SUNY Schenectady is pleased to announce that four members of the College’s faculty and staff were chosen to receive the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, which were created more than 41 years ago to honor the distinguished performance of SUNY’s teaching faculty, librarians, and members of the professional and classified services. Recipients receive cast bronze medallions to be worn at commencements, honors convocations, and other ceremonies.
LuAnn Miller-Meeks joined the Registrar’s team in September 2015 as an Information Processing Specialist II. Since that time, she has demonstrated her commitment to students, faculty, and staff through her efficiency, accuracy, promptness, and customer service, while always keeping student success in mind. LuAnn’s friendly demeanor, knowledge of her job, and approachability in an office that sees heavy traffic and high stress make her a true asset for the College.
LuAnn exhibits a total commitment to the goal of SUNY Schenectady: the success of our students. She continually goes above and beyond to ensure students are registered in a timely manner. She takes her time to explain to students the processes involved and helps them complete subsequent steps, which often involve other offices, to get the process completed with patience and dignity. LuAnn often encounters students who are not always knowledgeable of the registration process, but she meets all of them with respect and kindness.
She lends her support and expertise to faculty and staff members to explain the complexities of the registration process, and maintains a positive and supportive attitude in a busy office. For example, she has made sure Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) students can begin their classes on time by assisting with their registrations and efficiently responds and processes the requests when changes and updates are required.
SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Ingrid O’Connell, Professor, School of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism
Ingrid O’Connell joined SUNY Schenectady as an Adjunct Faculty Member in 1994, was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1997, and Professor in 2000. Over her 24 years at SUNY Schenectady, she has taught 11 different courses including three distinct online courses and an internship course (from 2014 to the present).
Ingrid uses a variety of teaching techniques in her instruction including: guest speakers, case studies, site visits, research guides, and projects, as well as extensive use of technology. Her experience working in the industry contributes to her validity as a professor as she continues to work in catering and at special events. She regularly attends conferences and industry education sessions including the: NY Parks and Trails Planning (2018), Albany Hospitality Summit (2018, 2017, and 2015), NYS Hospitality & Tourism Association (NYSHTA) conferences; MPI conferences on industry developments; and Empire State Tourism conferences (from 2008-2012). Additionally, she is a member of Meeting Professionals International and maintains important certifications within her field. She has reviewed several textbooks, contributed to a published article, and participated on panels at many conferences.
In addition to her dedication inside the classroom, Ingrid has advised the Hospitality Club for 15 years and is assuming leadership of the Meeting Professionals International Club.
SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
Dr. Syeda Munaim, Professor, Division of Math, Science, Technology and Health
Dr. Syeda Munaim joined SUNY Schenectady as a full-time faculty member in 2004. Since then her service to campus has been abundant.
She has served on 10 search committees and on special committees including: Achieving the Dream/Student Success Initiative; Scholarship Committee; Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety; President’s Council on Campus Safety; Continuing and Career Appointments; President’s Advisory Task Force; and Member Advisory Council for Biotechnology and Health Studies. Syeda served as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee and Professional Policies, Nominations, and Awards. She has been recognized with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching; and the Student Government Association Award of Excellence.
Syeda played a key role in developing Biotechnology and Biological Technician programs, as well as a Biology concentration, and has arranged articulation agreements with the University at Albany and SUNY Cobleskill.
Her service beyond SUNY Schenectady has been considerable. She has served as the liaison for the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference and between MSTH faculty and Ellis School of Nursing; reviewed books for publishers; and served as a reader and a consultant for AP courses for the College Board. Syeda taught Applied Plant Physiology (Biotechnology) at the Jinling Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China.
SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
Megan Hall, Assistant Professor, Division of Liberal Arts
Megan Hall joined SUNY Schenectady as a full-time faculty member in 2013. Since that time she has demonstrated remarkable dedication to creative production beyond her normal teaching responsibilities.
Megan has written and published four novels: Always Jesse: A Novel (2016); The Misadventures of Marvin Miller (2017); Smothered (2017); and Sutherland (2018). She has also published 11 short stories, two poems, and three non-fiction essays. Some of these were published by 50/50 press, a publishing company established by Megan and her husband, and others were published by Saguaro Books, Centrum Press, Flash Fiction Press, and Citron Review. Megan has also illustrated seven published children’s books and edited 14 books submitted to her publishing company.
She has earned awards and grants that recognize her validity as a creative scholar including the Expanding Your Global Coverage Award from the Southeast Asia Program’s Outreach Office at Cornell University and the Center for Khmer Studies in October 2014 and the Community Fellows Grant from AmeriCorps in 2012.
Megan revived the Rhythms literary club and developed the “Little Free Library.” She serves on the Curriculum Committee; the Student Success Initiative/Achieving the Dream; Retention and Enrollment Committee; Teacher Education Transfer Assessment Committee and as the coordinator for English and Composition.
SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching
Arla JN Wilding, Adjunct Faculty Member, School of Music
Arla JN Wilding has been an Adjunct Faculty Member in the School of Music since September 2011. She has taught an impressive array of courses, covering many different aspects of music. In addition, she teaches voice and piano lessons, and accompanies for performances.
Arla has taken on diverse teaching assignments and has always been successful. Her course evaluations yield especially high rankings in enthusiasm and caring, both essential attributes of good student-centered teaching. In fact, in May 2016 the Student Government Association named her Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. She maintains policies that are clear but adaptable to student needs and interests. Arla is centered on student success and determined to empower students by giving them lifelong skills without coddling. As a result, her students are self-sufficient and confident.
Arla’s varied teaching methods and effectiveness are substantiated by positive reports of classroom observations. Dr. William Meckley, retired Dean of the School of Music, commented that “she is one of our most valued instructors.”
She is a co-founder and the musical and artistic director of three outstanding extracurricular choral groups: Totally Pitchin’ (a larger mixed a capella club started in 2014), Out of Time (a barbershop quartet) and Vintage Harmonics (a women’s ensemble).