Four SUNY Cortland faculty and administrators will receive the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence during the 2013 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, in the Park Center Alumni Arena.
The honorees are:
• Stacey Buckley, keyboard specialist I in the Physical Education Department — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service;
• John Foley, professor of physical education — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities;
• David Franke, professor of English — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; and
• Donna Videto, professor of health — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.
The Chancellor’s Awards provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the pursuit of excellence at all 64 SUNY campuses. Each campus president submits nominations, which are reviewed by the SUNY Committee on Awards.
This year’s SUNY Cortland award winners are profiled below:
Buckley, a College employee in the Physical Education Department since 2003, becomes the fifth SUNY Cortland recipient of the classified service honor, created by SUNY in 2009 and presented in recognition of outstanding job performance, flexibility, creativity and exemplary customer service.
She meticulously handles many different office duties, crafting Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and reports with precision, although she is best known for the genuine interaction she shares with students and faculty members.
“Her office is the ‘hub’ of the department and the first point of contact for most faculty, students and the community when they enter Park Center,” wrote Lynn Couturier, professor and chair of physical education, in a nomination letter for Buckley. “… They immediately feel they have entered the ‘helpful zone’ as Stacey graciously tracks down whatever they need.”
Buckley’s efficiency and follow-through help her stand out in a department that trains more than 800 undergraduate and 150 graduate students. On a typical day, she acts as the person on the front lines for the many different questions from students and faculty members alike.
She has proven vital in tasks both big and small — from collecting data during the College’s National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education re-accreditation process to reorganizing Physical Education Department records and eliminating the need for nearly a dozen file cabinets in the process.
“In all tasks associated with her job, Stacey puts in the extra effort to ensure things are done correctly and in the best possible manner,” Couturier wrote. “I marvel at her ability to accomplish her work despite numerous interruptions throughout the day, but her most impressive quality is her commitment to customer service.”
Before joining the Physical Education Department, Buckley worked 12 years for SUNY Cortland’s College Store.
A leading researcher in the field of adaptive physical education for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, Foley is the 12th SUNY Cortland faculty member to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, which recognizes the reach, scope, impact and sheer volume of his work in the fields of exercise and sport sciences.
Foley’s contributions can be measured by their impressive numbers — he’s the author of 27 published journal articles and three book chapters since arriving at SUNY Cortland eight years ago — as well as by their quality. Recent examples of his works include several papers on the physical fitness of visually and mentally disabled children using pedometers, including one published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, and another on the global distribution of body mass index metrics in adults who participated in the 2011 Special Olympics.
A peer from the University of Victoria in Canada called the Special Olympics study “genuinely groundbreaking in the field of adapted physical activity and disability studies.”
In addition to published articles, Foley’s other creative contributions include a DVD series developed with colleagues from SUNY Cortland, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University to promote physical activity among people with disabilities and their families.
“John is the go-to person to answer questions related to the latest research in the field,” wrote Luis Columna, from Syracuse University’s Department of Exercise Science.
Foley made 15 presentations at national and international conferences alone in 2012 and has secured funding for his research from a variety of sources, most recently $32,000 from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations to consider accessibility of wellness resources at workplaces for employees with disabilities.
His many awards include the 2012 SUNY Cortland Outstanding Achievement in Research Award and the College’s 2009 Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Outreach Award. Citations of his work in leading peer-reviewed journals have surpassed 200.
Couturier, SUNY Cortland professor and chair of physical education, sums it up best.
“Working with John is intellectually stimulating,” she wrote.
With his teaching ability often described as “superb” and “vibrant” in course teacher evaluations from students, Franke is the 48th SUNY Cortland faculty member to be recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Animated discussions accompanied by intense training in writing and critical analysis are trademarks of his classes. Franke has taught nearly two dozen courses in support of the College’s professional writing program and his students’ evaluations indicate that each one comes across as intellectually stimulating as the next.
“I have been allowed to let my creativity go for the first time … because the professor creates a safe environment for everyone’s thoughts,” one student wrote.
“This has been one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have taken,” wrote another student. “It may very well have the most practical real-world application in the future.”
A SUNY Cortland faculty member since 1999, Franke’s way with students is matched by his ability to earn financial support to promote teaching across local, state and national levels. He has received more than $300,000 in grant funding, most notably from the National Writing Project to launch the Seven Valleys Writing Project regionally. That endeavor uses conferences and workshops to train teachers at all grade levels in writing and critical thinking throughout the year.
His teaching also has boosted the scholarly work of students on the SUNY Cortland’s campus, as Franke continues to serve as an active member of the College Writing Committee and an influential mentor to aspiring writers. In addition to his teaching inside the classroom, transformational retreats and field trips often are woven into his curriculum.
“What mattered to me most was the effort he made outside the classroom,” a student wrote. “Dr. Franke knew I was very serious about becoming a professional writer, so he suggested we have weekly meetings. Every week, he would discuss writing, potential jobs, extra schooling — and always encouraged me to continue on.”
Known for his meticulous grading, thorough feedback and high expectations set for his students, Franke is known for consistently pulling out the best that his students have to offer.
“This class, although difficult, is among the best I have taken,” one student wrote. “I may only get a ‘B’ but I feel I have learned ‘A’ material. The teacher is perfect for this class.”
Videto has devoted her entire career to providing service to others, a quality that has made her the 10th SUNY Cortland recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. The honor recognizes her extensive College service and leadership, as well as her efforts to assist individual students, the community and the profession at large.
A list of Videto’s campus-wide involvement stretches several pages and includes a range of activities, including her current role as coordinator for school partnerships and membership with the College’s Health Department Curriculum Committee and its Graduate Comprehensive Examination Committee, two groups she has served since she arrived at SUNY Cortland in 1995.
If there’s a committee on campus that serves others, whether students or fellow faculty members, there’s a good chance Videto has served on it. Non-traditional students, undergraduates in the Cortland Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) program and colleagues in the School of Professional Studies represent just a sampling of those who have benefitted from her service.
She also typically provides a key role in campus and community health issues, assessing school health programs, guest lecturing and involving her students in service learning opportunities. Videto also helped launch the Cortland City School District’s “Growing Healthy” curriculum and has contributed to the health nutrition programs of several local schools.
“Annually, (Videto) reaches out to community health educators to see where the students may help us fill a gap in providing information to the community,” wrote Christella Yonta, the project coordinator for the Seven Valleys Health Coalition.
Videto also has proven invaluable on a statewide level, serving the New York State Education Department as a lead grant co-investigator for the School Health Systems Change Project and a reviewer for the New York State Health Central kindergarten through sixth grade health education curriculum, among many other roles.
On a national level, Videto has provided extensive leadership to the American Association for Health Educators for decades, serving on its board of directors and as associate editor of two professional journals, the American Journal of Health Education and the International Electronic Journal of Health Education.
Her research and scholarship includes two co-authored books and numerous health education curriculum guides, including A Competency-Based Framework for Health Educators, a widely accepted publication that identified the competencies a health educator should be able to perform with five years of work in the field.
Jeanette Dippo, a lecturer of health, accurately summed up Videto’s many contributions to her discipline.
“Donna’s all-around, sustained efforts and commitment epitomize the meaning of community service not only on our campus, but in our region, state and nation,” she wrote.