May 7, 2012

Two SUNY Empire State College Community Members Win SUNY Chancellor's Award

(Saratoga Springs, N.Y. –  May 7, 2012) –  Two members of the SUNY Empire State College community were honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for the academic year 2011-2012 by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher at the college’s Center for Distance Learning conference in April.

Associate Professor Al Lawrence, with President Alan Davis

Associate Professor Al Lawrence

Associate Professor Al Lawrence‘76 began his career with the college as an adjunct professor and now is the area coordinator of criminal justice for the Center for Distance Learning. Before joining the college, he had a successful career as a reporter and an attorney. His contributions to New York state are numerous and varied, reflecting his expertise and interest in homeland security, civil liberties, vulnerable populations and nature conservancy, among others topics.

Tom Mackey, dean of the Center for Distance Learning, remarked, "Dr. Lawrence has demonstrated exemplary faculty service in several different roles for more than 30 years at Empire State College and the State University of New York."

Alan Davis, president of SUNY Empire State College, noted in his nomination letter, “Mr. Lawrence is credited with developing a new area of study at SUNY Empire State College in public affairs. This major achievement broadened our students’ educational choices, enriched current program areas and brought additional interest and availability to all SUNY students.”

Lawrence said he was “surprised, thrilled and grateful" to win this award, and "especially grateful to Dean Tom Mackey and Associate Dean Janet Shideler, and the CDL faculty who have made being faculty chair such a rewarding experience.”

Lawrence received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Antioch School of Law, his Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from SUNY Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.

David Caso with President Alan Davis

‌CDL Director of Student and Academic Services David Caso

David Caso, director of student and academic services for distance-learning students, was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service

He has been with Empire State College since 2005, after two decades in higher education in areas including residential life, leadership development, training, mediation and crisis management. Last year, the efforts of Caso and his team were recognized with the Excellence in Online Faculty Development Award from the Sloan-C Foundation.

Of Caso’s work, Mackey said, “His ability to collaborate with his team of student services professionals at the Center for Distance Learning has allowed him to make distinctive contributions to our student services area and faculty development efforts." 

Davis expressed a similar sentiment in his nomination letter, writing, “His focus on student success and retention recently was evidenced in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. He and his team contacted our students to see if they were affected and, if so, found ways to assist them in their learning needs and educational resources so they would not fall behind.”

In addition to underscoring the range of resources for distance-learning instructors that Caso’s team provides to ensure quality online instruction, his nomination also made mention of his collaborative team approach in resolving urgent student concerns, meanwhile building a sense of community among students and faculty.

On winning the award, Caso observed, “Ultimately, it is about how we do our jobs to our own satisfaction, thereby maintaining our integrity and working effectively with others. It is an honor, I am humbled by it. I am also going to work toward recognition of collaboration. As so much is accomplished in teams, our reward is in our integrity”

Caso received his Master of Science in Education from the College of Saint Rose and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Elmira College.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

More information about the college is available here.


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