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GCC Faculty, Staff Honored with SUNY Chancellor’s Award

August 21, 2014

Batavia, NY- Seven members of the Genesee Community College staff team have been recognized by State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher for outstanding contributions to their profession, the campus and the community. The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence is given in recognition of consistently superior professional achievement and encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

The following faculty and staff members earned the 2014 award and were honored at a reception on the East Lawn of the Batavia Campus on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

Award for Excellence in Teaching

Amy Conley, Assistant Professor of Accounting – Amy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from St. John Fisher College and an MBA from RIT. She spent 15 years working in the public and private sector, eight of them as chief financial officer of AES Eastern Energy, a major subsidiary of a public energy company. Amy also worked at Xerox as a financial analyst and earned her CPA while working for a national public accounting firm. Amy enjoys the daily challenge of preparing students for careers in business and accounting. She is actively involved with students on campus as both the advisor of GCC’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (CEO Club) and as a leader of the school’s Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Outside of work Amy is active at her church, where she serves as both a teacher and member of the stewardship committee. Amy resides in Middleport, NY.

Kate Klaiber, Assistant Professor of English – Kate joined GCC in 2010 and teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) and Elementary English courses. She grew up in Old Forge, NY in the Adirondacks and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Spanish from Pace University and a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Utah. A military spouse, Kate traveled extensively and taught ESL and English as an adjunct instructor in several U.S. states and Europe, including Utica College, Holy Trinity Orthodox Monastery in Jordanville, NY, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Germany, and Salt Lake Community College in Utah. Kate is a beloved teacher who goes the extra mile to ensure her students’ success. She arranges tours of the region for international students and serves as co-advisor to the International Student Organization (ISO), open to all students interested in learning about people from other cultures. She resides in Le Roy with her husband, Kurt, and daughter Maureen.

Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Norman Gayford, Professor of English – Norm Gayford first came to GCC as an adjunct instructor in 1986, having taught high school English in New York and New Hampshire. He has had a long and distinguished career at the College. This is his third SUNY Chancellor’s Award. He was previously honored in 1992 for Excellence in Teaching and in 2007 for Excellence in Faculty Service. He has also twice received the GCC President’s Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and 2007. Besides teaching English, Philosophy, Public Speaking, and Career Planning courses, Gayford mentors Honors and Independent Study students. He is a prolific writer and is very active in the GCC Theatre program as well. He has directed and appeared in many productions by the Forum Players Theatre Ensemble. Gayford is also active in the Warsaw community, where he makes his home. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. Lawrence University and received a full scholarship to Brown University where he earned a Master of Arts in Teaching. He earned another Master’s in English from The College at Brockport.

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Garth Swanson, Professor of History – Garth Swanson joined the College in 1992 having earned an associate’s degree from Jamestown Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from St. Bonaventure, and a Master’s Degree in History from Ohio University. In 2003, he became a full-time history faculty member. In all his endeavors at GCC, Garth has demonstrated a commitment to scholarship, energy and creativity. He has been a leader in curriculum development, expanding global and regional history course offerings and keeping courses relevant to an increasingly diverse population. He has also been a leader in pioneering new instructional technologies and distance learning, having taught his first distance learning course in 1992. He earned a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007. Garth has served on the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee and the Academic Assessment Committee and was one of 18 educators statewide invited by the New York State Education Department to serve on a Social Studies content advisory panel for grades K-12. He has also been part of the SUNY transfer pathways review process. Garth is active in the community as well, serving on the board of the local historical society and offering his time and energy to local schools and medical facilities. He and his family live in Stafford.

Award for Excellence in Professional Service

Nina Warren, Director of Library Services – A native of Woodstock, NY Nina earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. Lawrence University. After six years of success in large and small business settings, she attended graduate school to pursue an academic career earning an English Teaching Certificate for grades 7-12 from SUNY New Paltz and a Master of Library Science Degree from Syracuse University in 1992. She started at GCC as an intern in 1991 and joined the College full-time in 1993, as reference and off-campus services librarian and instructor. During her 22 years at GCC she has consistently and successfully taken on additional responsibilities that have earned her accolades including a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Librarianship in 1996 as well as the GCC President’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2007, she was selected for the newly revised position of director of Library Services. Nina has offered her knowledge and time to many other College committees including Administrative Assessment, Strategic Plan, Middle States Accreditation Review, and Academic Senate. She has served on numerous screening committees and organized two library exhibits as part of the College’s Civil War Initiative. In addition, she coordinates the Tale @ GCC committee, part of A Tale for Three Counties community reading project. She has also strived to stay current with changing trends in library services. In 2013 she was part of the inaugural cohort of the Library Leadership in a Digital Age Institute at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nina resides in Churchville, but travels often and widely. She’s visited 36 U.S. states and 27 countries.

Judith Littlejohn, Online Learning Technical Assistant – After earning two AAS degrees in Modelmaking and Graphic Design from GCC, Judie, who grew up in West Irondequoit, joined the college staff as a testing associate in November 2000. In January 2005, she took a full time position in Online Learning, advising students and helping them in all aspects of online coursework. She’s also taught an online history course having earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in History from the College at Brockport where she received the Brockport Bermudes Research Travel Award. What Judie likes most about GCC is “that this is an institution sincerely dedicated to student success.” Judie puts her love of history to good use as Town and Village Historian in Elba where she resides with her family, and as a volunteer at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. Judie also enjoys hiking, camping and reading.

Award for Excellence in Classified Service

Valerie Hale, Executive Secretary, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness – A native of Warsaw, Val is a GCC alumna and started working at the College in the Business Office in 1988. She spent 11 years in that Office, earning the GCC President’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996. Val moved into her current position in 1999 where she continues to provide exemplary service both to students and staff. As executive secretary to the executive vice president for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, Val’s high focus level and phenomenal attention to detail allow her to manage schedules, produce minutes for as many as six committee meetings a week, and still express a willingness to help whenever needed. Her colleagues appreciate her can-do attitude, approachability, trustworthiness, and dependability. Outside of work, Val stays active biking, kayaking, swimming, and spending time with family and friends. She and her husband Brian with their son, Tyler have made their home in Batavia for more than 30 years.

For more information including a listing of all GCC’s SUNY Chancellor Awardees, please go to: www.genesee.edu/events/chancellor or contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.

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Editor’s Note:

A photo of GCC SUNY Chancellor’s Award winners is available here: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/SUNY_Chancellor_Awardees_2014.jpg.

Pictured, from left to right: Kathleen M. Klaiber, Nina T. Warren, Norman R. Gayford, Judith M. Littlejohn, Amy V. Conley, Valerie A. Hale, Garth P. Swanson