4 UB Faculty Members Named SUNY Distinguished Professors

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: September 25, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Four faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo have been named SUNY Distinguished Professors by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

They are: Charles Bernstein of New York City, David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters in the Department of English; Francis D. Fincham of Williamsville, professor and director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology; Susan Howe of New York City, professor in the Department of English, and Dennis Tedlock of East Aurora, James H. McNulty Professor in the Department of English.

The designation as distinguished professor -- a rank above full professor and the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system -- denotes exceptional contribution in an academic field through publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students.

A UB faculty member since 1990, Charles Bernstein has a longstanding international reputation as one of the world's foremost figures in the field of poetry and poetics. He also is noted as a founder of "language poetry," recognized as one of the most significant poetic developments of the 20th century. His work continues to be anthologized widely and is taught regularly as a primary component of contemporary poetry courses in colleges and universities across the nation.

His scholarship has received a number of important honors, including those from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the University of Auckland Foundation. He also was the recipient of the Roy Harvey Pearce/Archive for New Poetry Prize from the University of California at San Diego, an honor bestowed for lifetime contributions to poetry and scholarship.

Bernstein has published 25 poetry collections, opera libretti and video and audio works, as well as four books of essays, and has edited 11 collections of critical and theoretical essays on poetry and poetics. His work has been featured in more than 60 prominent poetry anthologies and

in nearly as many collections of theoretical criticism. Beyond his extensive service on important editorial boards, he co-edited the groundbreaking journal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Sought after both as a critic and as a reader, he has appeared in the past two years alone as the featured reader at nearly 25 universities, book festivals and poetry projects ranging from the New York City Poetry Project to France's Museum for Franco-American Relations.

Prior to joining the UB faculty, Bernstein taught at Princeton, Queens College (CUNY) and the New School for Social Research. He also has been a visiting lecturer or writer-in-residence at the University at Auckland, University of California at San Diego, Brown University, Temple University and Vancouver's Kootenay School of Writing.

He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Harvard College.

Frank Fincham is a pre-eminent scholar in the field of interpersonal relationships, especially in the area of family therapy.

A psychologist who specializes in marital and family dynamics, he has revolutionized the field by introducing an approach that emphasizes individual perception of interpersonal relationships, improving upon the traditional models that rely solely on the analysis of observed behavior. He was a pioneer in the evaluation of cognitive "attributions" in marriage relationships -- a process that has since become the standard model for clinical psychologists. This method gauges how partners in a marriage think about each other and the extent to which they attribute blame for family problems to each other.

He has since expanded his studies to learn how children perceive and are affected by their parents' spousal conflict. He is the originator of Parents and Children in Transition, or PACT, a program that provides social support and education about divorce and teaches coping skills, free of charge, to children involved in the nearly 3,000 divorce cases handled annually by Erie County courts.

Fincham has published more than 170 book chapters and articles in refereed journals, and frequently contributes to reference handbooks widely used by social psychologists. He has received numerous lifetime achievement awards, among them the International Network on Personal Relationships' Berscheid-Hatfield Career Award for sustained, substantial and distinguished contributions to the field of personal relationships. The American Psychology Society has named him one of the world's top 25 psychologists, and he received the British Psychological Society's prestigious President's Award for "Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge." He has been elected to join at least seven leading professional organizations in his field at the rank of fellow, and serves on the editorial boards of 14 professional journals, as well being associate editor of the prominent periodical Cognition and Emotion.

Fincham joined the UB faculty in 1999 after holding academic appointments at the University of Wales (Cardiff), the University of Illinois, St. Clare's College (Oxford) and the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa).

He earned both undergraduate and master's degrees in South Africa before pursuing doctoral work at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He completed his postdoctoral training in clinical psychology at the University at Stony Brook.

Susan Howe is a world-renowned American poet whose work has etched an indelible mark on American literature and scholarship. Her multi-faceted philosophical and technical innovations in poetry and prose have been widely praised.

Howe's poetry, criticism and prose have been broadly anthologized and published by New Directions, publishers of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Hermann Hesse and Octavio Paz. Her 1985 work, "My Emily Dickinson," has dramatically altered scholars' understanding of the 19th-century poet, and transformed the figure of Dickinson from that of an icon of genteel femininity to a poet recognized for her force and unusual perceptiveness.

Howe has 15 volumes of her poetry in print, and her work is the subject of a biography, 18 published dissertations and countless articles in book-length studies. Her honors and tributes include a Guggenheim fellowship and designation as Distinguished Fellow of Stanford's Humanities Center. In 1999, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2000 to the American Academy of Poets' Board of Chancellors.

Howe came to UB as a Butler Fellow in 1988 and joined the faculty the following year. She holds an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland (Dublin) -- a first for an American poet. She is a graduate of the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, an affiliate of Tufts University.

Dennis Tedlock, who holds a position as research professor of anthropology at UB in addition to the James McNulty Chair in English, is distinguished for his founding contributions to the field of ethnopoetics, the study of poetic language across cultural and linguistic boundaries.

His work transcends conventional divisions between the sciences and the humanities. In an effort to capture the performance component of storytelling in indigenous languages, he created a system of notations to account for the musical qualities of voice inflection. The result is a series of transcriptional conventions that continue to be studied and applied to oral performance.

His extensive scholarship includes eight books and 103 articles, pamphlets and reviews. He has edited three journals in his field, including the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association, American Anthropologist, for which he and his wife, Barbara, professor and chair of the UB Department of Anthropology, were awarded the association's President's Award. He has been awarded several National Endowment for the

Humanities grants and fellowships, a Fulbright Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN Translation Prize and the Elsie Clews Parsons Folklore Prize. His "The Dialogic Emergence of Culture" (edited with Bruce Mannheim) has been credited with transforming the way ethnographers approach their work.

Tedlock joined the UB faculty in 1987 after holding academic appointments at Boston University, at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study and at Yale. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico and a doctorate from Tulane University.