March 30, 2016

SUNY Empire State College's Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring Goes to Dee Britton

Dee Britton Turben Chair in Mentoring
Dee Britton, named the Susan H. Turben Chair for Mentoring, is flanked by President Merodie Hancock, and last year's recipient, Alec Meiklejohn.

(Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – April 8, 2016) Dee Britton, academic area coordinator in Social Science with SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning and Central New York region, is the 2016 recipient of the Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring.

Empire State College President Merodie Hancock said, “Congratulations. I join the cabinet, the foundation board and the rest of your colleagues in extending my thanks and appreciation for your extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students.  

“Thanks also to all those who support the foundation’s mission and programs. This ceremony itself – and many other programs – would not be possible without your support.”

Britton was presented with her award at the Empire State College Foundation awards dinner during the annual All College Conference held at the end of March in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Britton will undertake an in-depth study to examine how Empire State College can “work” better for those it serves. She is basing her research upon a longitudinal study by Dan Chambliss and Christopher Takacs, who studied Hamilton College’s class of 2004.The researchers specifically were interested in how colleges can improve education in an environment of shrinking budgets, which most public colleges are facing today. She intends to use their methods, including surveys, in-depth interviews, panel interviews, reviews of panelists’ writings and presentations throughout their college career and post-graduation interviews. The focus of the research was student identification of the factors that were significant in their college experiences.

“This proposed research project will explore ‘what works’ for Empire State College students,” Britton said. “Although not nearly as extensive in scope as the original project, this cross-sectional research design includes a survey of current students and alumni using slightly modified versions of the surveys and interview questions that were used by Chambliss.

“I am deeply honored to be awarded the Susan H. Turben Chair for Mentoring award. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with our students and alumni to discover ‘How ESC Works’ for them,” Britton said.

Over the seven years Britton been a part of SUNY Empire State College, she has been very involved in a wide variety of academic activities such as assessment, development and revision of online courses, identification of learning outcomes and revision of area of study guidelines and numerous task forces and collegewide initiatives, including the e-Catalog committee, the Provost’s Academic Visioning Task Force and the AOS Futures Task Force.

“We know through the SUNY student satisfaction survey that many of our students are satisfied with Empire State College,” she said. “However, I have not been able to identify a collegewide project that has comprehensively identified ‘what works’ for our students.”

About the Susan H. Turben Award Chair in Mentoring

The Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring was created to promote excellence in mentoring as the primary relationship between students and faculty. This endowed chair is named in honor of Susan H. Turben, the second graduate of the college and an internationally recognized expert on families and child development.

Along with serving as a member of the Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors, Turben has been a long-time, passionate supporter of professional development opportunities for the college’s faculty mentors.

About 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

Media contact: Hope Ferguson, senior writer
518-587-2100, ext. 2509