Rees & Grillo Honored by SUNY

Alfred State College Professors Jim Grillo, Hammondsport, and Robert E. Rees, Alfred, both members of the School of Management and Engineering Technology, were among 28 SUNY-wide faculty members recognized by the State University of New York as Distinguished Teaching Professor and Distinguished Service Professor, respectively.  The designation constitutes a promotion above that of full professor.

Criteria for distinguished teaching professor include skill in teaching, scholarship, and professional growth; service to students; academic standards; requirements and evaluations of student performance; academic background, rank, and length of service; as well as letters of support from colleagues, students, and supervisors.

James GrilloGrillo's nomination read, in part:  [Professor Grillo] "... evidences superb performance in the classroom and is flexible in his instructional techniques.  He rewrites his lectures, adds new material, and revises his lesson plans on a regular basis.  Jim takes great effort to prepare class materials in a variety of formats.  He employs articles, visual aids, notes, charts, and handouts to present course materials.  He encourages critical analysis and real-world application of course concepts and issues." 

In the areas of scholarship and professional growth, it was noted that Grillo "makes it a point to keep abreast of and contribute to contemporary issues in his field.  He has obtained certification by the Entrepreneurial Education Foundation as a Premier Fast Trac instructor and administrator.  He has revised courses in business technology to include current thinking and best practice.  He has designed an entrepreneurship course to be delivered in a blended (synchronous and asynchronous) format.  He designed a business planning guide for the Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program, developed teaching modules in supervisory development for the Dresser-Rand Corp., and created teaching modules in management for Jones Memorial Hospital." 

Professor Grillo's students were loud and clear in their praise of his service to students, noting, Professor Grillo "is generous with his personal time, accessible to his students and has shown continuous concern for the growth of his students.  He makes it a priority to get to know his students by name.... He treats his students with respect, acknowledges their accomplishments, and is gentle when they fall short.  Professor Grillo is empathetic of the fact that students have personal and family issues to address while they pursue their degrees.  He has participated in the mini-visitation programs for high school seniors and in summer orientation for incoming students for many years. Grillo is the curriculum coordinator for entrepreneurship students and advises students in the business administration transfer program."

It was also noted that Professor Grillo "provides detailed instructions to students regarding his expectations of their assignments and examples of exemplary work from previous semesters.  His course syllabi emphasize that student papers must demonstrate consistently good grammar and be free of error in addition to being an appropriate and thorough examination of the topic presented in an organized fashion."

Grillo has been a member of the Alfred State College family for 35 years, serving in a variety of capacities throughout those years. He holds two degrees from Alfred University:  a bachelor of science in business administration and a master of science in counseling and guidance.  Additionally, he has completed an additional 24 graduate credit hours in educational administration through the University at Albany.

Grillo began service at Alfred State College as a residence hall coordinator in 1972.  The following year, he moved into a full-time position in the Office of Admissions.  Between 1978 and 1989, while the dean for Admissions, Records, and Financial Aid, Jim taught courses in the Business Technology Department as an adjunct instructor.  He was hired as an associate professor in 1989, and promoted to full professor in 1992.  He was recognized by SUNY in 1980 with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service, and by alumni in both 1992 and 1993 as the Business Teacher of the Year. 

Professor Grillo's nomination to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor is supported by a broad spectrum of the college community as evidenced by the numerous letters from former students, colleagues, and supervisors, and directors of community agencies for whom Jim has taught.   

Professor Grillo was strongly supported for appointment as a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor by his colleagues and supervisors.  Professor Grillo's department chair, Thomas Stolberg, believes that "Jim...[is] a true and caring leader....Jim Grillo's desire for constant updating and improvement of the program has been infectious [within] the department.  With regard to the leadership of students, Jim is unsurpassed in...sincere concern for the wellness and success of his students, whether or not they are one of his 60-plus advisees." 

Kathleen English, business development officer of The Enterprise Center of Rural Opportunities, Inc., has worked with Grillo for more than five years in the Microenterprise Assistance Program which is designed to provide training, technical assistance, and loans for eligible participants.  She wrote that "Jim's dynamic personality and engaging teaching style have contributed to making this program a success.  Jim developed [a] 12-week program to assist entrepreneurs in starting or expanding their business."  Louise Wadsworth of the Livingston and Wyoming Counties Alliance for Business Growth directs a 12-week program for small business owners.  Jim has taught many sessions of this program for an average of 25 adults with a wide range of business experience.  She wrote that student evaluations of Professor Grillo's instruction indicate that they were extremely satisfied with both the content and its presentation.  "They often cite his practical business experience and teaching techniques as the aspects they found most beneficial.... He has an exceptional gift for teaching that he combines with hands-on knowledge of the business world." 

Appointment to the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field.  This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the arts.  The candidates' work must be of such character that the individuals' presence will elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons' academic fields.  It must also be of such quality that students and scholars on other SUNY campuses could and would wish to benefit by lectures and seminars or other appropriate presentations the faculty members might bring to them. 

Criteria for distinguished service professor include substantial and distinguished service at the local and/or regional level and at the state, national, or international level; academic background, rank, and length of service; as well as letters of support from colleagues and supervisors.

