Faculty, staff receive SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

Chancellor's Award-8289

Recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence at Fredonia for 2019 are (from left): Amy Beers, Elmer Ploetz, Edward McCarrick, Melinda Wendell and Dr. Peter Reinelt. (Missing from the photo is award recipient Brenda Eaton).


Four faculty and staff members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York at Fredonia, a Finance and Administration staff member who ensures campus compliance with state and SUNY internal control requirements, and a valued staff member from the Office of Admissions, have received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, an honor that recognizes consistently superior professional achievement.

Elmer Ploetz, associate professor of Communication, and Melinda Wendell, senior lecturer of English, have received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching. Peter Reinelt, professor of Economics, received the Chancellor’s Award for Faculty Service. Amy Beers, director of Internal Control, and Edward McCarrick, instructional support associate in the Science Center, have received the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Service, and Brenda Eaton a program aide in the Office of Admissions received the Chancellor’s Award for Classified Service.

“These faculty and staff members exemplify the ideals of Fredonia: commitment to students and service to their colleagues, the campus, and the community. I congratulate them on this recognition of their achievements and their dedication,” said President Virginia Horvath.

Ms. Beers, who began her career at Fredonia as a financial aid advisor, was promoted in 2007 to Director of Internal Control in the Finance and Administration division, where she developed a reputation as a pragmatic, rational and articulate professional.

Records management officer, records access officer, Child Protection Policy liaison and Touchnet MarketPlace administrator are among roles that Beers has in the Finance and Administration division. She established and chairs an internal control committee and the Trademarks and Licensing Committee and co-chairs the campus-wide Information Security Committee. Beers conducts department training sessions, investigations into misconduct, internal control reviews and campus-wide training sessions in proper cash handling procedures.

The internal control/enterprise risk management process requires constant confidentiality, problem solving, consultation with legal counsel and investigation of circumstances and needs to be fair and adhere to laws, policies, regulations and guidelines.

In nomination materials, it was noted that Beers demonstrates a positive, can-do attitude. According to a former supervisor, Beers views ever-changing standards, expanding SUNY and state mandates and new policies and procedures as learning opportunities and exciting challenges.

Beers has received certificates of completion in 11 programs that include: Policy Development, Administrative Management Institute, Leadership Academy, Bow Mac Software, Association of College and University Auditors and SANS Institute. She has an A.S. from Jamestown Community College, a Certificate in Law Enforcement Technology from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Academy, a B.A. in Psychology from Fredonia and was enrolled in the Business and Policy Studies graduate program at SUNY Empire State College.

Mr. McCarrick is widely considered the “unsung hero” of the Science Center, where he performs a wide variety of support duties and goes above and beyond the call of duty to support and serve faculty and assist students.

Among his many duties are: purchasing supplies and equipment; coordinating building access; uploading and maintaining the Department of Biology’s webpage; maintaining close working relationships with colleagues, associates and vendors; obtaining competitive quotes for major equipment purchases and supervising work study students.

The Herculean task of successfully relocating the Department of Biology from Jewett Hall to the new Science Center was facilitated by McCarrick. He helped organize the massive undertaking that involved moving equipment and chemicals and unpacking and setting up new equipment. McCarrick was also responsible for creating and submitting purchase orders for $2.3 million of equipment for the new facility, a task that required a high level of oversight to track quotes, orders and equipment arrival.

McCarrick also oversees equipment and supply budgets for the department. As the animal colony director, McCarrick completed the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative program for the institutional animal care and use committee.

Mr. Ploetz brings extensive work experience in the media to the classroom. His teaching philosophy embraces many responsibilities and skills in and out of the classroom. While theory is important for journalism majors, Ploetz believes his best teaching moments occur when he creates opportunities for students to apply their skills. He collaborates with colleagues at Fredonia and across SUNY.

