November 7, 2016

Professor Bidhan Chandra Receives Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service

Jane W. Altes presents Bidhan Chandra with the 2016 Altes Prize. Photo/Empire State College
Jane W. Altes presents Bidhan Chandra with the 2016 Altes Prize. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Nov. 8, 2016) Professor Bidhan Chandra has been presented with the Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service for promoting global cultural diversity awareness initiatives throughout SUNY Empire State College and beyond the state’s borders.

“I am very pleased and humbled by this great honor,” said Chandra. “I strongly believe in global cultural diversity. This makes our world more beautiful and exciting. We would be living a very boring world if everyone looked and behaved exactly the same way in a social or work context.”

Chandra coordinates and teaches undergraduate courses and mentors undergraduate students in the area of international business and management in the college’s division of business.

“Bidhan represents all that the establishment of the prize envisioned,” said Jane W. Altes, for whom the Altes Prize is named. Altes was the college’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1987-1996 and she returned from retirement to serve as interim president from 1998-2000. “Bidhan’s service has been geographically broad and his commitment was complete at every location.”

The Altes Prize recognizes a member of the SUNY Empire faculty who offers insight and knowledge from his or her academic discipline to help address community problems, and acknowledge intellectual integrity, voluntarism and dedication.

“I know very well that whatever work I have done so far to earn this recognition is only a drop of water in the ocean,” said Chandra. “A lot more work in the area of promoting global cultural diversity and inclusion is waiting to be done by everybody. Creating a diverse workplace is important. But it is also important to realize that diversity alone is not enough. It is easy to build a workplace or a society with culturally diverse people, but it requires a lot more dedication and hard work to achieve a sense of inclusion. How do we begin to address these challenges? We first need to build an awareness of major cultural differences. I believe that awareness can lead to understanding, which, in turn, nurtures a sense of acceptance. The acceptance factor then motivates us to build strategies for effective communication and collaboration among culturally diverse people.”

Chandra’s specialty is international business and much of his work focuses on intercultural communication and competence in a global economic environment.

“Bidhan and I have worked together during the last eight years and, as his former dean, I was able to witness firsthand some of his volunteerism in both the local and business communities where he contributed to the ‘importance of developing cross-cultural competence in regard to both economic and personal development,’” said Vice Provost for Academic Programs Tom Mackey. “In support of his community building and cultural awareness, Bidhan continues to work with colleagues from across the college and with our Office of International Programs to facilitate our annual international education week. This week-long event brings together – both virtually and face to face – local and international faculty, staff and students for several days of scholarly workshops and dialogue.”

Chandra’s SUNY-wide activities and accomplishments include his support and participation in SUNY’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative, where he developed resources and presented several times at the COIL conference, sharing his expertise with all of SUNY.

He also supported undergraduate students from SUNY Cobleskill with an international cross-cultural orientation before their travel to India.

Chandra was recognized during an event held on Nov. 4 at 113 West Avenue, one of the college’s several Saratoga Springs locations.

“Congratulations to my esteemed colleague Bidhan Chandra for all his efforts that have led him to winning the Altes Prize,” said Vice President for Advancement Walter Williams. “While so much of our time in the advancement office is spent focused on raising funds for the college, I find it especially meaningful when we come together as a community to recognize and celebrate both the outstanding faculty that we have at SUNY Empire and the donors who helped to make such recognition possible.”

About Bidhan Chandra

Chandra focuses on the cultural and behavioral aspects of people involved in international education or global technology development and offshore business processing projects.

He provides guidance and assistance for the mutual intercultural adaptation of multinational groups or individuals working together in on-site or virtual teams.

Chandra served as a visiting professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management, where he taught international business to Chinese executives in the Motorola and Renmin University Executive MBA programs and to multinational executives in  UB’s Singapore Executive MBA program.

His book chapter, “Diversity in India,” was published in “Global Diversity: Winning Customers and Engaging Employees within World Markets,” (Nicholas Breavley International 2007).

Chandra also is the 2013 recipient of the Capital District Leadership Council’s faculty award for his “cumulative scholarly and service contributions in the promotion of cultural diversity and inclusion.” 

His volunteerism includes working with the Saratoga Economic Development Council and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General to help promote greater cultural diversity within their organizations.

About the Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service

The Altes Prize was first established by Altes and her husband, Wally. in 2000; since then, many of Altes' friends and members of the college community also have contributed to its endowment.

The prize was first awarded in 2001 to Rochester-area faculty member David Dubois. Recipients are provided with an award of $2,500.