Campus Update

Tue May 05, 2015

Since April 20, University Police have investigated several cases of theft and vandalism and made nine arrests.


A 28-year-old Oswego man was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. A police officer reported seeing him arguing with a woman. When the officer asked him to stop, he became belligerent, the officer said.

A 30-year-old Oswego man was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI, both misdemeanors, plus speeding, failure to keep right, and driving on the shoulders. A 22-year-old commuter student was charged with driving while intoxicated and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above plus running a red light and driving an uninspected vehicle.

A 26-year-old Webster woman was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and driving with a suspended registration. A 56-year-old Fair Haven man was charged with driving with a suspended registration. A 23-year-old Village resident was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle plus driving an uninspected vehicle.


Three students were charged with possession of marijuana: an 18-year-old from Oneida Hall and a 19-year-old and a 23-year-old from Seneca Hall.

Fri May 01, 2015

Several faculty members from the School of Business made presentations at the Business Research Consortium conference April 18 at Saint Bonaventure University. Graig Arcuri presented “Sustainable Revenue Generation System for Nonprofit Higher Education Institutions.” Barry Friedman presented “Latent Employee Turnover and Prevention: When Job Creation Catches Up with Economic Recovery.” Mary Rodgers presented “Cross-Discipline Collaboration in Business Research: Filling a Gap in Business Education.” Susan Wright and Hema Rao presented “Client-Firm Relationships: A Model for High Risk Clients.” And Wright, with Howard Nemiroff and Jim Owens, presented “Regulation NMS: Results of the Pilot Phase Implementation Phase.”

“Sex, Death, and the Esoteric Meaning of Plato’s Symposium” by Thomas Bertonneau of the English department has appeared at The People of Shambhala. The essay brings Plato’s dialogue into connection with the turning point of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian genocide against the inhabitants of the island-polis of Melos. It uses the connection to explore the relevance of Plato’s metaphysics to the civilizational problem of deviated transcendence. “The Structure of Education Is the Structure of Faith” has appeared at The Brussels Journal and “The Structure of Reality Is the Structure of Revelation” and “The Order of Memory Is the Order of Being” have appeared at The Orthosphere. This trio of related essays investigate the manner in which modernity’s denial of transcendence distorts its ideas both of nature at large and human nature and thereby derails the proper function of longstanding institutions. The three essays draw on Plato, St. Augustine, Søren Kierkegaard, Eric Voegelin, and a number of other literary and philosophical writers.

The Zeta Xi Chapter of Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honorary society, on March 23 inducted seven new members: Chris Byrne, Eloise Colson, Adam Hammer, Michael Kaefer and James Robello. Two honorary members were also inducted: Shashi Kanbur, professor and chair of the physics department, and Alexander Beattie, retired librarian. John Lalande II, faculty adviser, conducted the induction ceremony, which several German faculty members attended.

Since 2012, Oswego has established an unofficial internship pipeline for students with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The college has been sending students regularly to work on highly competitive paid 10-week summer internships at the lab based at the California Institute of Technology. A total of 11 Oswego students in four years have been accepted for this program, including four in 2015. Nick Edington went last summer and will go again this summer. Joining him will be Brandon Caruso, Daniel Wysocki and Kenny Roffo. All four are computer science students. Wysocki also majors in physics and Roffo in math. Diane Connor of JPL, who has worked on NASA’s Magellan, Galileo and Cassini missions and supervises the software systems group that develops software to support mission sequence operations, visited Oswego in April to strengthen JPL’s bond with the college.

In March, C. Eric Hellquist of the biological sciences faculty presented a research poster at the “Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century” conference at the University of California at Berkeley. The conference commemorated the centennial of the National Park Service that will be celebrated throughout 2016. The poster, “Aquatic Plant Diversity in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: An Aquatic Flora with No Exotic Species to Date,” was co-authored with C. Barre Hellquist of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In April, the Hellquists also led a workshop on identification of aquatic plants at the Northeastern Natural History Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. Their research on the aquatic flora of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks was also presented at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Aquatic Plant Management Society in Saratoga Springs in January. Earlier this year, the Yellowstone Association funded their research on aquatic plants of Yellowstone for 2015.

