Faculty members honored for professional excellence
Four St. Bonaventure University faculty members were cited for professional excellence during the University’s annual Spring Awards Ceremony, held April 13.
- Kaplan Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and interim director of St. Bonaventure’s Honors Program, who was presented the Junior Faculty Award for Professional Excellence;
- S. Alan Silliker, Ph.D., associate professor of counselor education, who received the Award for Professional Excellence in Teaching;
- Darwin L. King, M.B.A., C.P.A., professor of accounting, who won the Award for Professional Excellence in Research and Publishing;
- Jason Fox, B.M.Ed., adjunct instructor of music, who received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Professional Excellence.
Harris, who came to St. Bonaventure in January of 2008, has established himself in that short time span as “a model teacher, a prestigious scholar in contemporary American literature, a tireless administrator, and an enthusiastic participant” in university activities, said Dr. John Mulryan, Board of Trustees Professor of English.
In his letter nominating Harris for the Junior Faculty Award for Professional Excellence, Mulryan praised Harris as “a charismatic, caring teacher” whose teaching is both “cerebral and entertaining,” and whose classes always draw more students than there is room for.
His voluminous scholarly work is described as cutting-edge. His 2006 article on the art and poetry of Susan Howe is still ranked No. 1 among the 50 most cited articles in the journal Contemporary Literature, said Dr. Patrick Panzarella, chair of the Department of English at St. Bonaventure, who also nominated Harris for the award.
“I don’t recall another junior member of the St. Bonaventure faculty achieving this level of distinction for scholarly work,” said Panzarella.
Harris is engaged in a major book project, editing, along with Peter Baker and Rod Smith, “The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley” for the University of California Press. In addition, his article “New Narrative and the Making of Language Poetry” was published in the journal American Literature in December 2009.
Harris’ service to the university has been “conscientious, diverse, substantial and effective,” said another colleague, Dr. Lauren Matz, associate professor of English. In addition to directing the Honors Program, Harris chairs the Faculty Honors Council and works with Admissions to recruit honors students. He is a member of the Student Life Committee for Faculty Senate, a subcommittee of the Diversity Action Committee.
Harris earned his B.A. in English from North Carolina State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame he was a teaching assistant, instructor, and coordinator of philosophy and literature programs. Prior to coming to St. Bonaventure he was a lecturer at American University in 2003, a lecturer at Trinity College in 2003-04, and an assistant professor of English at Bowie State University from 2004-07.
Silliker, winner of the Award for Professional Excellence in Teaching, earned his B.S. in psychology from Georgetown University, his M.A. in community counseling from St. Bonaventure, and his Ed.D. in counseling psychology from Boston College. He has been with the Department of Counselor Education at St. Bonaventure since 1975.
Silliker “skillfully combines research, instructional preparation, technology, exceptional communication skills, and respect for his students into a learning experience that is not only effective, but extremely well appreciated by his students,” said Dr. Craig Zuckerman, chair of Counselor Education at St. Bonaventure.
Dr. Barbara Trolley, a professor of education who nominated Silliker for the award, said her colleague is “a mentor, not just a professor,” noting one alumnus called Silliker one of the kindest people he ever met. “He is constantly evaluating his methods, integrating new research into his courses, and looking at ways to engage all students in his classes,” said Trolley.
Silliker has worked in the counseling profession for 37 years. He teaches in the graduate counselor education program on St. Bonaventure’s main campus as well as on weekends at the Buffalo Center at Hillbert College.
He was a social worker and staff psychologist at a state rehabilitation hospital in Lakeville, Mass., from 1973-75, served as a child development consultant for Olean Child Development Center in Olean from 1977-94, and was a parent educator, consultant and evaluator for the Parent Education Program in Olean from 1985-2000.
King is deserving of the Award for Professional Excellence in Research and Publishing because of his “achievements and his dedication to substantively expanding the body of knowledge” in accounting and other areas, said Dr. Carl Case, professor of management sciences, who nominated his colleague for the honor.
“Since 1999, Prof. King has had 64 manuscripts published in a wide variety of refereed international journals,” 22 of them in what the SBU School of Business regards as Tier 1 publications, said Case.
King has had 19 articles published in refereed proceedings, has presented numerous papers at regional and international professional conferences, and has served as a journal reviewer, conference track chair, and conference reviewer, said Case. He has had 24 articles in Oil, Gas & Energy Quarterly, the leading journal for natural resource accounting and taxation.
King’s research efforts have garnered him five distinguished research awards and seven best paper awards from various academic organizations. He has also conducted successful original research in other disciplines including timber accounting, Civil War accounting, student Internet behavior, student e-cheating and more.
King earned his B.A. in business administration from the University of Michigan and his M.B.A. from Michigan State University. He is a licensed certified public accountant. A member of the School of Business faculty since 1983, he chaired the Department of Accounting from 2004-06.
He served for many years as vice president of student activities and membership for the Institute of Management Accountants, and presently is a committee chair for the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences and for the International Academy of Business Disciplines.
King is a board member of the Cattaraugus Development Corporation, has been active with the Boy Scouts of America since 1986, and is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allegany.
Fox, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts’ Music Program, received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Professional Excellence for his role in helping to revitalize the music program at St. Bonaventure.
“Three years ago the department’s music ensembles were undergoing a reassessment,” said Dr. Leslie Sabina, professor of music. “The SBU Concert Band was in need of a spark, various campus constituents were lobbying for the re-establishment of a Pep Band, and there was a need to form a small brass ensemble. … I immediately realized that only one person living in the area could organize and bring excellence and passion to these disparate ensembles – Jason Fox.”
Membership in all three ensembles has dramatically increased, said Sabina, noting the Pep Band, which was lucky to draw one or two students a year, now includes more than 20 student musicians.
Laura Peterson, a lecturer in the music program, called her colleague "a remarkably energetic and dedicated teacher and performer."
Four SBU students submitted letters supporting Fox’s nomination, citing the improvement in performance of each of the ensembles under Fox’s direction, his encouragement of students to stretch their musical boundaries and even to learn new instruments, and his willingness to put in extra uncompensated hours with students to help them improve.
Fox earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Central Methodist University, where he was a featured cornet player with the University Band. He has performed as a guest conductor, guest cornet soloist and band member throughout the region.
He is music director of the Allegany Alumni and Friends Band and the former music director of Southern Tier Swing, a swing and jazz band.
Other portions of the Spring Awards Ceremony included
» Employee Recognition and
» Fr. Joe Doino, O.F.M., Honors and Awards.