Intellectual Rigor

One of five pillars in Oswego’s Sesquicentennial Plan


Quote - 'how hard I try in all my classes'Our college hums with the intellectual energy of students and faculty asking questions, simple and profound, and then probing for answers using the tools of a range of liberal and professional disciplines.

We share this dedication to acquiring and expanding knowledge with all institutions of higher learning, and we are regularly recognized for excellence in this pursuit by a variety of measures.

Perhaps the most visible of these measures are college rankings, US News badge where Oswego stood among the Top Public Regional Universities in the North for 2011 in U.S. News. Our college also continued to be ranked among Princeton Review's Best Northeastern Colleges, and our School of Business earned a spot on its list of the best 300 schools of business.

A number of Oswego alumni basked in the reflected glow of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to Ei-ichi Negishi, a longtime research partner of emeritus Oswego professor Augustine Silveira. Both engaged their students in their collaborative projects and co-authored papers with them that became part of the overall package that the Nobel honored, Silveira said.

In 2010-11, our students and faculty excelled in their scholarly and creative quests as they collaborated on research, presented their findings at national and regional conferences, and won prestigious appointments.

Students and research

The Provost's Office cited a 23 percent increase in faculty-led undergraduate student research in 2010-11 as well as a 45 percent increase in campus awards for students to conduct research and creative projects. Their projects ranged across the disciplines. Among the most notable:

Shale study
  • Paleontologist Diana Boyer and some of her students studied black shale from Upstate New York for clues to marine life extinction more than 300 million years ago. They investigated oxygen levels in the sedimentary rock formed in the Late Devonian period.

  • As a junior majoring in English, Gwen Girsdansky wrote a paper on identity destabilization in the early British and African-American novel and presented it at the 2011 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

  • The first set of undergraduates to do research at Oswego's Global Laboratory partner in Taiwan helped advance research relating to Cepheid variable stars and what they reveal about the universe. The National Science Foundation funded their experience at National Central University's Graduate Institute of Astronomy in Jhongli. Oswego Faculty Fellow Shashi Kanbur described the projects that the students were working on as "absolutely on the cutting edge."

  • Sigma Xi conference with Professor Kestas Bendinskas
  • Four Oswego students in the sciences presented their research at the Sigma Xi Northeastern Research Symposium held in conjunction with National Undergraduate Research Week. The 2011 conference attracted emerging scholars from all over the country. Besides Oswego, such elite universities as Harvard, Yale, Stanford and California Institute of Technology sent young researchers.

Intellectual competition

GENIUS Olympiad
  • Fehmi Damkaci of Oswego's chemistry department organized the first GENIUS Olympiad for high school students from around the world to compete in science and art. The students prepared research projects and artwork on environmental issues, and the top ones spent a week in Oswego in June showing what young brainpower can accomplish. Out of 620 entries, the summer gathering featured just under 200 projects from 34 countries and 31 states.

Prestigious selections

Dr. Geraldine Forbes
  • Geraldine Forbes, a distinguished teaching professor of history who has an international reputation in women's history and global feminism, shared her expertise in summer 2011 as the Kathe Leichter Visiting Professor in Gender Studies at the 650-year-old University of Vienna. She was selected on her publications record and ability to infuse a worldview into the subject.

  • The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation selected graduate education student David Streib as a Knowles Fellow. Only about two dozen of the five-year fellowships, worth up to $150,000 each, are awarded per year nationwide. "We're right up there with the Ivy League schools when it comes to teaching," said Chris Priedemann, an alumnus and one of two current Knowles fellows with Oswego connections.