During April, students from the biological sciences department working with Eric Hellquist presented their research at three conferences: the State University of New York Undergraduate Research Conference at the College at Brockport, the CSTEP Statewide Student Conference in Bolton Landing and the Northeastern Natural History Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. At the CSTEP conference, Roodline Cineus presented “The Abundance and Characteristics of Aquatic Tree Hole Communities in Three German Forests.” Katherine Hilburger presented “Measuring Ixodes scapularis and Borrelia burgdorferi Abundance in Oswego County, NY” at NENHC. Her research is focused at the Rice Creek Field Station and has been supported by the Rice Creek Associates small grant program. She is also mentored in this project by Peter Newell in biological sciences. Lora Benjou and Erin Earl presented a poster at NENHC on their quantification of plastic pollution and its potential consequences for shoreline strand communities along Lake Ontario in Oswego and Cayuga counties. Their research poster was entitled “Abundance and Distribution of Plastic and Organic Wrack Along the Southeast Shore of Lake Ontario.” Faith Page, a December 2014 graduate and CSTEP student, gave an oral presentation at NENHC on her research on the New York endangered bog buckmoth that was funded by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Her talk was titled “Potential Impacts of Typha angustifolia on the Rare Bog Buckmoth (Hemileuca sp.) of Central New York.” Angelo Messina  presented a poster on research he conducted in collaboration with fellow students Kristen Harrigan and Austin O’Neill examining water chemistry parameters of the Rice Creek and Glimmerglass Lagoon watersheds. Their poster was entitled “Trace Metals, Inorganic Ions and Microbial Communities in Two Adjacent Lake Ontario Watersheds at SUNY Oswego.” Their research was completed with the assistance of Paul Tomascak of the department of atmospheric and geological sciences.

M. Neelika Jayawardane, associate professor of English, is the author of an article about South African photographer Cedric Nunn that appears in his new book of photographs. The article “Photographing in the Presence of Absence: Cedric Nunn’s ‘Unsettled: One Hundred Year Xhosa War of Resistance’” appears in the book “Unsettled: One Hundred Year Xhosa War of Resistance” published by Archipelago Books. Jayawardane spoke on “Shifting the Digital Landscape: New Media in Africa, and the Impact of ‘Africa is a Country’” as a panelist on the program ”#BlkStudiesDigitalAge: Race, Digital Media & Social Networks” held April 20 at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies (video). In addition, she presented “Winnie Madikizela Mandela: Reflections on the Mother of the Nation” and “Shifting the Digital Landscape: New Media in Africa and the Impact of ‘Africa is a Country’” in March at Colgate University. Jayawardane is senior editor of the blog Africa is a Country.

Shashi Kanbur, professor and chair of physics, has been elected to the executive committee of the New York section of the American Physical Society. Also, the Indo-US Joint Center for the Analysis of Variable Star Data, for which Kanbur is U.S. head, has received funds to hold the Indo-US Workshop on Advances in Variable Star Research at Texas A&M University from June 15 to 19. The workshop will bring together some of the best researchers in the world in this area, Kanbur said.

Thomas J. KubickiThomas J. Kubicki, assistant professor of technology, was awarded the International Technology and Engineering Education Association’s Distinguished Technology and Engineering Professional Award at the association’s conference held March 27 in Milwaukee. The award recognizes the recipient’s outstanding performance and accomplishments in the field of professional technology and engineering education. It is one of the highest honors given for professional achievement of technology and engineering educators. Consideration for the award is based upon documented evidence of leadership and management skills, continuing participation in the association’s education programs, and demonstrated leadership in association, community and professional activities.

Senior history majors Emily Markstein and Jason Snider presented their research papers at the 36th annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, on April 24 and 25. At this scholarly conference devoted to medieval and early modern studies, their papers were well received and they, along with history faculty member Lyn Blanchfield, were able to attend other presentations and meet students and scholars from across the Northeast, Blanchfield said.

Anthropology junior Kaili Morris and Lindsay Bell of the anthropology faculty presented an academic paper at the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s bi-annual conference, held April 16 to 18 in New York City. The paper, “Searching for Evidenced Based Traditions: Addiction Treatment in Canada’s Northwest Territories,” looked at how ideas of culture are shaping therapeutic practice in the circumpolar world.

