Fredonia honors faculty, staff at President’s Recognition Luncheon

Submitted Photo Honorees at the President’s Recognition Luncheon, displaying their framed award certificates with Fredonia President Virginia Horvath (center) are (from left): Dr. Rob Deemer, Mark Suida, Dr. Scott Ferguson and Dr. Jill Reese. Pictured below is Ann Carden.

Four faculty and staff with over 40 years of collective service at the State University of New York at Fredonia — Ann Carden, Dr. Scott Ferguson, Dr, Rob Deemer and Mark Suida — have received the President’s Award for Excellence, while colleague Dr. Jill Reese has been given the Fredonia College Council Award for Community Engagement.

A record turnout of 256 attendees, representing faculty, staff, family members and alumni, honored the awardees at the 18th annual President’s Recognition Luncheon held recently in the Williams Center Multipurpose Room.

Carden, an associate professor of communication and recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, has dedicated her teaching career to building and refining the Public Relations curriculum at Fredonia to match the needs of the industry and serve students. She turned what was a fledgling area of emphasis in the Department of Communication into its largest major.

Community engagement has been at the core of the program. Carden partners with non-profits so her Capstone students can perform real public relations work with key partners in the community. Her focus on innovation and growth led to the creation of public relations courses devoted exclusively to social media, and then took that step further by redesigning the PR curriculum to integrate social media as an area of professional and academic study at all levels of the program.

Carden has attained the prestigious rank of Public Relations Society of America Fellow, indicating that she exemplifies the best core values and expertise of the field. She is regularly published in the highly competitive PRSA journals Public Relations Strategy and Public Relations Tactics and advises the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at Fredonia.

Though unable to attend the luncheon, a video message of Carden expressing her appreciation for receiving the award and congratulating the co-recipients for a reward they so richly deserve, was shown. Carden indicated she was looking forward to seeing photos of the event.

“Teaching has been my life, and that’s probably an understatement. My father used to say that if you had a job that you loved you would not work a day in your life. If that’s true, then I have not worked since 2001,” Carden said, referring to the year she joined the adjunct faculty ranks. “Fredonia has been my home; you, the faculty and students, have been my family, and for that I am so grateful for the opportunity to be recognized for doing that, for doing what you have a passion for is icing on the cake. I truly, truly can’t thank you enough for including me and recognizing me in this honor.”

At the conclusion of the recorded message, the audience turned toward an overhead video camera so the standing ovation could be recorded and given to Carden.

Carden earned a Master of Science in multidisciplinary studies, with a public relations management focus, from State University of New York College at Buffalo, a certificate in public relations and advertising from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a broadcasting focus, from West Virginia University.

Dr. Ferguson, associate professor of biology and recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, has demonstrated effectiveness in teaching, a capacity for innovation and initiative, continued personal growth and zeal for Fredonia and his students.

His teaching capabilities in lecture and lab settings have transformed and elevated molecular genetics instruction. Ferguson has a reputation as a rigorous instructor who sets high expectations for his students, but is available to assist with their concerns or questions. Students report enhancing their study skills in his genetics course. His upper level courses provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to immerse themselves in molecular biology literature, perform research in a teaching lab setting, prepare mock grant proposals and develop presentations based on research literature.

Among the 27 undergraduate research students and four master’s students that Ferguson has mentored in his eight years at Fredonia are 17 graduates, including nine who enrolled in Ph.D. programs at prestigious universities.

Ferguson’s ongoing pursuit of new information has led to a high level of innovation and initiative in his teaching. Ferguson incorporates his own research into the genetics lab that he designed, thus allowing students to participate in research-based activities in their sophomore year. Activities in his junior level molecular genetics lab also draw heavily upon Ferguson’s research.

Prior to joining the Department of Biology at Fredonia in 2009, Ferguson was a visiting postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He earned a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine and a B.S. in biology at Westminster College.

Dr. Deemer, associate professor of music, head of the Music Composition Area in the School of Music and recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in University Service, has advanced effectiveness, innovation, growth and the spirit of Fredonia in both his faculty role and in his work on faculty governance. Under his leadership of Faculty Senate, the campus received the first-ever SUNY award for Excellence in Shared Governance in 2014.

As chair of Faculty Senate for four years, Deemer worked closely with the provost, faculty subcommittees and UUP representatives to address campus issues and initiatives in the most appropriate and productive ways. While on leave as a fellow of the American Council on Education, he has contributed to the School of Music’s Right Serving, Right Sizing report.

Initiative, creativity and perseverance in building faculty, staff and administrative consensus on a variety of issues are among Deemer’s core strengths. He has been praised for drawing on his training and experience as a composer and conductor to orchestrate effective collaboration across academic disciplines and university divisions.

Deemer, who joined the School of Music in 2007, has a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Music in composition and Performer’s Certificate in Conducting from Northern Illinois University, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Illinois University.

Campus involvement by Suida, assistant director of Campus Life, coordinator of the Leadership Studies Minor and Program and recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in University Service, extends to large-scale events, serving on numerous committees and facilitating a variety of workshops.

Suida has dedicated himself to continually improve the academic component of the leadership Development Program and Minor by challenging students to develop their personal leadership style. Each year, Suida’s LEAD 201 classes partner with local non-profit organizations to create “Change Projects” and sustainable partnerships. More than 200 students are enrolled in the Leadership Development Program, while another 60 students having minors in leadership. He has collaborated with School of Business faculty and student interns for the last three years to conduct research on how experiential education impacts success post-graduation.

Suida also assists in the management of the Williams Center’s Multipurpose Room, as well as its conference rooms, club spaces and lounges.

Suida, who joined Fredonia in 2008, has a Master of Science in student personnel administration and Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. He is affiliated with the New York Leadership Educators Consortium, Western New York Leadership Consortium and Success in the City, Buffalo.

Dr. Reese, assistant professor of Music Education in the School of Music and recipient of the Fredonia College Council Award for Community Engagement, has compiled an impressive array of community engagement activities, in addition to a full load of teaching, scholarship and service.

Reese reinvigorated the School of Music’s Community Children’s Concert series, both as a mentor to student performing groups and as a facilitator for the community concerts held at off-campus locations. She secured a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant for 20 iPads to be used in the School of Music and community, developing new partnerships with the Campus and Community Children’s Center, Youngerman Center and Wheelock Universal Pre-K Center.

From her initial role as a volunteer music teacher at the Campus and Community Children’s Center, bringing certified music instruction to the center for the first time, Reese developed a program that places Fredonia Music majors into the center as both observers and teachers. In this role, they learn the pedagogy and theory behind early childhood music and apply it in field experiences.

The Fredonia Ukulele community group, which attracts an average 40 to 50 community members of all ages to a nearby coffee house for jam sessions twice a month, was founded by Reese. Through it, she has opened the world of music to non-musicians in a friendly, helpful and welcoming manner. Reese also established a ukulele loan program at Darwin R. Barker Library.

Reese, who joined the School of Music in 2011, has a doctorate in Music Education from Temple University, a Master’s in music education from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Michigan State University.

Fredonia employees commemorating work anniversaries in five-year increments, from five through 40 years, were recognized, as were employees who have retired or will retire during the 2016-2017 academic year.