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  • August 24, 2021
  • Roger Coda

Seven faculty and staff members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Music, Information Technology Services, Counseling Services and Human Resources have received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, an honor that recognizes superior professional achievement.

Award recipients for excellence in teaching are Department of Communication Associate Professor Mike Igoe and Department of English Associate Professor David Kaplin. Linda Prechtl, adjunct lecturer in the College of Education, received the award for excellence in adjunct teaching.

Joe Dan Harper, of the School of Music, was recognized for excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

The award for excellence in Professional Service was received by Director of Enterprise Data and Information Services Kevin Lane and Student Wellness and Support Executive Director Tracy Stenger.

Leah Betts, who is an Office Assistant 3 in Human Resources, received the award for excellence in Classified Service.

Dr. Kaplin is known to be highly committed to his students and for encouraging students to engage in deep learning and critical thinking. He inspires students to explore important and complex issues to gain confidence in shaping their own acts of writing and decision-making.

Victorian literature and culture, detective fiction, narratology and literature and the law are Kaplin’s areas of expertise. He has been lauded for facilitating classroom discussion and his enthusiasm for the material. Since arriving at Fredonia in 2008, Kaplin has taught over 24 courses – including seven he created.

Kaplin has served his department as curriculum committee chair and teaching effectiveness coordinator and has been a member of University Senate, pre-law advisor and mock trial team coach. He received the Fredonia Professional Development Award for Teaching and Learning and has led Fredonia’s Literacy London study abroad program for the last 10 years.

Kaplin has doctoral degrees in English and Comparative Literature and a M.A. in English, all from Indiana University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. in Western Literature, History and Philosophy from Wesleyan University.

Mr. Igoe is a former television consumer for 30 years who worked at several television stations in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York. The last 20 years of his career were spent in Western New York at WGRZ-TV, the local NBC affiliate. In his courses he teaches to industry standards drawing on his own experience as well as that of professionals still working in the field.

During his time at Fredonia Igoe has won two awards for instructional videos he produced: "Good Storytelling" and "Interviewing: Getting the facts, the feelings, and the focus." The interviewing video also won the best instructional video award at the Los Angeles Shorts Competition. Another video that was produced in collaboration with students, "The Marx Brothers and the Story of Freedonia Marxonia," was shown at the Silver Screen Film Festival in Las Vegas.

As evidenced by his consistently highly rated teaching evaluations done by students, Igoe is known as a nurturing professor.

Before joining Fredonia in 2013, Igoe taught at United International College in China and Buffalo State College. He's also lectured in Hong Kong under the U.S. Fulbright Program and in Turkey as part of a SUNY Global Fellowship

Igoe has a J.D. from University of New Hampshire Law School and a B.A., cum laude, in History from the State University at Albany. He received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Fredonia in 2019.

Mrs. Prechtl has served in the Pre-K to Grade 6 Literacy program, implementing curriculum using academic learning strategies and educational pedagogy, utilizing lectures, discussions, group work and demonstrations in literacy methods, since 2010. She is also a teaching methods instructor in the Helen R. Johnson Fredonia-Hamburg Internship Program for education majors.

For nearly 25 years, Prechtl was an elementary literacy teacher/coach, assessing and providing instruction in reading and writing to K-5 students, in the Dunkirk City School District. She was also a substitute teacher and an After School Coordinator in the district.

She participated in the American Federation of Teachers Education, Research and Dissemination program in 1999-2000, receiving training in reading comprehension best practices and learning strategies for K-5 teachers, and presented workshops and courses for district teachers.

Prechtl received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1971 and a master’s degree in Reading in 1976, both from Fredonia. She began her career in education as a third-grade teacher at West Valley (N.Y.) Central School. Prechtl has also worked for the Boys and Girls Club at Chautauqua Institution.

Mr. Harper has a distinguished career as a tenor with a wide range of musical repertoire, is known nationally and internationally as a guest performer and clinician and has performed in major orchestras and recitals in the United States and Europe.

Scholarly and creative activities of Harper include numerous art song, chamber music and orchestral performances. His record of service includes head of the Voice area, chair, Department Personnel Committee, University Senator, Music Theatre liaison and member of the Leadership Council and Presidential Review Task Force.

Harper is in high demand as a singer, studio teacher and classroom instructor, and his students describe him as kind, understanding, helpful and a great teacher. He joined Fredonia in 2004, has a M.M. in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University.

Mr. Lane’s responsibilities include being the service manager for Banner, Argos, OnCourse and OnBase programs, managing Enterprise Data Services and Information Services staff, working closely with on-campus departments and with supporting organizations such as ITEC and SICAS.

Lane, who enables departments to achieve operational efficiencies, is considered the go-to person for all administrative offices when they have a problem to be solved. He also played a critical role in executing the Excelsior Scholarship program.

Lane, recognized for his excellent analytical and creative-solving skills, joined SUNY Fredonia in 2000. He has a B.S. in Computer Science, with a concentration in Computer Information Systems and Business Management, from Fredonia.

Dr. Stenger oversees the Counseling Center, Student Health Center, Prevention, Advocacy and Wellness Services (PAWS) and the COVID-19 response and support coordinator.

Student-centered and dedicated to student success, Stenger has been instrumental in expanding health, counseling and wellness services for students. She is her division’s assessment practice and process coordinator and provides thoughtful, data driven and well researched leadership.

As an integral part of the COVID-19 response, Stenger led the Infection Control Management Team and Student Life Subcommittee in developing campus-wide support for students throughout the pandemic.

Stenger, who joined Fredonia in 1998, has a doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the State University at Buffalo, a M.A. in Counseling from Ball State University and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Fredonia.

In a career at Fredonia spanning 15 years, Ms. Betts has proven to be an exceptional employee and asset to her department and the university. She’s the first face visitors see when entering Human Resources and the first voice heard on the telephone. Betts attends to the department’s moving pieces that include staff and calendars and the big picture as well as small details.

In daily duties, it was noted that Betts demonstrates creativity, resourcefulness and a positive attitude. She has been a key player in projects, helps new hires navigate paperwork and answers their employment-related questions. She has also helped student workers become productive assistants.

The Finance and Administration division presented Betts with its Outstanding Administrative Service Award for Secretarial/Clerical in 2019.