Arlene QuinonesAt the Eastern Communication Association’s annual convention held from April 22 to 26 in Philadelphia, Arlene Quinones, pictured center, presented “All It Takes Is a Like for Me to Be Happy: Instagram and Its Impact on Self-Concept,” a paper she wrote with fellow students Kaitlynn Fuller and Nicole Wilson. It was one of four papers presented on a panel of the top papers submitted to the James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference. In addition, several members of Oswego’s communication studies department made presentations. Jason Zenor presented “Us and Them: Millennials’ Perspective on their Political Disaffection”—which was selected as one of the top three papers in political communication—“A Reckless Disregard for the Truth: The Right to Lie in Politics” and “Lane v. Franks: U.S. Supreme Court Misses the Chance to Fix the Employee Speech Doctrine.” He also chaired the panel “Dynamic Dissents.” Christine Hirsch chaired the panel “Whistleblowing: Cause and Effect” and “The Rhetorical Lives of Lyrics and Jokes: When Music and Comedy Challenge Social Convention” and was a respondent on the panel “Spiritual and Secular Tensions: Religious Idioms, Rhetoric, and Popular Culture.” John Kares Smith was a respondent on the panels “Getting Engaged by Any Means Necessary: Politics, Citizenship and Knowledge” and “The New ‘Hunger Games’: Lawyers, (Rhetorical) Guns and Money in Political Communication.” Kristen Eichhorn and Mary Toale spoke on the panels “Fifteen Years of Communibiology: Future Directions in Communication Theory and Research” and “Examining the State of Nonverbal Communication Research & Investigations.” Eichhorn presented “Perspective: Faculty Bullying Other Faculty,” participated in a deliberative forum on the topic “The Future of the Basic Course” and was respondent on the panel “Instructional Practices to Use in the Classroom.” Toale was respondent on the panels “Examining the Intersection of Nonverbal and Organizational Communication in Applied Contexts” and “Exploring Sources of Influence on Interpersonal Communication.” Jennifer Knapp was respondent on the panel “Examining Others’ Influence: Family Members, Friends, and Coaches Impact on Instructional Communication Practices.”

The new book “What Happens on Campus Stays on Youtube” by Erik Qualman includes an interview with Oswego student Kaitlyn Rajner, the Career Services intern who coordinates the office’s “Digital Dirt Squad,” a peer education group advising students on the identity they present online and how to improve their online reputation in the context of employer expectations.

Hannah ValentinoMichael Molnar
At the Sigma Xi Northeastern Regional Research Conference 2015 held April 18 at Western Connecticut State University, four Oswego students presented their research. Hannah Valentino, pictured, a junior biochemistry major, won the second highest award for her poster presentation in the most competitive category, Life Sciences. Michael Molnar, pictured, a senior chemistry major, won third place among all graduate student posters. Also Kestutis G. Bendinskas, professor of chemistry and editor of American Journal of Undergraduate Research, received a service award “for his key role in founding the Northeastern Regional Meeting since 2006 . . . We congratulate his commitment to Sigma Xi’s core mission of interdisciplinary scientific mentorship.”

Fri May 01, 2015
Homecoming revival to boost alumni-student connections, school spirit

The college will revive—and reinvent—Homecoming, a tradition missing from campus for more than four decades but returning Nov. 14 with a host of spirited activities in hues of green and gold.

Ever-popular ice hockey will command center stage—along with a pre-game tailgate and post-game bonfire—while around it will swirl a breakfast to connect scholarship donors with their student beneficiaries, the annual Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon, a music and arts performance and a reception for President’s Circle and Sheldon Legacy Society contributors, among other events.

Archival photo of students on homecoming float“The idea really sparked from several conversations at our (spring 2014) alumni board and foundation board meetings,” said Laura Kelly, director of alumni relations. “We were working on how better to engage our students with alumni, particularly with recent alumni who may not attend Reunion in the summer.”

Homecoming celebrations in the 1960s featured a parade with floats, sorority sisters marching in matching blazers and the unveiling of a king and queen. Fast-forward to 2015, and partners such as the Student Association, the Point, Residence Life and Housing, Campus Life and Student Affairs are joining with Alumni to offer an updated celebration full of fun, spirit and value.

Today’s students stand to benefit from contact with yesteryears’ in numerous ways, Kelly said. For example, the Homecoming Committee plans to offer a networking reception for students and Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD). There are plans for a Spirit Week leading up to Homecoming, with a different activity each day focused on building student anticipation for the weekend and how they can interact with alumni, Kelly said.

Austin Byrd, class of 2010 in business administration and president of the GOLD Leadership Council, said he considers Oswego his second home, as do many of his fellow alumni.

“I think homecoming will be great because so many young alumni see Reunion as something you do 10-plus years removed from school,” said Byrd, now a bodily injury adjuster in the litigation department of GEICO. “This is more up our alley. It will allow us to see the campus full of students and give most recent graduates a chance to see friends that haven’t graduated yet.”

Valuable connections

Green and Gold Day, heretofore early in the academic year, will move to Homecoming, Kelly said, a tie-in aimed at tapping the lifetime memories alumni cherish of their formative years at SUNY Oswego.