Ploetz utilized his formal education and applied knowledge in the field to build the journalism major at Fredonia, creating seven different courses and helping to design two others.  Under his tutelage, students learn InDesign and Photoshop, the industry’s leading software programs, and receive hands on and practical instruction on how to produce professional looking periodicals.

He has been praised for his expertise and expansive social networks within the region’s journalism community and has brought local media professionals to campus to meet with students.

Dedication to teaching extends beyond the classroom. Ploetz advises the student newspaper, The Leader, and the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Dozens of professional journalists have met students and field trips have been taken to major metropolitan newspapers. Ploetz has supervised over 100 internships in the last 10 years.

Dr. Reinelt has provided extensive service that spans the Department of Economics, the School of Business, the Fredonia campus, SUNY and the region. For the School of Business and Economics. Reinelt was a member of search committees for two lecturers, four visiting assistant professors, six tenure-track assistant professors, three secretaries and two deans. He has also served as interim chair and has been chair of the Department of Economics since 2012.

Service to the university encompasses 12 committees, teams and working groups. These include the Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, Middle States Reaccreditation Working Group, START-UP NY Steering Committee, General Education Transition Team and University Strategic Planning Committee, among others.

Collaborations with other SUNY institutions that Reinelt has been engaged in include the technical advisory group for the Cattaraugus Creek Watershed Project with SUNY Buffalo and the Biomass Energy Grant team with SUNY Cobleskill for a U.S. Department of Energy grant.

In nomination materials, it was noted that Reinelt has played a critical role in advancing development of a regional water district linking Dunkirk and villages and towns of Northern Chautauqua County. His analysis made the district, which had been under consideration for 40 years, more understandable.

Service to the region has been given as a member of the Chautauqua County Blue Ribbon Panel charged with advising the county executive on the state’s offer to eliminate Medicaid cost increases for a percentage of the county sales tax, and as a board member of the Van Buren Bay Association for managing road drainage and repaving projects.

Ms. Wendell has taught students at every level, from first-year to senior, in General Education, English Literature and English Education programs. She arrived at Fredonia as a graduate student, was hired as a part-time adjunct instructor after receiving her M.A., earned subsequent promotions and created multiple courses for Elementary Education majors with concentrations in English.

In nomination materials, it was noted that in the classroom, Wendell strikes the proper balance between providing positive reinforcement and getting students to acknowledge the steps necessary to improve their skills. Her students learn how to set up writing workshops, to guide their own future students through the writing process, to confer with young authors and how to assess and evaluate writing.

In addition, it was noted that Wendell pushes her students’ boundaries, helping them to raise their own bar and aim higher. She models the practices and behavior she wants her own students to achieve in their classrooms.

As the Department of English’s coordinator of composition, Wendell helped to facilitate summer orientation for newly hired adjunct instructors and teaching assistants. She has been an active member of the English Education Committee for the last 18 years and served as the unofficial coordinator of the department’s English Concentration.

Wendell has helped to organize writing conferences and invite speakers to the campus and local community and volunteered for campus activities that include the Young Writer’s Workshop.

In a career at Fredonia that spans 25 years, it was noted that Ms. Eaton has demonstrated outstanding achievement, skill and commitment to excellence. She embodies the spirit of the Chancellor’s Award as a hard-worker and enthusiastic supporter of Fredonia, its mission and its current and future students.

Eaton’s primary responsibility is processing of applications, which requires attention to detail and completing projects in a timely manner. She also processes all acceptance letters to international students. Her work with EC English has allowed Eaton to take on a leadership with Pathway, the new international admissions process. Eaton has also been integral to the success of how Music and Theatre Arts auditions are streamlined into the Admissions process.

Eaton has volunteered at Admissions events, such as Fredonia Exploration Days, that occur on weekends. She knows her colleagues need assistance and she loves talking about Fredonia with parents and prospective students.

The six recipients, along with Diane Everett (Department of World Languages and Cultures) and Andrew Martin Smith (School of Music), who have received SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, are scheduled to be formally recognized at the All-Campus Meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 9 a.m., at Rosch Recital Hall.