SUNY Chancellor King Announces Inaugural Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows

March 5, 2024

10 Fellows Across SUNY's State-Operated and Community College Campuses Appointed to Support Peers in Strategies to Boost Civic Education and Engagement, and Implement Updated General Education Framework

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced the inaugural class for the Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellowship. Ten fellows were selected to advance SUNY's shared commitment to civic engagement as an essential outcome of higher education and will work to promote civic discourse among students, faculty, and staff across campus communities.

"SUNY is committed to being a place of inclusion and inquiry. SUNY's colleges and universities have long been bastions of civic engagement and civil discourse where students learn to become better, more engaged citizens as part of the path to academic achievement," said SUNY Chancellor King. "Each of the 10 fellows have extraordinary accomplishments and their collective experiences will help ensure SUNY continues to lead in promoting civic engagement across the system and inspiring generations of socially responsible SUNY graduates."

The SUNY Board Trustees said, "Civic engagement is waning and civil discourse is under attack as misinformation and strife threaten to divide us. SUNY's campuses must lead the way by creating and maintaining intellectually open environments entirely free of discrimination and harassment. That means teaching and leading, in how we construct courses, in how we instruct students, and in how we both support and moderate expression in our communities and safeguard our community members. The caliber of our inaugural fellows is second to none – all exhibit excellence in their field of study, three are Fulbright scholars. They are among the best of our faculty, and I am proud to celebrate their accomplishments, and congratulate each fellow for taking on this important work."

University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Executive Director Michelle Deutchman said, "At a time when our national discourse is so deeply polarized, the role of colleges and universities in fostering dialogue and commitment to civic engagement is more critical than ever before. With the launch of its new fellows program, SUNY is playing a crucial role in prioritizing these issues and equipping future leaders to make a difference in their communities."

The ten fellows selected for the inaugural class of the Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellowship are:

  • Angie Chung, Professor of Sociology, University at Albany
  • Babette Faehmel, Professor of History, Liberal Arts Division, SUNY Schenectady
  • Angela Graves, Assistant Professor of Global and Diversity Studies, Alfred State College
  • Ashley Mercado-Liegi, Assistant Director of the Center for Civic Justice, Stony Brook University
  • Nirav Patel, Instructor of Environmental Studies, Binghamton University
  • Laura Rao, Director of the Katherine S. Conway-Turner Office of Civic and Community Engagement, Buffalo State University
  • Joseph Scanlon, Associate Professor of Political Science, Monroe Community College
  • John Suarez, Director of the Institute for Civil Engagement, SUNY Cortland
  • Amy Werbel, Professor of Art History and Museum Professions, Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Jean Yang, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

The fellows will:

  • Foster the development of and facilitate a faculty/staff Community of Practice focused on civic education and engagement.
  • Gather and amplify resources for faculty to use when developing content for SUNY's new U.S. History and Civic Education and Engagement general education requirement.
  • Develop and co-lead a learning convening in Fall 2024 to showcase SUNY activities, including highlighting intersections between civic education and engagement and other topics like sustainability.
  • Help inform a civic education and engagement strategic plan while assisting in the identification of data needs and data gathering.
  • Coordinate with campus Student Government representatives on civic education and engagement matters.

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

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications