April 20, 2015

Mentor Heidi Nightengale Recipient of Award for Excellence in Part-time Mentoring

Heidi Nightengale, the 2015 recipient of the Empire State College Award for Excellence in Part-Time Mentoring, with President Merodie Hancock and Alan Stankiewicz, last year's recipient.

Heidi Nightengale, the 2015 recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Part-Time Mentoring, with President Merodie Hancock and Alan Stankiewicz, last year's recipient. Photo/Empire State College

(AUBURN, N.Y. – April 20, 2015) Heidi Nightengale, a faculty mentor at the college’s Auburn, N.Y. location, is the 2015 recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Part-time Mentoring.

“I am humbled by this award and honored to be acknowledged for excellence at this level,” Nightengale said. “My teaching and mentoring at SUNY Empire State College creates so many opportunities to promote student excellence, which is the true meaning of excellence in this award title. I look forward to working for many years to come with students who prompt me to be an excellent educator as we work through processes of higher education together as partners in learning.”

In addition to her award for excellence in part-time mentoring, Nightengale also was the 2010 recipient of the college’s Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service.

“I congratulate Heidi Nightengale for winning the Empire State College Foundation Award in Part-time 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 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. Heidi is an outstanding member of the faculty and is an inspiration to all of us.”

The role of the college’s faculty mentors include teaching, student advising, scholarship and service to the college. Additionally, mentors must have an ability to work with students from a variety of backgrounds with different levels of academic preparation.

Nikki Shrimpton, dean of the college’s Central New York locations, said, “A truly great faculty member brings commitment to his or her students, knowledge in his or her discipline and an understanding of and dedication to the college. Heidi Nightengale excels in each of these areas. She is a colleague known for her expertise, a mentor known for her empathy and compassion and a community member known for her service to multiple organizations.”

About Heidi Nightengale

Nightengale has been a member of the faculty at the college in the area of Community and Human Services for 25 years. In nominating her for the award, her colleagues praised her as being a student-centered educator who meets learners where they are and “gently, but firmly” challenges them to exceed their own expectations. They also characterized her as kind, courteous and as someone who brings insight and intelligence to her work.

Nightengale has been involved in community service in the areas of race relations and social justice for many years. She also mentors girls living in the community who are at risk of not completing high school. Many of her mentees have gone on to graduate from college.

She was honored by the NAACP with the Martin Luther King Jr. Millennium Award for a lifetime of celebrating diversity. She also has served on countless boards and committees, including the mayor’s social justice task force team in Auburn.

Nightengale has presented her scholarship to a range of local and national governmental and nonprofit audiences, including at the Innovations in American Government Conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Annual Federal Safe Schools Healthy Students Conference in San Francisco and the New York State Youth Bureau Annual Conference.

Nightengale received her award March 26 at the college’s annual All College Conference held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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 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.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918


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