Students cheer as Oswego scores at Whiteout gamePromoting the reboot for Homecoming will rely heavily on social media. The shout-outs already have begun. A student excitedly retweeted the news: “@oswegoalumni is coordinating a Homecoming next fall at Oswego—first since the 1970s—time to celebrate being a Laker!”

Kelly said the informality and spontaneity of social media should help set a good tone for Homecoming 2015. “We’re trying to make Homecoming just fun, engaging and build school pride and spirit,” Kelly said. “We’re trying not to have too much formality.”

Yet with the college in the midst of the $40 million “With Passion and Purpose” fundraising campaign, Homecoming also aims to honor alumni contributors and demonstrate to today’s students how those dollars help make college less expensive and more rewarding.

“The student scholarship winners and donors’ breakfast will be a larger scale event,” Kelly said. “Often donors meet the beneficiaries of their gifts in one-on-one encounters when they return to campus. The alumni really enjoy the connections as they see their dollars at work.”

Making the Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon coincident with Homecoming should not only boost interest, she said, but also make a statement about the history and excellence of Oswego athletics through the years. The athletics department will have opportunities during the day to bring alumni of various sports up to date on Oswego’s 24 NCAA-level programs.

Due to the college’s busy schedule of established weekend celebrations in the fall, Homecoming will follow the Whiteout Game this year against men’s hockey archrival Plattsburgh, which will take place on Friday, Nov. 13.

Homecoming on the following day will build toward the evening’s Potsdam game, and Kelly said several hundred tickets would be set aside for alumni to purchase in advance. Also tentatively scheduled on Nov. 14 are women’s ice hockey vs. Utica and women’s basketball vs. Clarkson.

PHOTO CAPTION: Spirit, let’s hear it—Homecoming will return to campus Nov. 14 after an absence of more than 40 years. While a parade (top) served as a Homecoming centerpiece “back in the day,” the college hopes to engage alumni and current students with a fun and valuable set of events and networking opportunities this fall, trying to carry over the Whiteout spirit (bottom). This year’s Plattsburgh-Oswego rivalry game will take place Friday, Nov. 13, followed by a Homecoming centerpiece for this year, the Potsdam-Oswego men’s hockey game, the following day.

Fri May 01, 2015
Former SA president to preside at Torchlight

Scott D. Wiley, a 1999 Oswego graduate, will serve as this year’s master of ceremonies for the Commencement Eve Dinner and Torchlight Ceremony on Friday, May 15.

Fri May 01, 2015
Chemistry's Damkaci to receive provost's mentorship award

Fehmi Damkaci, a chemistry faculty member long active with his students in laboratory research, journal publications, conference presentations and career guidance, will receive the 2015 Provost’s Award for Mentoring in Scholarly and Creative Activity.

Fehmi DamkaciSupporting Damkaci’s selection are long, detailed and glowing nomination letters from five current and former students whose lives changed due to his mentorship, along with a listing of a score of research-assistant mentees who’ve gone on to top graduate schools and/or jobs in chemistry.

The letters attest that Damkaci, an associate professor who came to Oswego in 2006 following a post-doctoral fellowship in organic chemistry at Boston College, forges strong connections with students not only in the classroom, but in rigorous and complex laboratory activities involving such experiments as the total synthesis of molecules usually found only in nature.

Working with Damkaci “taught me countless laboratory skills that made me stand out among other applicants when I was applying for Ph.D. programs in organic chemistry,” wrote Nicholas Massaro, a chemistry alumnus on both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels and now a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. “His encouragement made everything seem possible ... Dr. Damkaci helped me realize what I wanted to be, and showed me the steps to reach my goals using my education from SUNY Oswego.”

Currently a researcher in North Carolina, Ryan Cotroneo, with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and master’s in chemistry from SUNY Oswego, pointed to Damkaci’s teaching style as a key to his effectiveness.

“Dr. Damkaci constantly demands input from students, which in turn grows into intelligent conversations that make the students think for themselves. Not only is he teaching the course at hand, he is teaching the student skills that are needed in their future academic career and professional experiences,” wrote Cotroneo, who co-authored with Damkaci and alumnus Adam Szymaniak an article accepted with only minor revisions for the Journal of Chemical Education titled “Total Synthesis of Diabetes Drug Rosiglitazone for the Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum.”

Strong relationships

Szymaniak, now a doctoral candidate in organic chemistry at Boston College, said he struggled to put into words how much Damkaci’s roles as teacher, research mentor and friend have meant to him.

