February 29, 2016

Mitchell Wood ‘02, ‘06 Recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching

Mitchell Wood is a 2015-16 recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching
Mitchell Wood is a 2015-16 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching recipient. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 2, 2016) Mitchell Wood ‘02, ‘06, a SUNY Empire State College alumnus and adjunct professor of humanities, is one of only 46 adjunct faculty to be recognized with the 2015-16 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.

This SUNY-wide honor recognizes consistently superior professional achievement, encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence and underscores SUNY’s commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction and serving the public good.

Wood teaches SUNY Empire students online and has been the recipient of many positive comments by students for his dedication to their success.

One student described Wood as “challenging, fair, involved and engaged” in the online classroom.

Another student said, “He makes students feel at home and comfortable in what can sometimes be an alienating environment.”

“He encourages students to think beyond the assignment to gain a richer, deeper understanding of what he calls ‘essential questions: themes that cross courses and subjects, but resonate in the study, such as how we organize ourselves into communities, the role of media in our lives, etc.,’” said a third student.

Many of his students also characterized his courses as dynamic and intellectually stimulating.

“It is wonderful to be recognized, but it is the students at SUNY Empire who have earned my award,” Wood said. “It is invigorating and endlessly challenging to work with hardworking students who lead complex lives and bring diverse experiences to class. I am not teaching; I am engaging friends in a dialogue that they will find meaningful, productive and fulfilling.”

“On behalf of the college, I congratulate Mitchell Wood for receiving this award,” said SUNY Empire President Merodie Hancock. “His development of new courses ensures that course material stays fresh and relevant, all while adhering to rigorous learning outcomes. Mitch’s expertise in course development enhances students' access to core concepts and use of innovative learning platforms. His approach encourages students to delve into critical examinations of political, cultural and social issues. For example, in his Public History course, students have the opportunity to curate museum exhibits."

Hancock added, “These hands-on student experiences help connect students to real-world projects, while assisting the nonprofits in the communities where they live and work. This is one of the many ways Empire State College students are offered applied-learning opportunities in support of the SUNY Applied Learning Initiative.”

In announcing the award, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “On behalf of the SUNY system, I congratulate Mitchell Wood on his scholarly and teaching accomplishments and personal dedication. He goes beyond traditional teaching requirements, helping students find meaning and relevancy in historical events and social issues that resonate in their lives. Students praise him for making learning exciting and for making it possible for them to take their new-found knowledge and apply it in the real world.”

About Mitchell Wood

Wood is known among the college’s faculty for his innovative teaching methods and enhancing the student experience through technology in his classes.

He holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Media Studies from Empire State College.

His background as a former SUNY Empire student helps him understand and adapt course work to the needs of the college’s nontraditional, adult-student population.

Wood works individually with students as a mentor to help students design and implement a degree plan within one of 12 broad areas of study, or to arrange for an independent study for students who prefer a more in-depth or focused research degree plan.

He has been on the faculty at SUNY Empire State College since March 2007 and teaches many courses, including “American Popular Music,” “Becoming Americans” and “Public History.”

Wood’s "Songs of the Week in American Popular Music” was designed to create opportunities for in-depth explorations of topics in American History and Culture in a way that is “creative, spontaneous and entertaining,” he said. “I aim to make the course visually and aurally stimulating."

Wood will be recognized formally with his award at one of the college’s statewide commencement ceremonies this spring.

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