April 11, 2016

SUNY Empire State College Excellence in Mentoring Award Goes to Patricia Isaac

President Merodie Hancock and Faculty Mentor Greg Edwards presented Patricia Isaac with the 2016 Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Mentoring at the All College Conference. Edwards is the 2015 award recipient.
President Merodie Hancock and Faculty Mentor Greg Edwards presented Patricia Isaac with the 2016 Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Mentoring at the All College Conference. Edwards is the 2015 award recipient.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – April 11, 2016) Patricia Isaac, an associate professor with SUNY Empire State College’s School for Graduate Studies, was awarded the Empire State College Foundation Award for Excellence in Mentoring at the All College Conference held in Saratoga Springs in March.

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. The ceremony itself, and many other programs would not be possible without your support.”

Isaac said, “I am so surprised. I really try to embrace the Ernest Boyer mission and I care deeply about my students and my work with my colleagues.”

In presenting the award, Mentor Gregory Edwards, last year’s recipient, said, “Students regularly praise this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award for putting students first. She is supportive, while holding high expectations of all her students. She often goes above and beyond in being available to her students, because she knows how important that contact and support is to them.

“Patricia Isaac took it upon herself to update the department’s courses in order to stay current in a rapidly changing field, a monumental task that is crucial to students’ ultimate success in their profession,” he continued. “She has a lot of compassion for her students. She is dedicated to helping them achieve their highest level of performance, with the ability to be both supportive and challenging, encouraging and inspiring them to do their best. She has a deep understanding of, and commitment to, students and she continues to advocate for them, long beyond the end of a course.

“She provides significant service within the college, serving as a committee member and in leadership roles on several internal initiatives. She truly embodies the term ‘mentor,’ and her colleagues consider themselves fortunate to have her as a part of the faculty and at the college.”

A. Tina Wagle, Master of Arts in Teaching faculty chair, said, “Since coming to the college in 2007, Patricia Isaac’s students consistently praise her for student centeredness. She often goes above and beyond the required amount of student site visits, because she knows how important support is to first-year or struggling teachers. In view of the importance of partner schools, Isaac spends time visiting schools and trying to navigate the right placements. Isaac is also a budding scholar, with interests in teaching for social justice and exceptional student awareness and advocacy. Three years ago, a committee was formed to develop a master’s degree in special education. Isaac chaired this committee. This program has since been approved, and it is searching for a faculty member, so that the program can gain full approval from the state level and be implemented in the fall.”

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 set high standards in actively helping students attain academic excellence. The recipient mentor 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 levels.

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

Contact: Hope Ferguson, senior writer


518 587-2100, ext. 2509