Two receive Chancellor's Awards for teaching

Florence KirkTwo Oswego professors—Dr. Florence Kirk, associate professor of accounting, and Dr. Julie Pretzat-Merchant, professor and chair of music—have received SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Kirk also received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence last year at Oswego. “Dr. Florence Kirk inspires students by serving as a role model for high achievement through persistent effort,” SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said.

The award selection committee noted that much of her research involves finding the best ways to teach accounting. “She is well known by her colleagues across the state as being on the cutting edge of financial theory instruction,” wrote Charles Spector for the committee.

“Florence takes every student under her wing, not just the ‘smart ones,’” he wrote. “Not only does she excel in the classroom, but she also displays an indefatigable energy to enhance the curriculum within the School of Business.” Her innovations include accounting laboratory classes and a graduate class in accounting theory.

Kirk has been adviser to the student Accounting Society and Oswego’s award-winning chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and finance honor society. Each year she coordinates student participation in the Green & Seifter Accounting Challenge.

She received her doctorate in accounting from Cornell University and previously taught at Syracuse University, where the Association of Graduate Business Students gave her its Outstanding Faculty Award.

Julie PretzatHired to head SUNY Oswego’s choral music program, Pretzat-Merchant also coordinated the creation the college’s new arts management minor, in addition to excelling as a teacher.

“Students write about her passion for teaching, . . . high standards, and her ability to bring out the best in each,” wrote Marilynn Smiley for the award selection committee. “Despite the fact that she demands a lot from her students, they flock to her classes in great numbers.”

President Stanley noted that “the music program at Oswego focuses on performance and involves untold hours of extracurricular musical activities that are primarily conceived, managed and presented under the leadership and direction of Professor Pretzat-Merchant,” who directs the College Choir, Festival Chorus and Chamber Singers. She also advises the campus chapter of the music honorary fraternity Mu Beta Psi.

David Belles, her former student who now heads the choral program at Eastern Connecticut State University, credited “her guidance and superlative teaching” for his success.

Pretzat-Merchant was music director and producer of “Voices of Light,” a multimedia production in 2004 on campus that featured the renowned vocal group Anonymous 4. She directed the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble in its recordings broadcast on WCNY’s “Musica Viva” radio program. She received her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.

SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan said that the teaching awards “provide much-deserved university-wide recognition of extraordinary professional achievement. I commend this year’s recipients and the campus presidents, faculty and staff who aid and support them in their success throughout the school year.”

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Photos: Top: Florence Kirk. Bottom: Julie Pretzat-Merchant.

(Posted: May 03, 2006)