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Four Jefferson Faculty/Staff Earn SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

At its forty-sixth commencement exercises held on May 21, Jefferson Community College awarded State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Awards to four distinguished faculty and staff.

The Chancellor’s Awards recognize extraordinary achievements and encourage the continuation of excellence. It is one of the most prestigious honors that can be conferred upon professionals employed at the 64 institutions of the State University of New York.

Tina M. Berkey of Adams Center, secretary for the Advising, Career and Counseling Center, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Donald J. Horton of Evans Mills, director of the computer center, was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Michael K. White of Chaumont, professor of mathematics, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Joel F. LaLone of Watertown, professor of mathematics, was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity.

(pictured left to right): Professor of mathematics Michael K. White, Chaumont, recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Carole A. McCoy, president, Jefferson Community College; director of the computer center Donald J. Horton, Evans Mills, recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; secretary for the advising, career and counseling center Tina M. Berkey, Adams Center, recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service; professor of mathematics Joel F. LaLone, Watertown, recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity.

Tina Berkey joined the classified staff at Jefferson Community College in 1982 after graduating from Jefferson with an associate of applied science degree in office technologies/secretarial science. In 1990 she earned a second degree from Jefferson, an associate of arts degree in liberal arts—humanities and social sciences, and has also taken additional coursework toward a degree in early childhood education.

Tina’s nearly thirty-year tenure at Jefferson began as a word processor, providing typing and mass mailing services to all office campuses without dedicated secretarial support. Tina then served as secretary to the Science Division for 10 years and then spent 6 years as administrative secretary to the dean for enrollment management and student life. Since 2003, she has served as secretary of the Advising Office, now called Advising Career and Counseling Center (ACCC) where her friendly demeanor, can-do abilities, extensive campus knowledge, problem solving skills and technological expertise make her an invaluable asset to the ACCC and entire campus. She willingly shares her knowledge with students and has an excellent track record of training and supervising student workers. As Senate recorder for the past five years, Tina is the first classified staff member to hold an executive position in College Senate.

Tina is extremely committed to Jefferson students and is a true ambassador of the College as both an alumna and as an active participant in numerous committees and events on campus. She has contributed her time and expertise to JCC’s United Way Campaign Committee, Institutional Technology Advisory Committee, Women’s Organization, Super Science Saturday and the Faculty/Staff Choir. In the community-at-large, Tina has served on numerous boards and volunteered her time with Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Adams Center Free Library, Special Olympics, Victim’s Assistance Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Dance World.

Donald Horton joined Jefferson in 1989 as director of the computer center. In this position, Don is responsible for Jefferson’s information systems on campus including administrative computing, data/voice communications and helpdesk operations. He holds an associate of applied science degree in business administration from North Country Community College, a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the College of Technology at Utica (now the SUNY Institute of Technology), and a master of business administration from SUNY Oswego.

As director of the computer center on Jefferson’s campus, Don has effectively lead the College through two major administrative computing software conversions and has managed Jefferson’s ever changing and expanding communication, data management and internet access needs. In his first year at Jefferson, Don quickly demonstrated his leadership abilities by tackling the first software conversion to SCT Plus, a three-year, two million dollar implementation. The second large-scale endeavor, the campus conversion to Sunguard Banner which began in 2007, is drawing to a close in 2010. In both projects, Don established and adhered to timelines and budget parameters both which were critical to the timely implementation and success of the conversions. His ability to introduce new technologies to those who are not technologically-savvy is much appreciated by colleagues across campus.

Don is instrumental in keeping the College well-positioned to take advantage of advancing technologies while continuing to manage everyday institutional computing needs. His skills in vendor negotiations ensure the College the best pricing and technological solutions. Don keeps at the forefront of technological advances through membership to the SUNY Computing Officers Association and EduCause, as well as through professional conference participation and training.

Don is well-respected by his colleagues and is known for his straight-forward communication skills, good humor, logical approach to problem solving and leadership abilities. For the past six years, Don has served as president of the JCC Faculty Association (JCCFA), the campus union for faculty and non-teaching professionals. He is effective in his ability to manage the differing perspectives of a collective body and recently guided the JCCFA through a collective bargaining process that resulted in a contract accepted by all parties.

In addition to his role with the JCCFA, Don serves on the Institutional Technology Advisory Committee, Banner Advisory Committee, JCCFA Personnel Committee, Athletic Board of Control and n numerous other campus search and ad hoc committees. Don’s Jefferson colleagues are not the only ones who benefit from his expertise. He teaches on campus as in adjunct computer science instructor and has previously served as club advisor to Student Government.

