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Fine, Higgins Appointed to Distinguished Ranks


Photo of Diane Fine.Photo of Bryan Higgins.TROY, N.Y. (May 13, 2011) - The State University of New York Board of Trustees approved the appointment of two SUNY Plattsburgh faculty to its distinguished ranks — the highest honors conferred upon SUNY instructional faculty by the system.

Professor of Art Diane Fine and Director of International Education Bryan Higgins are among only 25 faculty statewide to achieve the honor this year.

"SUNY has now conferred its highest faculty honor upon more than 880 current and retired professors from across the system," SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said. "In doing so, we proudly recognize the extraordinary achievements of our teachers, scholars and mentors, all of whom serve as stellar examples of SUNY's commitment to excellence."

"It is with great pride that we recognize the brilliant scholars and teachers whose service merits one of the SUNY distinguished ranks," Board of Trustees Chairman Carl T. Hayden said. "The board joins with the recipients' families and campuses in celebrating their academic, service, research and teaching accomplishments."

Diane Fine

Fine is one of only six faculty in the SUNY system to be raised to the rank of a distinguished teaching professor this year. This professorship honors mastery of teaching. For it to be conferred, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth, as well as an adherence to rigorous academic standards. To be eligible faculty must have held the rank of full professor for five years and completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the nominating campus and10 years of full-time teaching within the SUNY system.

Fine has been a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh Art Department since 1988 and is known for exceptional teaching, award-winning creative work and outstanding service to the college and community, according to SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling.

Her major areas of expertise include printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress, papermaking and two-dimensional design. She has dedicated herself to introducing students to printmaking and involving undergraduates — art majors and non-majors alike — in the world of art and in creative display and exhibition.

"Diane has thoughtfully cultivated an environment in which students feel connected to a community of creative people who share in the pursuit of beauty through art," Associate Professor of Art Peter Russom wrote in a letter of reference. "Her insight and willingness to help .. student(s) strengthened my own teaching."

Her collaborative style has resulted in numerous opportunities for her students, including exchange exhibitions with colleges and universities from Montreal to San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Fine, herself, has had her work featured in numerous national and international exhibitions. Her artist books are part of the permanent collections of 56 galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Tate Gallery in London and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Dr. Bryan Higgins

Higgins is one of only seven faculty in the State University of New York to be elevated to the distinguished service professorship this year. This honor is conferred upon instructional faculty who have achieved a notable reputation for extraordinary service not only to the campus and to SUNY, but also to the community, the state of New York or the nation, through the sustained application of intellectual skills to issues of public concern. To be eligible, service must exceed the work generally considered to be a part of a candidate's basic professional work and must extend over multiple years.

Higgins has applied his skills and knowledge as a geographer and planner to academic and administrative projects at SUNY Plattsburgh, in local and regional communities, and in half a dozen other communities in New York state, Minnesota, Canada and Latin America. Supported by grants from national, state and local agencies, his work on ecotourism; environmental and recreational issues; and housing and economic development has been of direct use to those communities. It has also resulted in more than 30 planning reports and documents and more than a dozen academic publications.

"Dr. Higgins has worked tirelessly to increase the global awareness among students, faculty and staff alike, through study abroad and faculty exchange programs and through the incorporation of global topics into the curriculum," SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling said in a letter of nomination.

Higgins has long been recognized by colleagues at home and abroad as a concerned and compassionate academic leader who focuses his intellectual and organizational skills on important matters of local, statewide, and global concern, Ettling said.

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