Four Recognized for Excellence
They come from different disciplines and daily perform varied duties,
but two professors and two staff members — all of whom have a powerful
impact on Oswego students — shared the spotlight this spring, as they
were honored with excellence awards.
Cynthia Clabough, professor and chair of the art department, received the SUNY Oswego President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and Thomas Delduchetto, part-time instructor of marketing and management, earned the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Part-Time Faculty.
Robert Casper, director of career services, received the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Service. Deborah J. Trionfero, secretary in the School of Education dean’s office, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.
Challenging for excellence
Clabough, a faculty member here since 1994, shows her own graphic-design posters and other works in juried exhibitions as part of what she calls her “personal manifesto.”
“I believe it is my responsibility to stay current in my field,” said Clabough. “To practice what I teach so that I never forget how it feels to fail as well as to succeed, how it feels to have someone criticize or praise my work in a public way, how it feels to put my heart on my sleeve and have no one notice.”
Clabough received ringing support from her nominators, graphic design faculty members Cara Brewer Thompson '02 and Kelly Roe '94. “Her reputation amongst students,” wrote Thompson, “is that she is a challenging professor who goes beyond first assumptions and conclusions and reaches beyond what they had thought possible for themselves. She prepares them, not only for work in the industry, but to be vital participants in their community and lives.”
Roe recounted how, in 2002, Clabough spent her own time and the money from a donation by the grandparents of a recent graduate to team with students to convert an obsolete darkroom in Wilber Hall into a popular student lounge.
Delduchetto, a former human resources executive for NBT Bancorp Inc., POMCO, M&T Bank and others, joined Oswego as an adjunct faculty member in fall 2006. He teaches two courses a semester, has served as a first-year adviser and a summer orientation adviser, and has been on the School of Business assessment committee.
“Tom has consistently received high student and peer evaluations in his teaching,” wrote Richard Skolnik, dean of business, in support of Delduchetto’s nomination. “In Fall 2009, his overall teaching evaluation was 4.7 out of 5.0, one of the highest in the School of Business. I observed Tom’s dedication to teaching during a snowstorm during the 2006-2007 academic year. Classes were canceled and Rich Hall was nearly deserted, except for Tom. He had braved the elements and commuted from Syracuse.”
Delduchetto also subscribes to strength in diversity. “I have been fortunate to have several international students in my various classes. I have encouraged the international students to make presentations as well as to provide their perspective on many management issues and business environments,” he wrote. “My classes have been enriched!”
In Casper’s 24 years leading Oswego’s Career Services Office, he has taken its operation from a basic placement office to an advanced model using outreach, academic partnerships, networking and outcomes-based planning. Colleagues applaud his ability to infuse technology, helpful faculty and cross-campus partnerships into a learner-centered and forward-looking student success service with ever-expanding opportunities.
Casper’s willingness to try new ideas to solve challenges impressed Howard Gordon '74, M '78, the executive assistant to the president, who recalled campus efforts to launch a graduate seminar for underrepresented students more than two decades ago.
Kathy Smits Evans ’84, associate dean of students, cited Casper as a leader in developing the Compass, merging academic and student services functions supporting students from orientation through post-graduate life.
Colleagues also applauded Casper’s service to the campus and community as longtime co-chair of the annual United Way/State Employees Federated Appeal campaign.
Casper is a leader in his field, holding many leadership posts, including president and various chairmanships, in the SUNY Career Development Organization. His strong relationship with other institutions supports Casper’s role as program coordinator of the annual regional Teacher Recruitment Days that now attracts more than 200 school districts from across the country to interview more than 800 teacher candidates.
For the classified service award, a new honor starting last year, Trionfero received staunch support from Dean of Education Linda Rae Markert ’76.
“As I reviewed my annual performance evaluations for Deb, it almost appeared I had run out of words to adequately express my praise about and appreciation of her exceptional work. This employee (who I have come to view as my colleague) is exemplary in every way!” Markert wrote in nominating Trionfero.
Skill in dealing with ever-constricting budgets and the dean’s office being uprooted multiple times during construction and renovation earned praise for Trionfero. “When it comes to all aspects of the SOE’s budget, Deb’s work, expertise and dedication to accuracy is brilliant,” Markert wrote, noting the secretary has gone “way beyond the call of duty” to keep the office running through disruptions or merely day-to-day operations.
The tireless work in organizing so many meetings, participants and other details as the school gained National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accreditation around a decade ago was among Trionfero’s many outstanding accomplishments Markert noted. Trionfero worked for the Office of Residence Life and Housing from 1981 until 1999, when she moved to her current position.
— Tim Nekritz M '05 and Jeff Rea '71
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