“I don’t think it is possible to explain in one word how much of an impact Dr. Damkaci has had on my life through the multiple classes I have taken with him and the two years of organic chemistry research,” wrote Szymaniak, a 2013 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. “The relationship that we have developed is one that I will always maintain ...”

Szymaniak, who published a journal article on the Biginelli reaction as co-author with Damkaci, added, “Fehmi is a laid-back, funny, motivational, extremely intelligent and immensely helpful research mentor, which after two years of successful research is how I believe it should be.”

As laid-back as Damkaci can appear, however, all his student nominators said he fosters hard work, focus, staying on task and finding answers to difficult problems. Several of the nominators quoted Damkaci’s signature ending to emails: “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

“As a mentor, he has always stressed the importance of keeping a deadline as well as the importance of organization and communication while working as a group,” wrote December 2014 chemistry alumnus Joshua Malone, who added, “His teaching skills have motivated me to become a professor, so I can inspire and motivate others the way he has.”

Best known as the founder and director of the GENIUS Olympiad, a global high school environmental competition, Damkaci also is board of trustees president of the Syracuse Academy of Science charter school in Syracuse. With four other scientists, he holds a 2007 patent titled “Use of nano-gold particles as biosensors.”

Fri May 01, 2015
Insatiable intellectual David Vampola revels in helping students grow

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet spirited teacher David Vampola, a computer science faculty member whose own hunger for knowledge and self-discovery has made him an enthusiastic proponent of cognitive science, information science and other interdisciplinary studies.

David VampolaQ. When did you come to SUNY Oswego?
I spent much of my (early) adult life in Boston and spent some time in Europe. I followed my life partner, Dr. Jean Chambers of the philosophy department, here in 1995. The computer science people, along with our administration, were kind enough to see that I could be of some use. I taught as an adjunct until 1998, when I became full time. I’ve managed to make a life for myself here, and a wonderful life it is.

Q. What do you think about the students at SUNY Oswego?
I love my students. What I like about these students is that they are not at all pretentious. The motivated ones are interested in learning, interested in feedback, and they care. I have friends who teach at Ivy League universities. They complain that the students are always trying to show they know more than the professor. The dynamic here is not that teachers are on a pedestal, but the students are engaged with the learning. They just really are curious about the world. They don’t realize that they give as much to me as I could possibly give to them.

Q. What do you think about SUNY Oswego itself?
There’s a real momentum here, and I’m glad to continue to be a part of it. It’s exciting. It’s dynamic. All segments of the university have played a part in it. We’ve done some amazing things here. We’re doing research—and we’re doing it within the context of this being primarily a teaching institution. I try to get out one or two research articles a year. And the students want to know about my research. They like that we’re in the trenches with them. We’re all partners in the pursuit of knowledge. We’re all working together to push back frontiers as a collective.

Q. Can you share with us a basic definition of cognitive science?
Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary approach to the way the mind works. I’m thinking here not just of cognition—the act of thinking itself—but the role of emotions. We’re more than just reasoning creatures, so we need to analyze emotions and impulses, as well. The mind is an extraordinary entity, and it seems to me that we need to have philosophy, computer science, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, physics, mathematics—which is one my favorites—to try to understand the processes of the mind.

Q. Do you recall when you first became interested in studying the mind?
No, because I was so young. This is a lifelong interest. I should tell you that when I was an undergraduate—back when dirt was new (laughs)—the field of cognitive science didn’t exist. One of the reasons I think I studied so many different things was that I was in search of cognitive science. I definitely would have majored in it. I bounced around—I was interested in neuroscience, I was interested in social psychology, I was interested in mathematical logic. Fortunately, we developed a cognitive science program here in the late ‘90s, and I was a helper to professor Craig Graci in establishing that program.

Q. Is information science a subset of cognitive science?
No, it is its own thing. They have affinities. If you tug on one, you wind up pulling the other in. Information science takes some of the elements of computer science—most notably the way that data are processed—and specifically asks how do people use these data and how can these data be structured and presented in a way that’s most useful to people. I also teach a course “Introduction to Digital Humanities,” the use of computational, informational and cognitive tools to understand traditional disciplines such as English, history and, to some extent, philosophy. It’s fascinating. I’ve got a great group of students—they take it because they want to take it.

