SUNY Oswego’s Metzgar, Pippin honored for student advisement

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego faculty members Richard Metzgar in art and Douglas Pippin in anthropology will receive the 2012 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement, which recognizes commitment to empowering and encouraging students from first year to senior, and sometimes beyond.

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Richard Metzgar

President Deborah F. Stanley announced the selections this month in letters of congratulation informing the recipients they will be recognized Oct. 19 during the college’s Symposium on Learning and Teaching.

‘Excellent role model’

Art department chair Cynthia Clabough strongly supported Metzgar, a cross-media artist who joined the faculty in 2001, for the advisement honor.

“Professor Metzgar’s dedication and energy is highly valued in the department and on campus,” she wrote.

Clabough cited his contributions to student growth through first-year advisement, the First Choice courses for freshmen, McNair Scholars and as coordinator of the department’s participation in the Foundations program for first-year excellence.

She noted his other duties and achievements include teaching in studio art, preparing his own exhibitions and playing an active role in the department’s accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

“(His) ability to balance his teaching, advising, administrative and service responsibilities with his exemplary exhibition schedule and positive model of collaborative work make him an excellent role model for the students he advises and mentors,” Clabough wrote.

Senior fine arts major Jessica Panicola agreed, writing that Metzgar has taken on additional departmental administrative duties this semester “while still remaining … an excellent adviser for each of his advisees.”

“I honestly do not know how he manages to stay on top of his work, but we are all extremely lucky to have him as our adviser and mentor,” Panicola said.

Metzgar said his work as an adviser has had “a long learning curve” with evolving academic requirements, but it is ultimately rewarding because he “takes time to listen.”

He acknowledges that he also takes time to talk, impressing upon first-year advisees the many opportunities the college offers for study abroad, research support through Scholarly and Creative Activity Grants, involvement with student groups and service as teaching assistants.

‘Superior job’

Douglas Pippin
Douglas Pippin

Pippin, an archeologist and longtime adjunct instructor in anthropology before his appointment as a visiting assistant professor in 2005, will start on a tenure track this fall.

“Doug has done a superior job as our advisement coordinator,” anthropology department chair Steve Saraydar wrote in support of his nomination. Saraydar cited Pippin’s role in helping build “a vibrant, energetic” Anthropology Club that provides students opportunities to attend conferences such as a recent one on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, among other educational excursions.

Senior anthropology major Khrystyne Tschinkel said Pippin goes above and beyond what students expect of a busy professor.

“Dr. Pippin is constantly going out of his way to read over papers, help with internship applications, field school programs, finding a job, applying for graduate school,” Tschinkel wrote. “He is the one students turn to for advice, help and things that are not even anthropology related.”

Tschinkel said Pippin has strongly influenced her own path. “He has personally pushed me to attend summer programs, apply for grant funding for research and helping me get accepted into graduate schools,” she wrote.

Pippin said so much learning occurs outside the classroom in archeology and anthropology that it presents additional opportunities for advising and mentoring students. “I very much value the time working with students,” Pippin said. “It’s one of the best parts of this job.”

In a letter about his advisement philosophy, Pippin wrote, “The role of an academic adviser is at the core of a professor’s responsibility to their students. If we owe fidelity to the passing of knowledge within our respective disciplines, then academic advisement is the next vital step.”