SUNY Delhi Faculty and Staff Receive Chancellor's Awards for Professional Excellence

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William Meredith received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching

DELHI, NY (07/13/2018) (readMedia)-- Three SUNY Delhi faculty and staff members have been awarded the 2017-2018 Chancellor's Awards for Excellence for their superior professional achievement and outstanding contributions to education. The prestigious awards are presented each year to acknowledge and encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence among instructional faculty, librarians, and professional staff across State University of New York campuses.

"Our Chancellor's Award recipients epitomize SUNY Delhi's exceptional faculty and staff," said President Michael Laliberte. "They have created an exceptional and innovative educational environment that motivates and provides students with the support they need to pursue their dreams."

"One of my themes for SUNY is individualized education, meaning the work we do to help our students navigate the programs and opportunities within our 64 campuses," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "Our faculty and staff educate, inspire, and support our students to pursue their passions; they are the driving force on campus. Those we honor today are leading this effort through their commitment to their craft and their dedication to our students. I am proud to celebrate and honor this year's recipients William Meredith, Nancy Smith, and Jessica Backus-Foster."

William Meredith received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. Mr. Meredith has made exceptional contributions to teaching and learning throughout his six years as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Delhi. His mastery of teaching is reflected in the diversity courses that he teaches, ranging from Early American History to French 2.

Mr. Meredith is known for his ability to create an open atmosphere that stimulates discussion and questions and encourages students to take risks when learning a new language. Perhaps the ultimate testament to his teaching ability is the consistently high enrollments his courses attract. In addition to teaching, he is active with the History Club, has served as an academic tutor, and led a group of SUNY Delhi students to France.

According to SUNY Delhi Provost Dr. Kelli Ligeikis, "Mr. Meredith consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure student needs are met, devising creative methods to implement in the classroom. Innovation also comes as the result of engaging in in-depth discussions about pedagogy and utilizing new technologies in the classroom with his peers."

Nancy Smith was honored with the Chancellor's Award for Professional Service. For 20 years, Registrar Nancy Smith has continually demonstrated the leadership, technical and problem-solving skills required to lead an office that supports all facets of the college. She is a strict enforcer of policies and protocols, but she also demonstrates flexibility as necessary to meet and support student needs while maintaining the highest campus standards. She has also been a leader in implementing technology that supports academic and student needs.

Mrs. Smith's leadership skills are apparent in other ways as well. She's built a strong team, thanks in part to the creative staff retreats she has hosted around topics such as customer service and adapting to change. She also is an active member of over a dozen campus committees.

"Nancy's professionalism and commitment to SUNY Delhi is exceptional," said Dr. Ligeikis. "She has consistently been willing to take on additional responsibilities as institutional needs have arisen. Nancy is a highly skilled, flexible, and innovative professional whose contributions to students and the college make her most deserving of this recognition."

Jessica Backus-Foster was the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. For 12 years, first as culinary arts instructor and currently as associate professor at SUNY Delhi, Mrs. Backus-Foster has made significant contributions to the college, SUNY, the community, and professional organizations beyond the scope of her position.

Mrs. Backus-Foster has served as faculty advisor to SUNY Delhi's award-winning culinary teams since 2009 and previously served as advisor for high-achieving culinary students and the Multi-Cultural Club. She has served on multiple campus committees, including the most recent presidential search committee and the current strategic planning group. She chaired the Curriculum Committee on two occasions. She has also organized and presented 17 culinary workshops for colleagues and students.

Locally, Mrs. Backus-Foster contributes her expertise as a member of the Consultant Committee for the DCMO BOCES' campus in Sidney Center. She has been involved with Cornell Co-Operative Extension's 4-H program for more than 10 years. Her most recent work with 4-H is focused on developing and implementing community service projects ranging from helping local families to poverty-stricken residents in Africa. As a board member for the Delhi College Campus Child Care Center, she also organized and developed several fund-raising efforts.

"Jessica's service to our students and her colleagues is exemplary," said Dr. Ligeikis. "She is the consummate professional, dedicating her life to helping others."