For Immediate Release — June 1, 2004


GENESEO, N.Y. — Professor of Biology Robert W. O’Donnell and Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Robert E. Owens, of the State University of New York at Geneseo, have been named Distinguished Teaching Professors by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York. O’Donnell and Owens are the thirteenth and fourteenth Geneseo faculty members to earn this title.

The Board of Trustees approved the appointment of sixteen Distinguished Teaching Professors and nine Distinguished Service Professors at its April 20 meeting. An appointment to Distinguished Faculty rank is the university’s highest faculty designation.

"From the moment he first came to campus, his students and colleagues realized that the department had found someone with infinite patience, great generosity of spirit, and deep dedication to undergraduate education," said SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl of O’Donnell. "He has gained a reputation as an energetic and inspiring teacher, and is a professor who cares deeply about the intellectual and personal growth of our students. He is a faculty member who loves to teach and who is exceptionally good at it."

Dahl also spoke highly of Owens. "During his 25 years at Geneseo, Bob has gained a national reputation as an inspiring teacher and a leading researcher and author in his discipline," he said. "His students admire him as a demanding but fair teacher who is very generous with his time and advice. He is realistic, encouraging and supportive, and he had dedicated himself to preparing his students to be successful teachers and practitioners."

O’Donnell came to Geneseo in 1987 after having served as a research associate and assistant professor in oncology at the University of Rochester. In 1994, he was awarded a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Two years later he was awarded the Lockhart Professorship for his contributions to overall excellence in undergraduate education at Geneseo. Since coming to Geneseo, O’Donnell, who earned his Ph.D. at The George Washington University, has been awarded more than $150,000 in external grants. He has co-authored 10 publications in national and international journals, four of those since 1998. The nominating committee wrote in its recommendation of Dr. O’Donnell that "as effective as he is teaching in the classroom, Dr. O’Donnell is equally successful and tireless in mentoring undergraduate students in his immunology and cancer research laboratory. Over the last four years, 26 students under his mentorship have presented poster or oral presentations about their research at local and national research symposia." In keeping with his student-centered approach, O’Donnell believes that faculty-student research experiences are an integral part of an undergraduate liberal arts and science education.

Robert Owens’ career at Geneseo began in 1978, after he completed his Ph.D. in speech pathology at Ohio State University. He is the director of the graduate program in speech pathology at Geneseo, and he regularly teaches undergraduate students in language acquisition, communicative disorders, assessment and language intervention, and graduate students in language disorders in children and augmentative/alternative communication. He received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Award for Continuing Education in 1991, 1994 and 1996; in 1994, he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2000, he received the college-wide PATH Award (Promoting Awareness Towards Harmony) for his efforts in promoting diversity on campus.

Owens’ reputation extends beyond Geneseo and SUNY. He is an internationally known expert in the field of child language development and disorders, and has spoken in places such as the Universidad Nacional in Bogata, Columbia, and the Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology in Seoul, Korea. This year he will be speaking at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. An active scholar, he has published several of the leading textbooks in his field, and two of these are being readied for their sixth editions. He is a prolific contributor to professional journals and a much sought-after presenter at conferences.

The Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizes and honors mastery of teaching. Appointment constitutes a promotion to a rank above that of full professor, and the authority to confer appointment resides solely with the State University of New York Board of Trustees. To be appointed to this prestigious rank, 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.

To be eligible for nomination 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, ten years of full-time teaching in SUNY, and must have regularly carried a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level.

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