SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints 11 Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

November 13, 2014

New York City – The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently approved the appointments of 11 faculty to distinguished ranks. All distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “It is our distinct honor to recognize SUNY’s best and brightest faculty with our highest faculty ranking. The professors receiving this ranking today are innovators and trailblazers in their chosen field, teaching and mentoring students, advancing groundbreaking research and discovery, and providing an impeccable service to our world. Congratulations to all of our newest distinguished faculty.”

“The SUNY distinguished faculty bring our students the best SUNY has to offer – quality teaching and instruction, innovative research opportunities, and engaging community service,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “We are proud to recognize the leadership and academic excellence of our distinguished faculty and the positive impact they have on students and campuses as well as communities here in New York and around the globe. Many thanks and congratulations to this most recent class of distinguished faculty.”

Since the program's inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,005 faculty to distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 342 Distinguished Professorships; 298 Distinguished Service Professorships; 360 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. More information about SUNY’s faculty award program is available online.

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  are:

  • Colin Loftin, University at Albany – Dr. Loftin has distinguished himself as a scholar with a stellar reputation, both nationally and internationally, in multiple areas of research. He publishes extensively on the social sources of criminal violence, criminal justice policy, and crime measurement. His research is marked by rigorous analysis and theoretical creativity. It has served as a model for other scholars, and has had a lasting influence on later work. Accuracy of official crime measurement has been a significant theme in Colin’s work. His role influencing the evolution of the National Crime Survey is particularly notable. He participated in the survey's redesign in the early 1980s, recently reviewed the survey as part of a National Research Council panel, and will now advise the group charged with the upcoming redesign. In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder invited Colin to serve as an inaugural member of the Office of Justice Programs’ Science Advisory Panel, a group formed to help bridge the gap between research and practice in criminal justice. Dr. Loftin has an extensive service record throughout the discipline and the University. He is an American Society of Criminology (“ASC”) Fellow and a former ASC Executive Counselor.
  • Michael Constantinou, University at Buffalo – Dr. Constantinou is one of the world’s leading scholars in the area of seismic protective systems. Dr. Constantinou has had a profound impact on the practice of earthquake engineering in the U.S. and around the globe. His research has been employed to ensure the stability and safety of some of the world’s most prominent structures located in some of the most seismically active and highly populated regions of the planet, from the San Francisco International Airport and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to on-and-off shore gas platforms in Greece and Russia. The Deputy Director of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory at UB, Dr. Constantinou has been the primary investigator or co-primary investigator for more than $30 million of externally funded research. His four patents—one in use and three pending after filing innovation disclosures—are described by colleagues as having the capability to protect millions of people from the effects of earthquakes, storms, and other severe hazards.
  • Eugene D. Morse, University at Buffalo – Dr. Morse is a pioneer and internationally recognized leader in the field of HIV pharmacology research. Among his most influential accomplishments was development of the charge to national clinical pharmacology groups to pursue Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (“TDM”) and pharmacogenomics, establishing the National HIV TDM Registry for protease inhibitors.  He created ground-breaking methodologies important to drug level measurements in human subjects, including the development of novel liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methods for quantifying HIV protease inhibitors, and developed a pharmacology laboratory for a National Institutes of Health funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group, increasing the number of antiretrovirals nationally and internationally. The founding leader of the new SUNY Global Health Conferences and SUNY Global Health Institute, he is internationally renowned as a leader in assessing pharmacokinetics of new medications addressing Hepatitis C and tuberculosis in relation to HIV, and established a highly successful antiretroviral pharmacology training program in Zimbabwe, where 15 percent of the population lives with AIDS.
  • Karolyn Stonefelt, SUNY Fredonia – Dr. Stonefelt joined the SUNY Fredonia School of Music faculty in 1993 after years of performing as a percussionist in a wide variety of venues and styles.  She performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.S.S.R.  With the Baltimore Symphony, she was the first full-time woman percussionist on contract with a major symphony orchestra. She also performed in over 20 Broadway and off-Broadway shows, recorded television and radio commercials, and founded various chamber, jazz, and percussion ensembles. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Ghana, she studied Dagara xylophone styles and has mentored several Ghanaian artists.  She has had 11 funded grants, seven recordings, 20 solo performances, and much conducting, composing, producing, consulting, and arranging. She has led ethnic music ensembles on campus and around the world. She is currently the percussionist and hammered dulcimer player for Fioretto (Finland), timpanist for the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and a regular performer in New York and California.
  • Erwin London, Stony Brook University – Dr. London has investigated the structure of biological membranes.  In 140 published studies, his group has developed methods to define the position of molecules within membranes at the angstrom level of resolution, and applied them to define how the position of membrane proteins within biomembranes is controlled by sequences and lipid composition, plus the mechanisms by which bacterial protein toxins insert into and cross biomembranes. His work on the principles behind lipid organization in biomembranes is perhaps most well-known. Dr. London proposed (together with Professor Deborah Brown of Stony Brook University) the now widely accepted model that sphingolipid-cholesterol rich membrane domains co-exist with domains rich in unsaturated phospholipids. His group recently identified such domains in the bacterium causing Lyme disease (together with Distinguished Professor Jorge Benach of Stony Brook University). Membrane domains can segregate and cluster membrane proteins, thus controlling protein-protein interactions and function, and his recent work has defined the mechanisms controlling protein behavior. Finally, his group has made breakthroughs in production of artificial membranes mimicking natural membranes to an unprecedented degree.  Combined, this work has revolutionized our understanding of biological membranes.

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.

  • Zu-yan Chen, Binghamton University – Dr. Chen’s nomination is based upon his contributions to the educational mission of Binghamton University in three important areas. First, over the course of 26 years of teaching at the campus, he has proven himself to be a popular and effective classroom teacher, as previously evidenced by his receipt in 2009 of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and many letters from current and past students. Second, he has been a successful program builder, developing the Chinese program from the few introductory courses offered when he arrived, into what is now a large and comprehensive language program offering a major, minor, and graduate concentration in the new Master of Arts program of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. Third, he has authored a number of advanced Chinese textbooks, noteworthy for their combination of classical Chinese, modern Chinese, and cultural content.
  • Johannes M. Nitsche, University at Buffalo – A leading example to his students as a superb scholar and dedicated researcher, Dr. Nitsche is internationally renowned for his theoretical research in biological transport processes and dermal absorption. Dr. Nitsche's teaching efforts have been exceptional, as recognized through the 1995 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as other teaching awards. Among his numerous innovative and highly effective contributions, Professor Nitsche conceived and put into practice the Spiral Learning Initiative in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, which has revolutionized the undergraduate curriculum in the department. Dr. Nitsche cares deeply about advancing the mathematics and computation ability of graduate students, and has played an instrumental role in graduate curriculum revision that strengthens training in this area. Professor Nitsche has recently received a book contract from Springer to write a problem-based textbook on transport phenomena with the potential to be used by a growing number of bioengineering programs.
  • Stephen V. Stehman, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry – Dr. Stehman was nominated for his demonstrated commitment and skills in the art of teaching. Dr. Stehman exemplifies what SUNY desires in a professor: outstanding researcher, willingness to give generous and exceptional service to the College, and, most importantly, serving as faculty member who truly cares about the education of his students. He brings a quiet passion to his courses and is able to impart complex theories and knowledge in his field of study, statistics. His scholarship is well-respected by his peers nationally and globally. He is generous with his ideas and shares credit willingly with colleagues and students.  His statistical sampling work has been ground-breaking.  Yet, his interactions with students give him the greatest pride—he is a teacher, first and foremost. Professor Stehman has been previously recognized with many teaching awards, including the Undergraduate Student Association Distinguished Teaching Award, Foundation Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teaching, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Farhad Ameen, Westchester Community College – Dr. Ameen is a master teacher and scholar in the field of Economics at Westchester Community College. His courses cover a wide range of academic and practical applications in his field. He couples course work with research and field experiences. Fluent in five languages, he presents a global perspective to teaching and his students’ experiences. His pedagogy serves as a model for colleagues and peers. He is tireless in his commitment to student success and serves his discipline with vigor.  Dr. Ameen brings world-wide economic and human problems to the forefront of his classroom activities by encouraging students to become citizens of the world. As part of his service to the College, Dr. Ameen was awarded three Foundation Distance Learning Fellowships from WCC, to develop online courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and International Economics, which he currently teaches. Employing all styles of teaching and learning, he is a dynamic force for change in the modern world and in higher education.

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service. Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service not only at the campus and the State University, but also at the community, regional and State levels. Further, many candidates for appointment have rendered influential service contributing at the national and international levels.  Service must exceed the work generally considered to be a part of a candidate’s basic professional work and should include service that exceeds that for which professors are normally compensated.  It must also extend over multiple years and, very importantly, must involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. Receiving this rank today are:

  • R. David Bynum, Stony Brook University – In 1993, Dr. Bynum set out to create inquiry learning and research opportunities for undergraduates and high school students. He quickly secured support from the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”), National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for his innovative approaches.  In 1998, he developed the Masters in Teaching Biology degree, and, in 2004, was charged with directing the University Science Teacher Education programs. In 2007, the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (“CESAME”) was formed as the umbrella organization for these activities with Dr. Bynum as founding director.  In 2010, the Doctoral Program in Science Education commenced.  Professor Bynum’s efforts have resulted in over $20 million in external funding and 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to STEM education programs from K-12 through postdoctoral studies. CESAME now includes four tenure-track faculty members, five lecturers, three administrators, a dozen more associated faculty, and collaborators spanning New York State.  Over 80,000 students have participated in CESAME programs. Dr. Bynum has often been honored for his contributions, perhaps most notably at the White House with the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
  • Maire M. Keena Liberace, Rockland Community College – Professor Liberacehas been a member of the faculty at Rockland Community College since 1982, and is a Professor of Speech and Philosophy.  She has also served in various other capacities on campus, including administrative positions. She has given service to many campus committees over her years of teaching. She is a certified bioethicist, has a graduate degree from Manhattanville College, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree from Empire State College. She is both a registered nurse and a state certified midwife. She is the author of the Ethics of Organizations: A Mandate for Management, and editor of the Life, Career and Education Planning text.  She has written procedural manuals for business and industry and has also published poetry. Professor Liberace has been a long-standing member of the Good Samaritan Hospital Board, and of the Bons Secours Health System Board.  She has chaired the Quality Assurance Committee at Good Samaritan Hospital and serves on the Catholic Identity Resource Tool and Ethics committees. Professor Liberace is active in other community, national, and international arenas, including the East Ramapo School District, the arts, and cultural and community organizations in Rockland, New York State, and internationally. She has been privileged to sing for two popes in New York and also at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, with the Sistine Choir.

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, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 opportunities, visit

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