities?

The team approach was worthwhile, because we were able to pass drafts of the narrative around and also because writing about a person is not very easy. We emailed one another.

Each person knew of "pieces" of the Gary Solar story to be able to present a collective history that would accurately convey the message.

As the portfolio began to take shape, the group members assumed duties that they felt would be appropriate for them to complete. It was not a formal operation, we all just pitched in.

We did face some challenges. There was some debate about what to submit. How many letters from students, do teaching evaluations tell the whole story, etc.? It was not easy.

Please describe the sense of satisfaction you had as the nomination process progressed. At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

Reading the letters of support from students really solidified that our time spent on the nomination package was worthwhile.

We are proud that our chair is an exemplary role model for students and his accomplishments set the bar for the rest of us. We are pleased to have a strong department leader; in a way, his success speaks to the quality of our program. The sense of satisfaction will come when Gary Solar receives the award. We are very pleased that he made it through the process and will be recognized.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a Chancellor's award?

  • Start early and work as a team.
  • The process to obtain letters from students takes a great deal of work and time, realize that ahead of time.
  • We interviewed Gary, to find out why his teaching evaluations were so consistently high.
  • We spoke to current students and graduates to be able to write honestly about his attributes.



Tracy Johnson, Leasa Rochester and Virginia Grabiner, Nominators: Chancellor's Award

Name, Title of nominators:Dr. Tracy P. Johnson, The Association of Faculty and Staff of African Descent, President, Ms. Leasa Rochester, The Association of Faculty and Staff of African Descent, Chair of the Rewards, Recognition, Scholarship and Honor Committee and Dr. Virginia E. Grabiner, Associate Professor of Sociology

Name, Title of person who received the Chancellor's Award and Award received:Dr. Amitra A. Wall, Associate Professor of Sociology

What motivated you to embark on the nomination process?

The motivating factors for AFSAD to embark on the nomination process is clearly tied to our mission and purpose as an organization of providingReward, Recognition, Scholarship and Honor to deserving faculty, staff and students.

We also embarked upon this experience to highlight the amazing and significant work that our faculty and staff of color are currently working on, as well as tribute to these individuals' expertise, dedication and commitment to Buffalo State College.

Explain how you approached the nomination process.

The team was determined by AFSAD's by-laws, and by requesting volunteers. The initial committee is limited to the President of AFSAD and chair, to help focus on the recruitment process for viable candidates. A subsequent committee within AFSAD is a reward, recognition, scholorship and honor committee; this committee has two members as well as the president and chair.

The selection process included a diligent review by committee members of the applicant qualifications with the criteria set forth by the award process. Then, the committee selected the candidate (s) with the best qualifications name for nomination.

If you used a group of people, how did you divide up the responsibilities?

A time line was established, based on the award package deadline.

The responsibilities were divided up, based on the criteria categories.

We worked collaboratively with the candidates' departments, for support of the candidate.

When all information was turned in, it was reviewed by committee, edited if needed, and then turned in for submission.

At what points along the way during the nomination process were you especially pleased you had embarked upon the process?

We were very satisfied at the beginning when the decision was made to nominate someone from the organization this year and when Dr. Wall's graciously accepted the nomination. We were extremely excited when the final product was completed and when we delivered the portfolio. The process was like giving birth to a vision and seeing it come to fruition.

Based on your experience, what advice do you have for others at Buffalo State, who are about to nominate a colleague for a Chancellor's award?

Do It! The intrinsic rewards are phenomenal!

Begin the process early (late Spring or Summer)

Review previous winning portfolios

Ask questions

Set an early deadline for your candidate submissions and stick to it!

Be organized

Review the qualifications for candidates VERY diligently.

Speak to previous winner for advice or suggestions.

Make sure the portfolio you submit is comprehendible for the reviewer.