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Professor to Be Honored at Portrait Unveiling

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 29, 2009) - A new portrait will be added to the wall honoring SUNY Plattsburgh's most distinguished faculty members at a ceremony 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Dr. Gordon C. Pollard, who was recently promoted to SUNY distinguished teaching professor, will have his portrait unveiled and placed next to those of the other professors and librarians who were honored with similar titles.

Dr. Gordon Pollard Pollard is one of only 16 faculty members throughout the entire SUNY system to receive the distinguished teaching professorship title this year. Presented annually by SUNY, the honor is bestowed upon faculty who demonstrate consistent superior mastery of teaching; outstanding service to students and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth; and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements. It is among the highest honors given by the state university system.

Further, to be eligible for nomination, a faculty member must have attained and held the rank of full professor for five years, have completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the nominating campus and 10 years of full-time teaching within the SUNY system, and must have regularly carried a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus.

Pollard has made many contributions to the SUNY Plattsburgh community since he came to the campus in 1970, but his "most distinctive contribution as a teacher has been in the design and execution of archaeological field experiences for SUNY Plattsburgh students," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling.

"An Andeanist by training, Dr. Pollard redirected his energies in the early 1980s toward local historical archeology so that many more students than the few who might have been able to accompany him to Chile could learn archeology by doing it -- at local field sites, in local archives and museums and in local labs," Ettling added.

Pollard used these field experiences not just to teach but to do active research as well. In doing so, he published a dozen articles on various aspects of the 19th century iron industry in the North Country. Among these was one he co-wrote with a former student, earning them the R.M. Vogel Prize for outstanding scholarship in industrial archeology in 2007.

Beyond his work in the field, Pollard has been recognized for his work with students in the classroom.

"In the classroom, Dr. Pollard is one of the most inspiring teachers at the college, as student testimony and his receipt of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching attest," said Dr. Richard Robbins, another distinguished teaching professor, in his letter to the Promotion Review Committee.

"Both ratings and student comments indicate that Dr. Pollard is considered by students to be very well versed in the subject matter of his courses and well organized in presentation; challenging and demanding, but also supportive; approachable and available, both inside and outside the classroom; and stimulating of thought and discussion," said Ettling.

Pollard received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1970, and came to work at SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall of that year. Since then, he has been the recipient of 19 grants and awards and has served as an assistant editor of the research section of a national archeological journal, a reviewer of more than a dozen National Science Foundation grant proposals and a promotion evaluator at other institutions.

In addition, Pollard served as chair of the college’s anthropology department for 15 years and as both a member and the chair of the Arts and Science Courses and Curriculum Committee. He initiated and coordinates the archaeology minor and served on the Latin American studies program faculty committee for more than 20 years. He also has served on a number of other committees and worked with the Kent-Delord House Museum, the Clinton County Historical Association and the Adirondack Museum.

Pollard's promotion means that SUNY Plattsburgh's anthropology department now includes four distinguished teaching professors: Pollard, Robbins, Dr. James Armstrong, and Dr. Mark Cohen, who also holds the rank of distinguished professor. A fifth professor, Dr. Patricia Higgins, holds the rank of distinguished service professor. In a department with only seven faculty, five have earned these high rankings. In fact, all of the college's anthropology faculty eligible for these honors have now received them.

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