Q. It sounds as if you’re pretty invested in interdisciplinary studies.
I want to understand myself and the world I live in. I feel that no single discipline or line of inquiry can provide me with an answer to that. It’s an unanswerable question—let’s face it, we have finite lives—but if we see that happiness is trying to achieve a goal, even if you can’t achieve it, then I find that I’m happiest trying to find the answer through a lot of different means. I’ve been really involved with interdisciplinary programs on this campus. I have been director of information science in the past, and I was also director of IPAC, the Interdisciplinary Programs and Activities Center, for a couple of years. Fritz Messere and Damian Schofield and I were the first to draft the integrated health systems and health information technologies (graduate certificate) programs.  I teach in three of the four schools of the college: I teach MBA 511 (“Management Information Systems”) in business, I team-teach with Ulises Mejias and Cara Brewer Thompson in the first course in the integrated media certificate in CMA, I teach in the honors program and, of course, computer science, information science and cognitive science.

Q. How do you engage students in these complex, cross-discipline subjects?
Many of our students have good, inquiring minds. What I try to do is to motivate those minds. I want them, obviously, to know about a particular discipline, but also how the discipline relates to their own interests, and how they can be expanded (intellectually) by learning that discipline. For example, I have a final project in every one of my classes, and it’s something that the students define. I want them to take something of themselves away from the class. They’ll always remember it. I want them to use their time here as a base upon which they can build a lifetime of learning. (Animatedly shows several students’ scholarly posters on subjects from zombies and problems of consciousness to evolutionary psychology.) I’m like a dad—I keep my students’ work around. (Laughs.)

Q. You’ve had Challenge Grants and otherwise encouraged undergraduate research.
This is a special time in one’s life, this period from 18 to 24. It’s a time where you’re becoming specialized in your knowledge, but you’re not overly specialized. I like to see students grow intellectually. Involving students in independent studies, which I do a lot of, and supervising a lot of our honors theses, the most satisfying thing to me is to watch that wonderful growth process that occurs most dramatically at this age. It is such a delight to watch people, whether they’re writing a program for the first time and it works—they always light up!—or seeing a senior thesis done well and they hand you that final copy and there’s that smile and they know they’ve done something interesting.

Q. What are your own research interests?
Wow, they’re all over the place, and now you’ve got me thinking about all the things I should do this summer! (Laughs.) I’ve got a list of about 20 projects I’m working on.
Lately, I’ve been very involved in digital humanities—I published an article trying to define the field and I’m working on two articles on digital humanities’ emergence as a discipline. I gave a talk in Rome last summer on something I call empirical aesthetics. What I’m trying to do there is to root theories of art and beauty into a scientific framework, basically.

Q. Do you also have eclectic interests in your off-campus life?
I don’t have time, to be honest with you. I obviously like to read. I like to travel—I don’t do enough of that. In the summer, when the weather’s nice, I like walking around this lovely town of ours. Jean and I have no children. I tell my students, “I don’t have any kids—you’re my kids.” The only thing is, I don’t have to pay their tuition bills! (Laughs.)

Thu Apr 30, 2015
May grads prepared for next stage

More than 1,700 SUNY Oswego students are eligible to take part in the three Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16, with many already set on their next stage of life.

Thu Apr 30, 2015
Chancellor's Award honors longtime electrical supervisor

John Ferlito, a 38-year college employee and, since 1998, the campus electrical supervisor, will receive the 2015 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.

John FerlitoIn day-to-day operations and in preparation for special events, Ferlito’s hallmarks are customer service, dedication and personal follow-through, according to utilities manager John Bricker, who nominated his Facilities Maintenance and Operations colleague for the award.

“Customer service is his strong point,” Bricker wrote. “He makes sure everybody’s needs are met, by using a personal touch. He will dedicate whatever time is needed to make sure events go off without a problem. He makes himself available and talks to people to see if he can do anything more to help.”

Behind the scenes, the electrical crew’s role is often of critical importance. Long hours for Ferlito and his team led up to the big day Oct. 16 when Al Roker, the Weather Channel and NBC’s “Today” show set up in Marano Campus Center, followed by Charlie Rose, Roker and three other media stars at the Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, topped off at night by the campus-produced “Tomorrow Show,” featuring Steve Levy and college President Deborah F. Stanley in a public launch for the “With Passion and Purpose” $40 million fundraising campaign.

With primary responsibility for electrical distribution system maintenance on campus, Ferlito also has taken on many other tasks. One was improving the visibility of Pathfinder’s police station with new exterior lights. Then-Chief Cynthia Adam of University Police publicly thanked Ferlito and his crew for helping the station become a “beacon of the night.”

Ferlito also oversees the electrical system’s safety. “He insures that the electrical system on our campus is reliable and up to code,” Bricker said.

