OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego faculty members John Kane in economics and James MacKenzie in biological sciences will join Ben Parker, academic planning and veterans services coordinator for the Division of Extended Learning, as recipients of the college President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement for 2014.
The honor recognizes commitment to empowering and encouraging students, whether traditional high-school-to-college students or nontraditional adult learners. The recipients will be honored at the college’s annual Symposium on Learning and Teaching in the fall.
Professor of economics with more than 30 years at SUNY Oswego, Kane received plaudits from current and former students for dedication to providing direction, genuine interest in students and their futures, and going above and beyond tradiational advisement in many ways.
“With Professor Kane’s advice, I was able to write a term paper that has been accepted by the International Journal of Business and Social Science,” wrote Eyub Yegen, a senior in finance and applied mathematical economics who nominated Kane for the award. Yegen said he also presented this paper at five international conferences and one national conference, with three more presentations — in locations from Harvard to China — planned.
“I always considered Professor Kane much more than a mere academic advisor,” wrote 1986 graduate Mark Hertzendorf, an economist at the Federal Trade Commission who has stayed in touch with Kane personally and professionally. “Yes, he did help me select my courses and encouraged me to apply to graduate school, and provided letters of recommendation … But much more than that, he shared his enthusiasm for the subject with me and it was ultimately that which propelled me forward.”
KimMarie McGoldrick, class of 1988, professor of economics and Joseph A. Jennings Chair in Business at University of Richmond; 1987 graduate Jean Linnenbach Klein, senior pension analyst at Actuarial Pension Analysts Inc.; and 2001 graduate Christine Seekamp, director of human resources as Blue Apron, were among others writing enthusiastic notes about Kane’s significant role in their career paths.
Ranjit Dighe, chair of economics at Oswego, said Kane advises all applied mathematical economics majors, informally guides many others and inspires interest and passion in his courses, including such advanced ones as econometrics and the economics capstone, in addition to duties as director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. “Despite his remarkable intelligence, energy and talents, John is a modest person and easy to talk to,” Dighe wrote.
Often, Kane has found positions for strong students as teaching assistants in the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s summer program. In his statement of advising philosophy, Kane said his objective is “to help students efficiently use their time in college so that they can smoothly transition into the next stages of their personal and professional development.”
Chair of the biological sciences department and of the Health Professions Advisory Committee, MacKenzie has 10 years of experience in advising, including each summer. Colleague Richard Back, currently interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, applauds him as a meticulous adviser who recognizes advisement’s “critical role in our students’ lives” and works with “honesty and precision” in all his advising capacities, official and unofficial.
“Students seek him out for his opinion, whether or not he is their advisor of record,” Back wrote. “Understanding this is simple (and universal): He is attentive, he is knowledgeable, he is current. He has an easy manner that appeals to students, and an open door.”
Michelle Ziemba, a senior biology major who nominated MacKenzie, concurred. “Dr. MacKenzie has helped provide me with opportunities like an internship in occupational therapy, he has written letters of application for honor society applications, he has undoubtedly assisted me with graduate school questions, even going to far as to personally find out prerequisite courses from graduate schools that I am interested in, and he has allowed me to share my experiences with others through the Oswego Health Care Careers Conference.”
Founder of the conference aimed at pre-health students and others interested in the expanding field, MacKenzie said his philosophy is to lay out the options for courses, careers and more, and enable students “to find their own path” and “take control of their destinies.”
Parker directly advises about 100 active students in evening and online degree programs, as well as approximately 150 military students. In his three years with the college, he has introduced such distance-effective procedures as online orientation for part-time and online students to learn about campus resources, policies and other information, easing the transition to SUNY Oswego and clarifying expectations.
“I am a nontraditional student and at times I feel very intimidated, especially being around traditional students that are 20 years younger than I,” wrote senior online public justice major Robyn Mills. “Ben has always made me feel very at ease and has always helped me. … He takes his time and makes sure that all of my questions and concerns are taken care of.”
Dean of Extended Learning Jill Pippin said Parker has embraced additional duties serving the advisement needs of military veterans “with gusto.” She noted he also advises Oswego’s chapter of the Student Veterans of America (Vets Club) and secured a location for a veterans lounge. “In this age when there are a number of veterans coming home and using their education benefits, it is important to understand the complex world of the military and tuition assistance,” she wrote.