Pictured: President Hank Foley (sixth from right) and Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine (seventh from left) with this year’s Presidential Excellence Award winners.
On August 31, the New York Tech community celebrated the start of the 2023-2024 academic year at the university’s annual faculty and staff convocation—as well as the presentation of the Presidential Excellence Awards.
President Hank Foley, Ph.D., opened the event and welcomed faculty and staff. In his address, he emphasized the university’s commitment to recruitment and retention by providing a positive and welcoming student experience.
“Let’s just stay focused as we go through the semester and all the academic year,” said President Foley. “Let’s be mindful of the student experience. Every student’s experience frankly is different because their background and where they come from and what they have to overcome in many cases just to get here every day is really quite phenomenal.”
Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine, D.O., presented an overview of the university’s accomplishments for the past year and new projects ahead.
“I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to all of you for all the support I’ve gotten over the last year, whether it’s faculty, staff, students, and certainly the incredible academic affairs team,” said Balentine.
Balentine highlighted milestones, including Daniel Tanis, an osteopathic medicine, D.O./medical and biological, Ph.D. major and New York Tech’s first Ph.D. student, who defended his thesis during the spring semester.
Looking ahead, Balentine talked about the quest to become an R2 university, which includes the appointment of Jared E. Littman, Ph.D., as vice provost for research. He also acknowledged faculty submitting 131 proposals for approximately $53 million in grants over the last 12 months, which is integral to achieving R2 status. “I want to congratulate all faculty members no matter how large or small their award was or even if they didn’t get an award for turning in their proposals,” he said.
He said that part of the university’s continued growth is adding more Ph.D. programs. The university hopes to add approximately 15 additional students in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, and NYITCOM will add two incoming students to its existing Ph.D. program. “All together this fall, we will have approximately 35 to 40 Ph.D. students on campus.”
Turning his attention to student development and engagement, Balentine shared several updates about ways New York Tech supports students with food insecurities; Campus Groups, a new platform to help students become more engaged; and the development of the Honor Code, a document which frames desired and necessary behavior patterns for students.
Another future initiative is the introduction of the Honors College, where students will engage in project-based learning centered on one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in addition to and as part of their major course of study. Applicants will be considered based on academic criteria, resilience, and life experiences.
Other speakers included Pennie Turgeon, M.B.A., vice president of information technology, chief information officer, and chief information security officer, who spoke about the university’s virtual experience, including the redesign of the website and technical upgrades to classrooms and meeting spaces; Donald Booth (B.S.A.T. ’91), vice president of capital planning and facilities, who shared information on the campus initiatives planned for 2023, including infrastructure, design and construction, and security; and Joseph Posillico, Ed.D., vice president of enrollment management and strategic communications, who gave a presentation on the admissions cycle and its outcomes.
Following the presentations, the annual Presidential Excellence Awards were presented to the following faculty and staff by President Foley and Balentine:
- Staff Excellence: Sebastien Marion, M.L.I.S., M.B.A., Librarian III, Library
- Innovator: Tadiyos Gebre, Director, Academic Success and Enrichment
- Diversity and Inclusive Excellence: Nayoung Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
- Student Engagement in Research, Scholarship, or Creative Activities: Dong-Sei Kim, M.Des., M.S.AUD., Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Design
- Excellence in Teaching, Part-time Faculty: Evan Shieh, M.Aud., Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Design
- Excellence in Teaching, Full-time Faculty: Jacqueline Keighron, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
Team Award Individual Awards
Women in Computer Science, Engineering and Technology (WiCET):
- Folashade Alawiye, Laboratory Engineer, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- N. Sertac Artan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
- David Fanning, Laboratory Engineer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- Saverio Marsicano, Senior Laboratory Engineer, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- Kristina Murtha, Laboratory Engineer, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- Jackline Okot, Graduate Advisement Specialist, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- Jane Polizzi, M.B.A., Assistant Dean, Administration and Operations, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
- Jill Rogers, Executive Assistant, College of Engineering and Computing Sciences
Watch the 2023 faculty and staff convocation.