SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Nine Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

November 15, 2013

Albany — The State University of New York Board of Trustees today approved the appointments of nine faculty to distinguished ranks. All distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy.

“The SUNY distinguished faculty have gone above and beyond in service to the students, faculty, and staff they serve on campus and honorably advanced study in their respective fields,” said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “It is the Board's great honor to bestow SUNY's highest faculty distinction upon these individuals, and to congratulate them on their outstanding work.”

“We are proud to recognize our faculty with these prestigious rankings, especially now as SUNY is fostering their best ideas and practices within the Distinguished Academy, and calling upon their leadership as we prepare to launch Open SUNY,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Many thanks to those honored today with a distinguished rank, and congratulations.”

Since the program's inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 975 faculty to distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 326 Distinguished Professorships; 294 Distinguished Service Professorships; 350 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. For more information about SUNY's faculty award program, please click here.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidates' work must be of such character that the individuals' presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons' academic fields. Receiving this rank today are:

  • Professor John Tagg, Binghamton University – A member of the Binghamton University faculty for almost 30 years, Professor Tagg is perhaps the most influential historian of photography in the world and one of the most important art historians of his generation. His publications have played a critical role in gaining recognition for photography as a significant artistic medium and fundamentally changed the way art historians and scholars more generally apprehend photography and view photographs. His influence has extended well beyond the history of photography, helping forge a new approach to the field of art history — one that is theoretically informed and insists on viewing images as part of a socially constructed visual culture. Not only has Professor Tagg's scholarship earned him an international reputation in art history, it has made him an influential figure in other disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. His scholarly accomplishments have been recognized by numerous prestigious fellowships he has held in the U.S. and Europe, and frequent invitations to lecture across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
  • Professor Rajan Batta, University at Buffalo – Dr. Batta, of the University at Buffalo, has made a major impact in the area of urban operations research, a branch of Operations Research (OR) concerned with logistical and planning applications impacting services such as emergency response, disaster logistics and national security. Professor Batta has received numerous prestigious awards including the Dr. David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award, the highest research award given by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). A Fellow of IIE, he is noted for his extensive scholarship in location and queuing theory, districting and routing, and as a national leader in the area of urban policing and public safety. He has been PI or co-PI on over $13 million of externally funded research, and has served as department editor or editorial board member of four OR journals. He has had a significant impact on the next generations of OR scholars, having advised 39 doctoral and 46 masters students and currently advising six more dissertations. Many of his former students are now leaders at nationally renowned companies and major academic institutions worldwide.
  • Professor Jeremy D. Finn, University at Buffalo – Dr. Finn, of the University at Buffalo, is a pioneer in the early development of software for the statistical analysis of educational data, Dr. Finn has created a remarkable body of educational research that has had a profound impact on educational policies, both nationally and internationally. Dr. Finn has been awarded a Spencer Research Fellowship, the NSF/American Statistical Association Research Fellowship, and the 2006 University at Buffalo Exceptional Scholar Award in the category of Sustained Achievement. His pioneering research on class size effects through true experimental design has had significant impact on using large-scale randomized field trials (gold standard) in educational research and evaluation. His work was nationally recognized by Education Leadership in 2003, as one of 11 programs of research that had “the greatest impact on education... during the past 50 years.”
  • Professor Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., University at Buffalo – Dr. Gardella, of the University at Buffalo, has a 30-year academic record that has balanced excellence in research, teaching, civic engagement, public service and economic development. Professor Gardella's research is concentrated on the development of chemical analysis of surfaces, especially in complex biological and environmental media. His translation of research to environmental science, engineering and public policy has stressed the development of geospatial data analysis to chemical information. This has led to civic engagement with regulatory agencies and community activists to understand environmental impact of contaminants in brownfields and Superfund site remediation and urban farming, as well as his work in air pollution data in regional environmental/health impacts. Honored by the White House with the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship, Dr. Gardella's teaching and public service intersect with his work with the Buffalo Public Schools to enhance teacher education and pedagogical content in the STEM fields. He played an instrumental role in guiding this program to be awarded a five-year, $9.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership Program.
  • Professor Eckhard Krotscheck, University at Buffalo – Dr. Krotscheck is a world renowned expert in theoretical condensed matter physics, specializing in quantum many-body theory and low temperature physics. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, he received the Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal in 2007, the world's highest honor for this area of research. Professor Krotscheck is credited as one of the inventors of the Fermi hypernetted-chain theory, a method proven to be an invaluable tool in theoretical studies of strongly-interacting many-body systems to quantum liguid drops, lattice spin systems and beyond. Dr. Krotscheck's research group also performed the first principle calculation on the structure of the film of helium-4 and the state of helium-3 in such a film. His nomination is supported by a list of distinguished scientists, including two winners of the Nobel Prize, four recipients of the Feenberg Memorial Medal, three winners of the London Prize, and five members of the National Academy of Sciences and its international equivalents.
  • Professor Joseph S.B. Mitchell, Stony Brook University – Dr. Mitchell is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the world's leaders in computational geometry, a field that deals with difficult geometrical problems that have inherent industrial application; a classic example being the traveling salesman problem. He has been an NSF Presidential Young Investigator awardee, a Fulbright Scholar, a recipient of the 2010 Gödell prize, and is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Dr. Mitchell has an extensive record of service to his professional field; he serves on the editorial board of four of the top journals in computational geometry; and he has been very active as a committee organizer of the top conferences in his area. Professor Mitchell is an outstanding teacher and mentor, and is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Professor Stephen V. Faraone, Upstate Medical University – A brilliant clinically-trained psychologist, Dr. Faraone is the leading researcher in the genetics of schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Professor Faraone has been a member of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Upstate Medical University for nine years. In that time, he has served both as leader and mentor in raising the profile and productivity of the department. He currently is a participant in nine federally-funded studies. Further, Dr. Faraone is currently a member of the editorial board of six journals and editor of the prestigious Neuropsychiatric Genetics, deputy editor of the Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Biostatistical and Methodology, editor of the Journal of Attention Disorders, associate editor of Behavioral and Brain Functions, and has served as associate editor of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (2001-2009). Professor Faraone is also an ad hoc member of advisory committees in the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Australia and Norway.


The Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizes and honors mastery of teaching. For this prestigious tribute to be conferred, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students, and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth, and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements. Further, a faculty member must have attained and held the rank of full professor for five years, have completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the nominating campus, 10 years of full-time teaching in the System, and must have regularly carried a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. Receiving this rank today are:

  • Professor Jim D. Atwood, University at Buffalo – In over 35 years at UB, Dr. Atwood has consistently been described by his peers and students as a “first-rate research mentor” with a “passion for teaching” and an “outstanding ability to facilitate learning in and out of the classroom.” It is estimated that Professor Atwood has taught a staggering 15,000 students during his time at UB, in classes ranging from graduate level courses to an introductory level chemistry course which regularly enrolls 350 students, from chemistry majors to students fulfilling a core requirement. A 2003 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient, he has received unparalleled levels of appreciation from his students at all levels, averaging an impressive 4.52 (out of 5) approval rating. Dr. Atwood has also been an outstanding graduate student mentor, supervising nearly 45 doctoral and master's students toward the successful completion of their degrees, all of whom moved smoothly into the workforce, an indication of excellent preparation. His upper-level textbook, Mechanisms of Inorganic and Organometallic Reaction, remains widely used across the discipline — further testament to his impact on students in the field.
  • Professor Michael Schwartz, Stony Brook University – In a department known for its superb teaching, Dr. Schwartz is one of Stony Brook's very best teachers. For four decades, he has lectured brilliantly to undergraduates; his curricular and classroom innovations have enabled him to meet the historical challenges of increased class size, maintaining the highest level of undergraduate engagement. He is the Founder and administrator of the Global Studies program, and he has overseen and implemented new and exciting innovations. In addition, he has been the anchor of a top-ranked graduate program for four decades. As legions of Stony Brook's Ph.D. students will attest, he has been the most important mentor, advisor, and colleague of their entire lives. He has consistently carried about half of all graduate students, but the quantitative side is only half of the story. His students have turned out to become Stony Brook's best, and virtually all have ended up teaching at the nation's best sociology departments. At every level – undergraduate teacher, administrator, graduate teacher, colleague, and mentor – Dr. Schwartz is one of the very best teachers in one of the university's best departments.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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