The medal for the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service will be conferred on Ferlito at Oswego’s December commencement ceremony.

Thu Apr 30, 2015
Part-time teachers Cuccaro, Motto earn Provost's Award

Carlo Cuccaro in counseling and psychological services and Christine Motto of English and creative writing are 2015 recipients of the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Part-Time Faculty.

Carlo Cuccaro

Carlo CuccaroIn a letter recommending Cuccaro, Michael LeBlanc, chair of counseling and psychological services in the School of Education, said the longtime school psychologist at Lanigan Elementary School in Fulton “embodies the ideals” of this honor.

“His teaching is excellent and well received, his use of advanced technology and creative teaching techniques surpasses many of our full-time faculty, and he is well respected by both students and faculty as demonstrated by his evaluations and service to the CPS Department of SUNY Oswego,” LeBlanc wrote.

An adjunct instructor here for 20 years, Cuccaro earned both a master’s degree and a certificate of advanced studies in counseling and psychological services at Oswego. He has taught “Educational Handicapping Conditions and Learning Disabilities,” “Foundations of Educational and Psychological Appraisal,” “Research Methods for Classroom Teachers,” “Professional Problems in School Psychology,” and numerous others both inside and outside his department.

“I love teaching,” Cuccaro wrote in a statement of his teaching philosophy. “I feel energized trying to engage a group of people in a meaningful way over a given topic. I thrive on the laughter, head nods and smiles of students.”

When he first became a teacher, Cuccaro developed a “do not do” list that served as the foundation for his career as an instructor, including do not test on things that are never discussed in class, do not stand behind a podium for the entire class and do not allow students to totally “check out” in class.

Cuccaro wrote that he has supplemented his early list with a set of practices and beliefs to guide his teaching. “I feel an immense responsibility to be prepared, respectful, engaging, professional and knowledgeable,” he said. “Ultimately, I want to challenge students to think about their own learning far beyond the grade they earn in class.”

The nomination noted Cuccaro connects very well with students, who routinely give him among the highest possible evaluation scores and praise. “He is always concerned with his students’ perception of their learning and competence,” student Megan Furman wrote in a supporting letter. “If his students doubt themselves, he is willing to support them in any way and provide opportunities to work on their skills.”

Author of several research articles in peer-reviewed journals, Cuccaro received the 2004 Frank Plumeau School Psychologist of the Year Award from the New York Association of School Psychologists.

Christine Motto

Christine MottoDirector of creative writing Leigh Wilson said Motto, a part-time faculty member since 1999, “has contributed in countless ways” to the success of students, faculty and the writing program.

“Anyone passing Professor Motto’s office or classrooms can hear the buzz of student discussion, often punctuated by laughter—she distributes joy to her students as much as she distributes the self-discipline and skills young writers need,” Wilson wrote in nominating Motto for the teaching-excellence award.

Motto, a 1989 alumna of what was then the English/writing arts program at SUNY Oswego, also has taught poetry writing, composition and courses with a service learning component, as well as participating in the summer intensive English program. She pursues a writing career—including fiction and poetry publications in national journals and a novel and poetry collection among current submissions to publishers—and has done readings around the region.

Students such as senior creative writing major Ryan Greenfield, who submitted an additional letter of nomination, respond to Motto’s teaching style. “Laying the foundations of skills, Professor Motto works with her students to develop strength in their abilities,” Greenfield wrote. “She uses humorous anecdotes to create a fun and comfortable learning environment for all.”

In an indication of the rigor of her classes, another student wrote in an end-of-semester evaluation, “I honestly loved the class. We had a great class dynamic and I always enjoyed coming to class. Not a class for the faint of heart.”

Motto, in a statement of teaching philosophy, said she starts each semester with a quote from Roald Dahl that the essence of good writing is rewriting. “Overall, I strive to find a common ground where the students and I can begin, and a common vision that invites students to challenge themselves and me,” she wrote. Her objective, she wrote, is “to teach students not to settle for mediocrity, and ultimately gain confidence to communicate effectively in a competitive world.”

A creative-writing judge the past two years for the GENIUS Olympiad, Motto also has participated frequently as an honors thesis adviser at Oswego. She has a master of fine arts degree from George Mason University and has taught there and at American University, Syracuse University, Jefferson Community College and Cayuga Community College.

