10 at UB receive SUNY Chancellor's Awards

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: June 22, 2005 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six faculty members, three professional staff members and one librarian at the University at Buffalo have received 2005 SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence from former SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching honors those who consistently have demonstrated superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. This year's recipients are Christopher Cohan, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Charles Fourtner, professor of biological science in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); and Jeri Jaeger, associate professor of linguistics in CAS.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuit beyond their teaching responsibilities. UB recipients are Joseph Gardella, professor of chemistry and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Claes Lundgren, professor physiology and biophysics in the medical school; and John Schlegel, professor in the Law School.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service honors performance excellence "both within and beyond the position." Recipients at UB are Diane M. Dittmar, assistant dean for undergraduate programs in the School of Management; David L. Gilles-Thomas, associate director and clinical director of UB's counseling services, and Stefanos C. Papazaharias, a staff associate for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship recognizes "skill in librarianship; service to the campus, the university and to the field; scholarship and professional growth, and major professional achievements." This year's recipient at UB is H. Austin Booth, director of collections and research services for the arts and sciences libraries.

Christopher Cohan of East Amherst received his Ph.D. in anatomy from Case Western Reserve University in 1980 and his B.S. in biology and mathematics in 1974 from the State University of New York at Albany. After finishing his doctorate, he completed a series of postdoctoral fellowships before joining UB as an assistant professor in 1986. A member of the Society for Neuroscience and an active participant in neuroscience journals, Cohan has won the Siegel Award for Teaching Excellence in the medical school (2003 and 2004), two commendations for teaching excellence from the Siegel Award Committee and is an honorary member of the New York chapter of medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha.

Charles Fourtner, who received his doctorate from Michigan State University, started at UB as an assistant professor in 1974 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1990. Fourtner concentrates his research on neurobiological control of stereotypic behaviors in invertebrates such as insects, crabs and arachnids, with particular interest in the central neural mechanisms responsible for those behaviors and the neuromuscular mechanisms that produce the actual movements. He also studies the physiological role of giant nerve axons in one particular organism, the aquatic oligochaete, and the way the organisms change when they reproduce asexually. Fourtner lives in Getzville.

Jeri Jaeger earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and taught at the Australian National University, Berkeley and the University of California at Davis before coming to UB. She studies localization of linguistic function and sex differences, with a current interest in slips of the tongue made by very young children, and is working on a book that will be called "Kids' Slips." In addition to teaching and working on her research, Jaeger is co-editor of Experimental Phonology, director of undergraduate studies for the linguistics department and co-chair of the Linguistic Society of America's Committee for the Status of Women in Linguistics. She lives in East Amherst.

Winner of a SUNY Chancellor's Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 1996, Joseph Gardella of Buffalo earned undergraduate degrees in philosophy and chemistry from Oakland University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981. Since joining UB as an assistant professor in 1982, he has won a National Science Foundation Award for Special Creativity and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Oakland University, in addition to recognition from SUNY. Gardella has also been honored with the Jacob M. Schoelkopf Medal from the Western New York chapter of the American Chemical Society and the Inventor of the Year Award from the Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property and Law Association and Niagara Frontier Technical Societies Council.

Claes Lundgren earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. from the University of Lund School of Medicine in Sweden and came to UB in 1974 as a visiting associate professor. He joined the physiology department in a more permanent capacity in 1976 and was named a full professor in 1978. Lundgren serves as director of UB's Center for Research and Education in Special Environments. In addition to the Chancellor's Award, Lundgren has received the Outstanding Inventor Award form The Research Foundation of the State University of New York, the UB Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement and the Western New York Pioneer of Science Award from the Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute. He lives in Amherst.

John Schlegel holds a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from the University of Chicago. A longtime professor at UB's law school, he focused his scholarship for more than 20 years on the history of legal education and the activities in the 1920s and 1930s of a group of legal scholars at Columbia, Yale and John Hopkins known as the American Legal Realists. More recently, he has begun a book on law and economy in the United States since World War II. Schlegel, who teaches corporate and commercial law, lives in Eggertsville.

A graduate of Erie Community College and Canisius College, Diane Dittmar, holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College. As assistant dean in the School of Management, a position she has held since 1997, she has won two certificates of recognition from UB's Office of Career Services, given to UB faculty and staff who have had a significant impact on recent graduates and are selected based on a survey of the graduates. In addition to her work at UB, she serves on an advisory board for Erie Community College. Dittmar lives in Amherst.

A therapist, scholar and administrator, David L. Gilles-Thomas of Williamsville works at UB as a clinical psychologist. He holds master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a bachelor's degree in sociology in sociology from Michigan State University. Gilles-Thomas joined UB's counseling services in 1992 and the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1995 as a clinical professor. At UB's Counseling Services, he has developed a series of Web sites and coordinated workshops on topics such as men's issues, social skills and couples communication. He won a UB Stars Award in 2002, a Students First Award in 1998 and an Outstanding Student Life Program Award in 1997.

Stefanos C. Papazaharias, a UB administrator since 1994, holds master's degrees in economics and education from UB, as well as a bachelor's degree in economics. Since 1998, he has worked as a staff associate for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has received a Service Excellence Award for his participation in the mid-semester review process on campus, and a certificate of recognition for his positive impact on the Class of 2003. He lives in East Amherst.

A graduate of Cornell University (bachelor's degrees in economics and English), the University of California at Berkeley (M.A. in information science) and the University of Michigan (M.A. in English), H. Austin Booth of Snyder has worked at UB since 1997 and served as director of collections and research services since 2001. As director of collections, her duties include budgeting, promotion, helping to supervise subject-specialist librarians and working with other libraries – both on- and off- campus – to build collections. Her scholarship focuses on digital culture, and on higher education and information technology.