May 29, 2015

SUNY Empire State College Excellence in Mentoring Award Goes to Gregory Edwards

Gregory Edwards Receives Excellence in Mentoring Award

Gregory Edwards is flanked by past winner Cynthia Bates, at left, and President Merodie Hancock

Gregory Edwards, a mentor/coordinator with SUNY Empire State College’s Lakewood location, was awarded the Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Mentoring, at the All College Conference held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“I humbly thank the college for awarding me this honor,” said Edwards. “The praise should redound to the college. To a large extent, the entrepreneurial, distributed character of Empire State College provides and encourages mentors to achieve personal excellence constantly, so they can, in turn, facilitate the achievement of excellence by their students. I hope we never lose it.”

“I congratulate Gregory Edwards for winning the Empire State College Foundation Award in Mentoring,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “The large number of candidates, the rigorous selection process and the high standards and accomplishments – in terms of teaching, mentoring, scholarship, innovation and community service recipients must achieve – is very impressive. These are people who best represent the aspirations of the college community. They have contributed their talents, passions and, often, their entire careers, to their colleagues, to higher education and adult learning, the communities where they live and work and, most importantly, to the overall success of the college and its students. Gregory is an outstanding member of the faculty and is an inspiration to all of us.”

His colleagues praised Edwards’ passion for learning, and his other faculty describe him as “a mentor’s mentor.”

Over the past 12 years, Edwards served as a mentor, faculty chairman, governance representative and college administrator. “His area of expertise is broad, and he is equipped to offer dozens of learning contracts to students at any given time,” said Dean Nan DiBello, of the college’s Niagara Frontier region. “He also is willing and eager to create truly individualized studies for students, and specializes in guided independent study. His contagious enthusiasm, versatility, adaptability and positive attitude all contribute to the retention and success of his mentees.”

Edwards developed several traveling residency programs, during which students experience an in-depth look at history, including the Civil War. He engages in scholarly writing and research, as well as being noted by colleagues as an able administrator.

About the Foundation Award for Excellence in Mentoring

The criteria for selection for this award include superb performance as a mentor, including the areas of teaching, student advising, scholarship, and service to the college. Additionally, the recipient must demonstrate mastery of teaching methods, have an ability to work with students from a variety of backgrounds and academic preparations, and sets high standards in actively helping students attain academic excellence. The recipient is someone who is applauded by his or her colleagues, students and peers in the discipline.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35, and graduate students average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 73,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.