Wed Apr 29, 2015
SUNY honors Michaelis, Morris for professional service

Andrew Michaelis, systems administrator and Oracle database administrator, and Gary Morris, director of career services, are recipients of the 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Andrew Michaelis

Andrew MichaelisMichaelis, a 1991 alumnus and 23-year college employee, received praise from supporters at Oswego and across SUNY as a technological visionary, an admired and emulated innovator, ingenious problem-solver and selfless collaborator.

Stanley, in a letter forwarding his award nomination, called Michaelis “a futuristic thinker” who “maintains a fierce commitment to keeping our campus ahead of technological changes.”

Michaelis’ supporters said his job titles don’t do credit to all that he has taken on and accomplished, among them efforts that have increased the efficient use of databases and other technological tools, saved countless hours of time for students, faculty and staff and reduced the use of paper.  He has become a leader in SUNY in solving complex data access, security and interface problems, and higher education software vendors have moved to adopt his solutions.

Michaelis’ many contributions include his role in developing myDegree, a mobile app to provide students with information on their progress toward a degree in four years under terms of the Oswego Guarantee; a secure system for instant creation of email and computer accounts for new students and faculty; code that taps the college’s Ellucian Banner student information system and other databases to automate registration under the First Choice course-selection program for freshmen; in-house solutions to allow professors to view students’ photos and key documents in the MyOswego course registration and management system; and a first-in-SUNY method to apply Single Sign-On user authentication to Banner.

“Inside the Administrative Technology team that Andy is part of, he is recognized as a leader and mentor,” wrote Sean Moriarty, the college’s chief technology officer. “When there are problems, Andy works diligently to ensure that students have access to (mission-critical systems) as quickly as possible, regardless of the time of the issue. But his true value is that his vision creates a roadmap of what needs to be accomplished now to implement tomorrow’s solutions.”

Michael B. Notarius, chief information officer for SUNY’s Information Technology Exchange Center, wrote that he has long worked collaboratively with Michaelis, most notably on the SUNY-wide Identity Management initiative critical to SUNY Federated Services and the Open SUNY venture. “Andy was the first to share his expertise on Identity Management with integration to the Banner student information system,” Notarius wrote.

In 2014, Michaelis was one of the first six members to receive the Student Information and Campus Administrative Systems organization’s Partner Award for Outstanding Service. In addition to his SUNY Oswego computer science degree, he has numerous systems and database certifications and has made several presentations at SUNY-wide conferences.

Gary Morris

Gary MorrisIn a letter forwarding Morris’ award nomination to SUNY, President Deborah F. Stanley lauded innovations that have advanced Career Services’ reach and effectiveness, including the annual Health Care Conference, his longstanding commitment to globalization efforts and a multifaceted approach to gathering first-destination data on the college’s graduates.

“Gary has moved our campus forward in several ways,” the president wrote. “He routinely masters cutting-edge technology, staying abreast of new technological advances and using them strategically to enhance his department’s program and service delivery. He is well-known on campus as a collaborator, regularly bringing together faculty and staff to engage in discussions that ultimately benefit our students and overall campus community.”

Morris, a 1988 Oswego alumnus, a 19-year employee here and the career services director since 2011, oversees career and major exploration, career development, senior transition and alumni support. A summary of his own career for the SUNY award notes he “has worked tirelessly to integrate career planning into classroom experiences through activities such as curricular infusion, classroom presentations and demonstrations.”

Among his innovations, Morris has created or coordinated NYC Career Connections, Backpack to Briefcase, the Etiquette Dinner, Online Professionalism and Sophomore Year Experience. He introduced such technological tools as Optimal Resume and Candid Career. School of Business Dean Richard Skolnik praised Morris for bringing recruiters and faculty together, developing “strong ties with numerous firms.”

Kathleen S. Evans, assistant vice president of student affairs, wrote in a letter of support, “He is consistently a very high performer, achieving extraordinary results in all projects and initiatives with which he is affiliated.” Morris initiated a three-part program to reverse declines in graduate survey responses—#Ozmystory, LinkedIn Photo Booth and Digital Dirt Squad—leveraging social media to reach graduates and current students and achieving a 65 percent response rate. The SUNY average is 40 percent, she wrote.

Morris, who has a master’s in education from Kent State University, has held leadership positions with the Central New York, SUNY and regional career development organizations. SUNY colleagues have recognized him with numerous awards, including best-in-SUNY honors for his first-destination graduate survey strategy, the sophomore-success initiative and the Backpack to Briefcase networking and workshops conference. His achievements extend beyond his duties to student engagement: He co-led an Oswego Going Global course that ended with scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro and headed a humanitarian mission to El Salvador.

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