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Professors Levitin, Miller Receive Top Honors from SUNY

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (May 14, 2010) -- Two SUNY Plattsburgh professors have been appointed to the distinguished ranks that constitute the highest tribute conferred upon faculty by the State University of New York system.

Dr. Alexis Levitin, a professor of English, is one of only six faculty in the 64-campus system to be promoted to a distinguished professorship this year. Dr. Edward Miller, the chair of the chemistry department, is similarly one of just nine to be promoted to a distinguished service professorship.

Alexis LevitinThe distinguished professorship is conferred upon SUNY faculty who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within their chosen field. The distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the arts. The candidate's work must be of such character that the individual's presence will elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond the individual's academic field. Appointment constitutes a promotion to SUNY's highest academic rank and is conferred solely by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Levitin's work -- largely comprised of English translations of Portuguese poetry -- has appeared in 33 anthologies and significantly more than 200 literary magazines. It has also resulted in 30 books. Levitin himself has earned more than two dozen awards and fellowships, including the Fulbright Senior Lecturer Award, a Columbia University President's Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship grants. In addition, he has read from his books in university and lecture halls around the world, including places like Paris, Prague, Toronto and Montreal as well as throughout Brazil, Portugal and the United States.

"The many prestigious awards and fellowships he has won, the numerous universities and literary groups that have invited him to do readings, and the very diversity of publishers and publications that have accepted his work all demonstrate, without a doubt, that his work is well known and highly respected throughout the world," said Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Higgins in her letter of nomination for the honor.

"Through his many publications and speaking engagements in so many cities and countries, Dr. Levitin has already contributed to the renown and prestige of SUNY," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling, in a similar letter. "As a SUNY Distinguished Professor, he will continue to do so."

The distinguished service professorship is conferred upon SUNY instructional faculty who have achieved a notable reputation for extraordinary service not only to the campus and to SUNY, but also to the community, New York state, and/or the nation, by sustained effort in the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate's scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. To be eligible for the nomination, service must exceed work generally considered to be a part of a candidate's basic professional tasks and should include service that exceeds that for which professors are normally compensated. More importantly, the service must extend over multiple years. In addition, to be eligible, faculty must have previously held the rank of full professor for five years, should have no less than three years of full-time service at the nominating institution and have completed at least 10 years of full-time service to SUNY.

Ed MillerIn his 26 years at SUNY Plattsburgh, Miller has developed and taught a wide range of courses in chemistry; directed numerous research experiences and taught honors courses and Freshman Experience seminars. His work has extended far beyond the classroom, however. He served in an administrative capacity in roles including that of a university life fellow with SUNY System Administration; interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management; interim provost; and interim associate dean. He's played an active role in faculty governance as a statewide university faculty senator; chair of SUNY Plattsburgh's Faculty Senate; and chair of the Academic Policies Committee, as well as serving on Middle States Review panels and the Strategic Planning Committee. In addition, Miller has created opportunities for students as founding adviser of the college's Chemistry Club and founder, developer and organizer of the college-wide Showcase featuring student work.

His awards have included a Greek Adviser of the Year Award, a Plattsburgh Lions Club President's Appreciation Award, an American Institute of Chemists Award from St. Joseph's University, and numerous grants and fellowships.

"Dr. Miller's service contributions have been well above and beyond what is normally expected of a faculty member, and they have addressed college, community and state-wide concerns," said Ettling in his letter of support for Miller. "To each activity he has brought dedication, thoughtfulness, creativity, an ability to work with others, and considerable leadership skills."

"As so many others have also observed, he willingly takes on challenging, complex tasks; dedicates himself to their successful completion; … and always has the best interests of the students, the institution and the community in mind," said Higgins, in her letter of support.

Levitin and Miller will be honored by the campus community during the President's Welcome on Friday, Aug. 27, prior to the return of students for the fall semester.

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