In the greater Watertown community, Don devotes his time to serving the community’s youth through area athletic programs. He is actively involved in the Watertown Hockey Association and previously served as its vice president for five years. He is a board member of the Indian River United Soccer Club. Through the years, Don has coached local youth in ice hockey, soccer, baseball and is currently an ice hockey official.

Professor Michael White has been a member of Jefferson’s faculty since 1983 and has distinguished himself as a well respected teacher by his students and as a mentor to his colleagues. He holds an associate of arts degree in mathematics from Jamestown Community College, a bachelor of arts degree in English from SUNY Albany and a master’s of education from SUNY Buffalo.

In his twenty-five plus years at Jefferson, Michael has taught a wide range of mathematics courses from developmental to upper level. One of his strongest assets is his ability to serve a diverse student population by adapting to student needs, interests and problems. His sense of humor puts students at ease and creates a positive learning atmosphere. Michael uses a variety of technology and software programs, such as Minitab and MyMathLab, in the classroom and employs creative teaching techniques that allow students to apply math concepts in personally relevant ways.

Michael is routinely called upon for his academic expertise, sound judgment, strong work ethic and professionalism. He has served the Science Division twice as chair of the mathematics department. As chair, he oversaw the expansion of the department from four full-time faculty members to nine. He was instrumental in the development of a high school liaison in the subject of mathematics to support Jefferson EDGE, the College’s concurrent enrollment program with area high schools. As an instructor, Michael also developed several courses includingSurvey of Mathematics, Intermediate Algebra and Quantitative Reasoning.

His expertise is valued by those outside of the Jefferson campus as well. As a project director with JCC’s Center for Community Studies for the past nine years, Michael has managed numerous research studies ranging in topic from tobacco cessation, to homelessness, to eating disorders. He was also invited by Cornell University to spend a year as a visiting senior lecturer teaching calculus.

Michael keeps abreast of his field through membership in professional organizations such as the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), Mew York State Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, and the American Statistical Association. He regularly attends conferences and implements ideas gleaned at these conferences in the classroom. In addition, Michael has taken several courses through MAA and one in particular, A New Vision: Making Mathematics One of the Most Interesting, Important and Useful Courses Humanities Students Experience, is particularly indicative of Michael’s desire to stimulate the intellectual growth of all his students.

Professor Joel LaLone has been a member of the math faculty at Jefferson since 1985, and project director and research coordinator for the Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson since 1999. He is a graduate of Jefferson Community College and also earned a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from SUNY Potsdam and a master of science degree in mathematics from Syracuse University. In 1991, Joel received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Joel is highly regarded throughout the northern New York region for his expertise in designing survey instruments, conducting research and analyzing survey data. He is the epitome of research at the community college level - research for which the data is utilized to effect change within local communities. Through the CCS and his own consulting company, Joel has authored more than 50 studies for community-based agencies, the results of which are used as the catalyst to improve and build stronger communities. Often, Joel’s research data is cited in grant applications that secure state and federal funding for community initiatives. Topics have included tobacco use, gambling, labor skills assessment, ATV use, the Clean Indoor Air Act, healthcare assessment, and residential initiatives, just to name a few. Perhaps one of the most important ongoing research publications Joel has composed is the annual Jefferson County Survey of the Community, now in its eleventh year, which documents and compares over time the attitudes and opinions of residents on a variety of quality of life issues.

Highly regarded as an expert on research methodology, Joel not only gives frequent presentations on the results of his studies to government and community organizations, he is often a guest speaker on the topic of research analysis in graduate classes at many academic institutions including Syracuse University and Cornell University. Jefferson Community College students benefit as well from Joel’s research. Under his training and guidance, hundreds of Jefferson statistics students collect and assist with analyzing the data in many surveys conducted by the Center for Community Studies, providing them an invaluable experience conducting scholarly research. In the Fall of 2008, Joel gained some additional personal experience when he spent his sabbatical working for Zogby International where the data being collected and analyzed was from the political polls for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election.

In addition to his community studies, Joel is also published in the traditional sense. Recently, his article “Could it Be Asthma? Using Social Marketing Strategies to Increase Parent and Caregiver Knowledge of Asthma Symptoms of Children in a Rural Community” was published in the journal Health Promotion Practice. Additionally, he has written his own college statistics textbook, currently in its 4th edition and published by McGraw Hill, which is utilized in all upper level statistics courses at Jefferson.