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Chancellor's Award Honorees Named

Four SUNY Cortland faculty and administrators received the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence during the 2012 Undergraduate Commencement on May 12 in the Park Center.

The honorees were:

• Jeffrey J. Walkuski, associate professor of physical education — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service;

• Melony Warwick, secretary II in the Division of Institutional Advancement — Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Classified Service;

• Julian H. Wright, director of recreational sports — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; and

• Tiantian Zheng, professor of sociology/anthropology — Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

The Chancellor’s Awards are conferred to provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to 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:

Jeffrey J. Walkuski

Jeffrey Walkuski
 Jeffrey J. Walkuski

Walkuski becomes the ninth SUNY Cortland recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. It recognizes his extensive College service and leadership, as well as his specific efforts to help both individual students and his community as well as his profession, which he represented at an international level.

Walkuski joined the College as an assistant professor in 1999 and was promoted to associate professor in 2006.

He has delivered presentations on teacher preparation and on childhood motor learning and fitness in Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai. On the international level, he was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Association Internationale des Ecoles Superieures d’Education Physique (AIESEP) World Congress, an organization which he chaired in 1997.

He has spoken at more than 69 regional, state and national conferences. In addition, Walkuski has served as a grant reviewer for the United States Department of Education on the “Head Start Body Smart” Play Space Grant Program for the National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play. He also was a 2012 proposal reviewer for the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) national convention, in his role as a member of the Higher Education Committee.

Walkuski is the author of 21 published articles in the areas of teacher preparation and methodology; implementation of technology and systematic observation in teaching and learning; curriculum development; and motor learning in children. These writings have appeared in prestigious publications including Journal of Sport Sciences; Journal of Human Movement Studies; Teaching and Learning; and Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. In addition, he has been a frequent presenter at the international, national, state and regional levels.

“Being involved in the education of students is not only about the intellectual side, but also the affective side,” Walkuski stated. “This perhaps can and will have the most lasting impact on one’s life and profession.”

He has served as the advisor to the men’s ice hockey and rugby clubs and the Alliance for Physical Education Majors.

His work in the Dryden community, on the outskirts of Cortland, has focused on youth sports and youths at risk. He has served as a volunteer head coach for community youth soccer, basketball and swimming, the latter with the Dryden Aquatic Racing Team (DART).

Walkuski has served the Faculty Senate for 11 years in many leadership roles, including as chair and in other executive roles and on key committees.

Walkuski holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from California State University, Sacramento; a Master of Science in Motor Learning and Control from Kansas State University; and a Ph.D. in motor development and physical education teacher education with secondary emphasis in research methodology and statistics, developmental psychology, from Ohio State University.

Melony Warwick

Melony Warwick
 Melony Warwick

Warwick, a SUNY Cortland employee for the past 25 years, becomes the fourth 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.

“Ms. Warwick is well known for her superior organizational skills and excellent work ethic,” said College President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “A perfectionist, she has a definite eye for detail that most certainly ensures the success of the events she has supervised. Ms. Warwick readily volunteers for new initiatives, and she has repeatedly demonstrated great flexibility in assisting with the training of new staff in the division throughout the years.”

Warwick has served three different vice presidents during her years at the College. She has been instrumental in organizing board meetings and materials and providing support to the Cortland College Foundation Board of Directors. Warwick is a key organizer of donor and College events, including alumni gatherings, emeriti faculty gatherings, donor dedication ceremonies, Alumni Reunion Weekend, the annual Partners in Leadership celebration, the annual College-Community Appreciation Award Dinner and numerous donor sports events hosted by the president. She has hosted VIP donors at the New York Jets summer training camp on the SUNY Cortland campus. She has coordinated the committees for the Rozanne Brooks Dedicated Teacher Award and the Marilou Wright Scholarship.

“Most noteworthy this year was the highly successful capital campaign kick-off celebration and dinner, hosted by an alumnus at his magnificent farm outside of Cortland,” noted Raymond D. Franco ’72, M ’75, vice president for institutional advancement. “Scores of donors were invited, a wonderful program was organized, group transportation was arranged and food was selected and catered — all under the watchful eye of Ms. Melony Warwick.

“In every aspect of her position as a classified service staff member of the campus, Ms. Warwick is a professional,” Franco said. “In many ways, her caring and ownership provides a solid foundation for the College’s and the Foundation’s outreach efforts.”

She has served on College search committees, including several at the vice president and executive director level. Warwick has been a member of the Auxiliary Services Corporation personnel and operations advisory committees, the local Civil Service Employees Association’s picnic committee and the Service Award Luncheon Committee. She also has volunteered for many years with the State Employees Federated Appeal and was the College Bowling League secretary for many years.

In 2003, Warwick was honored with SUNY Cortland’s President’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.

A native of Willet, N.Y., Warwick graduated from Cincinnatus High School and worked at the Cortland County Probation Department before joining SUNY Cortland in 1985 as a temporary typist.

She joined the College’s Memorial Library in 1988 as a keyboard specialist. In 1992, Warwick joined the College Relations and Development Office as a secretary I. She was promoted to the rank of secretary II in 2002.

Julian H. Wright

Julian Wright
 Julian Wright

Wright, who joined SUNY Cortland in 1991, is the 24th staff member to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

The honor recognizes his consistently superior professional service within and beyond his position description. During his 21 years in the campus community, he has developed a premier, state-of-the-art recreational sports program that includes intramural sports, sport clubs, open recreation and fitness facilities/programming.

“Julian established a dedicated fee for the Recreational Sports program, assumed management of and re-vamped the Sport Club program, developed two outstanding fitness facilities, created a department logo, and developed a non-credit instructional program,” President Bitterbaum said. “In so doing, he has made a positive and enduring impact on students, faculty, staff and alumni who have benefited from his tireless efforts.”

 “Julian has worked exceptionally hard to build the most comprehensive student recreation program in the SUNY system,” wrote one colleague in a letter supporting the nomination. “Our intramural, sport club and open recreation offerings are second to none in SUNY.”

“He has built the Recreational Sports Program from the ground up, improving the number and variety of offerings as well as the quality of activities,” wrote another nominator, Louise Mahar, assistant director for recreational sports for fitness.

Today, the program is extremely well rounded. It includes 37 sport clubs, more than 60 intramural and special events, fitness facilities that are open many hours per week, personal training, group exercise, and ample hours of opportunity for open recreation, Mahar wrote. Last year, the intramural sport program had close to 40,000 participations, the sport club program consisted of 38 clubs with more than 900 participants and the Tomik Fitness Facility had 150,000 recorded visits.

“Our students have consistently rated the Recreational Sports Program number one in student satisfaction in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey since 1994,” Mahar wrote.

In addition to serving the student body, Wright advocated successfully for the free use of the campus fitness facilities for College faculty and staff.

Wright earned his associate of arts degree from Northeast Mississippi Community College, Booneville, Mississippi; Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Mississippi State University in Starkville; and Master of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, also from Mississippi State University. A Certified Recreational Sports Specialist, he graduated from the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association National School of Recreational Sports Management in 1997.

Tiantian Zheng

Tiantian Zheng
 Tiantian Zheng

Zheng becomes the 11th SUNY Cortland faculty member to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, which recognizes her for the reach, scope,  impact, and the sheer volume of her academic body of work on health, related women’s issues, sexuality, social inequality and human rights. In less than a decade, Zheng has become a major scholar in her field.

Zheng joined SUNY Cortland in 2003 as an assistant professor, was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2007 and to professor in 2010.

Her ethnographic work examines the nexus of state power, entrepreneurial masculinity and the influx of rural migrant women in a post-socialist setting. These research areas have narrowed specifically on the interaction of gender politics, nationalism and state power as they pertain to birth control, disease control — especially HIV/AIDS and STDs — and control over women’s bodies as these have played out in post-socialist China.

Zheng is the author of four scholarly books, two of which have won book awards. Her most important piece of work to date is her 2009 text, Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China (University of Minnesota Press). That volume won the 2010 Sara Whaley Book Award from the National Women’s Studies Association and has been widely reviewed, praised, and discussed.

Her written scholarship also encompasses the editorial coordination of a journal issue, 18 articles published in refereed journals, 18 book chapters, 16 book reviews and 62 academic papers.

Zheng has delivered more than 30 presentations on her research in the U.S. and abroad.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bo Hai University in China, a master of arts from Dalian University in China, and master of philosophy and doctor of philosophy degrees from Yale University.