2 UB Professors Named SUNY Distinguished Professors

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: June 18, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two faculty members at the University at Buffalo have joined the ranks of distinguished professors appointed by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

J. Ronald Gentile, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, was appointed a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in honor of his outstanding teaching at the graduate, undergraduate and professional levels.

Wolfgang Wölck, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Linguistics and an internationally renowned linguistics scholar, was appointed a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in recognition of consistently extraordinary service contributions to the university community, as well as to the region, state and nation.

The rank of distinguished professor, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, is an order above full professorship.

J. Ronald Gentile, an expert in educational psychology, joined the UB faculty in 1969 and served as director of the UB Educational Psychology Program in the Graduate School of Education from 1991-94. He has done extensive research in the field and has published numerous books, articles and methodological papers on the psychology of learning and instruction, mastery learning and grading, and behavioral, emotional and cognitive learning.

A second edition of his widely used textbook, "Educational Psychology," was published recently.

Gentile served as project director for an UNESCO-sponsored program in Nigeria and has coordinated other international education efforts at the graduate level. He also helped establish an innovative program to help faculty members in the UB medical school improve their teaching.

He was awarded a Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York in 1991, an Award for Distinguished Teaching from the UB undergraduate Student Association in 1977 and an Award for Professorial Excellence from his department's Graduate Student Association in 1971.

Gentile and his wife, Kay Johnson-Gentile, Ph.D., of Buffalo State College, also write children's music -- most recently, two children's operas -- which they use to help teachers integrate music into the elementary-school curriculum.

Gentile, who holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Pennsylvania State University, is a member of the American Psychological Society, the American Educational Research Association and the American Federation of Musicians.

He is an Amherst resident.

Wolfgang Wölck, an internationally renowned linguistics scholar who joined the UB faculty in 1970, served as chair of the linguistics department from 1977-87 and from 1989-91.

An expert in sociolinguistics, a discipline that combines the study of the psychology of language and the study of language as a socialization process, he also specializes in the linguistic, social, psychological and educational aspects of bilingualism.

Wölck has published numerous books, articles and essays on sociolinguistics, phonetics, syntax, language classification and the study of Andean languages.

In his early research on the Quechua language, the Incan language of Peru, he developed a methodology based on cultural practices and attitudes, as well as on phonology and grammar.

His work on the relations between the Quechua language and Spanish, the nation's major language, became the basis for Peru's policy on language and led to the designation of Quechua as an official language of Peru.

For these and other contributions, the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Past president of the New York State Council on Linguistics, Wölck has played an integral role in promoting UB's international programs and has been a consultant for the Buffalo Board of Education, the New York City Board of Education and the Seneca Indian Bilingual Education Program.

Co-chair of the Sociolinguistics and Bilingualism committees of the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquee, he also is the recipient of the Medal of Honor from Mazaryk University in the Czech Republic.

A native of Koenigsberg, Germany, Wölck attended the University of London, received his bachelor's degree from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany, and his doctorate from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany.

He lives in Williamsville.