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SUNY Plattsburgh to Unveil Portrait of Newest Distinguished Teaching Professor

Officials from SUNY Plattsburgh will unveil the portrait of Dr. Mary Roden-Tice — the college’s newest distinguished teaching professor — at a 4 p.m. ceremony, Monday, Oct. 21, in Feinberg Library.

After that, Roden-Tice’s picture will join those of all the others who have received such honors, adorning a wall in Feinberg.

The geologist was one of only five faculty members from the 64 campuses in the State University of New York system to be named a distinguished teaching professor this year. The rank is one of the four designations that constitute the highest tributes conferred upon SUNY instructional faculty. The other three designations are the distinguished service professor, distinguished librarian and distinguished professor.

“Dr. Roden-Tice continues to demonstrate a high level of professional competence as a productive teacher and scholar since receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001,” said President John Ettling in his letter of support for the promotion. “She is a leader in undergraduate research at SUNY Plattsburgh and has engaged a number of students in significant research in the area of geology.”

Students continue to rank Dr. Roden-Tice highly on course evaluations, seeing her as a challenging, yet effective teacher.

“As a teacher, she has this quality which is hard to find: She pushes you to want to know more and discover things that you did not think were possible,” wrote former student Jessica LaBarge in another letter of support for the promotion.

Dr. Roden-Tice joined SUNY Plattsburgh in 1994 as the first female tenure-track faculty member in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science. She was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and full professor in 2005.

Her major areas of scholarly expertise include geochronology, fission-track dating, thermochronology, geochemistry, isotope geology and igneous and metamorphic petrology.

She has earned 15 grants and contracts, amounting to nearly $370,000. Of this total, $225,000 came from the National Science Foundation and allowed 36 SUNY Plattsburgh students to learn fission-track dating.

Dr. Roden-Tice has taken those fission-track techniques to “progressively higher levels of sophistication in application to real-world geological programs,” according to E. Bruce Watson, her former professor and an institute professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

National Science Foundation grants like those she has garnered are especially competitive and place her in a different class of scientists, said Robert P. Wintsch of the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University. Wintsch has known and collaborated with Dr. Roden-Tice for 20 years.

“They (the NSF grants) require outside peer review, and success rates are typically only about 20 percent,” he said. “She, thus, ranks in the top 20 percent of scientists ... There is no higher acknowledgement of her mastery of her science and success as scholar than this.”

She is the author and co-author of numerous published articles in refereed journals and the author and co-author of five field trip guidebook articles.

She was the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in geology from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. She went on to earn her master’s from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.

“I am honored to be promoted to distinguished teaching professor,” Roden-Tice said. “Teaching geology at SUNY Plattsburgh has been a very rewarding experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all my students to help them grow individually and intellectually and to experience doing science as well as learning it.”

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