Robert ReesProfessor Rees' nomination noted that he has "provided substantial and distinguished service to Alfred State College, his local community, public higher education at the state level, and his profession on the national level.  Prior to joining the Alfred State faculty, Rees had worked for 10 years as a Van de Graaff Accelerator technician at a nuclear physics laboratory and as a project engineer and electrical engineer in the steel industry.  After earning his master's degree, Rees taught electrical and electronics engineering technology at Vermont Technical College.

Rees has been involved in the community throughout the 21 years he has been a member of the Alfred State faculty.  He founded the a cappella madrigal vocal group, Kanadadea Chorale, in 1988 which presented concerts each year for more than 10 years and entertained area nursing home residents.  He has also been a trustee of the Union University Church. Rees is a competitive triathlete having attained age-group honorable mention all-American national ranking for the past two years (top 10%).

Rees served as chair of the Engineering Technology Taskforce during the era of the UCT (University Colleges of Technology) in the mid-1990s.  During this period, faculty of the colleges of technology visited each other's campuses and exchanged aspects of their respective strengths, particularly in the technical areas.  This alliance was an organized response to a prior proposal to close some technical colleges.  As chair of the UCT Strategic Alliance, Rees coordinated the formation of discipline-specific taskforces.  He provided national as well as state service during this time.  He served as a TAC/ABET (Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation evaluator for electrical engineering technology visiting institutions in Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

Since 1999, Rees has been the ASC engineering science transfer program coordinator.  He advises all students intending to continue study toward a degree in engineering after completion of an associate's degree, takes sophomores to transfer institutions, and recommends them for acceptance to the program of their choice. 

For more than 15 years, Rees has served on committees of the United University Professions (UUP).  He has spent over 10 years focusing on issues pertinent to the Colleges of Technology sector.  Rees held several terms as the UUP Alfred Chapter vice president for academics and, for the past six years, has been the Alfred Chapter president.  He has been an ardent and successful advocate with legislators and (SUNY) System Administration.  His collaborative efforts over several years have resulted in additional funding for the colleges of technology.

Professor Rees' committee memberships have included the UUP Statewide Elections and Credentials Committee, the NYS/UUP Joint Labor Management Campus Grants Committee, and the 2002-04 and 2006-07 UUP Negotiations Teams.  Rees has served four years on the UUP Statewide Executive Board, has co-chaired the NYS/UUP Joint Labor Management Health and Safety Committee, and was recently appointed to the NYSUT Health & Safety Task Force.  As a member of the NYSUT Health & Safety Task Force, Rees has played a role in addressing concerns of more than 300,000 K-16 members statewide. 

Rees began his distinguished career with SUNY in 1986 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering technology.  He became an associate professor in 1990 and attained the rank of professor in 1996.  Rees served two terms (1993-99) as chair of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department including two years also chairing the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department, and six months (September 1996-February 1997) as interim dean of Information Technology.

In 1992, Rees received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Professor Rees earned both the bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Pennsylvania and Vermont.  He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and of the SUNY Two-Year Engineering Science Association.  Rees' research area is human visual perception of form with particular interest in pattern analysis, recognition, and machine intelligence.

Professor Rees has the support of colleagues at Alfred State and at the statewide level in his nomination for promotion to the rank of Distinguished Service Professor.  UUP President William E. Scheuerman has worked with Rees for over a decade in many capacities at UUP. 

Scheuerman credits Rees with being "an influential member of the UUP Negotiations Team that brought in one of our best contracts in the state.  In fact, Bob played a jugular role in getting state negotiators to recognize the many tough issues facing SUNY's tech sector colleges." 

Scheuerman also reports that, in over 30 years at SUNY and more than 20 years as a UUP activist, he has never met a more deserving candidate for the honor of SUNY Distinguished Service Professor than Robert Rees.  He affirms that Rees has played a leading role at the state level.  "After serving effectively on the A-31 Committee, a joint NYS/UUP committee created during negotiations to identify institutional issues at these under-funded institutions, Bob accepted the position of chair of the Tech Sector Committee.  The committee was charged with resolving the issues identified by A-31, i.e., the need for higher salaries and more training opportunities for faculty.  Under Bob's pragmatic and effective leadership, UUP worked closely with campus presidents in developing a long-term solution to both issues."

Craig Clark, ASC interim vice president of academic affairs, also supports Rees' nomination, recommending him highly.  Clark has worked with Rees for more than 15 years and says, "He will always volunteer for the tough job if it benefits the [College]."  Clark credits Rees with the success of several TAC and ABET accreditation visits indicating that the preparations were always handled professionally and in a timely manner.  "Bob is truly a leader who is committed to making SUNY, Alfred State College, and all the students the best that they can be.  He is a great example of the SUNY Distinguished Service Professor...."

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service.  Appointment can be conferred solely by the SUNY Board of Trustees.  Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service not only at the campus and the State University levels, but also at the community, regional, and state levels. To be considered appropriate, service must exceed the work generally considered to be a part of a candidate's basic professional work and should include service that exceeds that for which professors are normally compensated.  It must also extend over multiple years and must involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate's scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. In addition to the selection criteria for the Distinguished Service Professorship, to be nominated, a faculty member must have held the rank of full professor for five years, have three years of full-time service at the nominating institution, and have completed at least 10 years of full-time service for SUNY.