During a formal recognition ceremony in Albany in May, Cayuga Community College Professor Steve Keeler was inducted into the SUNY Distinguished Academy, a group active faculty at any of the system’s 64 campuses who hold a distinguished rank. The SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Keeler to the rank of Distinguished Service Professorship in December.
Keeler, the director of the College’s School of Media and the Arts and chair of the Humanities and Communications Division, is the first from Cayuga to hold a SUNY Distinguished Professorship appointment, and is one of only 16 community college faculty to have ever received this distinction of SUNY’s more than 33,000 faculty members.
“In bestowing our highest faculty honor, we proudly recognize the extraordinary achievements of these individuals and thank them for their continued commitment to excellence,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I look forward to working more closely with this group as they join the SUNY Distinguished Academy.”
As a member of the Distinguished Academy, Keeler and other members will serve as role models, offering lectures and seminars for students and scholars on their home campus as well as across the SUNY system, as well as to provide continued service to their College and SUNY. During the meeting of the Academy in May, Keeler volunteered to serve on a committee that will study a range of current issues in higher education, including massive open online courses (MOOCs). Keeler also chairs Cayuga’s new Innovation in Teaching and Technology Committee.
During a separate ceremony sponsored by the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, Keeler received a plaque commemorating his induction as a Distinguished Professor and his induction into the SUNY Distinguished Academy. The text on the plaque points out that the award “signifies the epitome of achievement for a career in higher education” and that the recipient “has achieved excellence in all aspects of a career in higher education which extends beyond the classroom into the individual’s discipline and into the community.”
“I’m very grateful to be honored with the rank of Distinguished Service Professor and to be honored with induction into the SUNY Distinguished Academy,” Keeler said. “This achievement honors not only me, but the entire College. It would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues on the faculty and the administration. Cayuga is a college that encourages excellence from our faculty and staff. That commitment to excellence, in all areas of the College, is exemplified by this distinction.”
The Distinguished Service Professorship that Keeler received honors and recognizes extraordinary service. Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service not only at the campus and the State University, but also at the community, regional and State levels. Further, many candidates for appointment have rendered influential service contributing at the national and international levels. 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, very importantly, must involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern.
“During his decades of service at Cayuga, Steve has had a transformative effect on the College and generations of students,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “This is an honor well-deserved, and I am proud to include him as a leader among Cayuga’s accomplished faculty.”
Keeler was instrumental in the creation of Cayuga’s School of Media and the Arts. He is known for his leadership and innovation in media and arts education, technology, online learning, curriculum development, and entrepreneurship education. His commitment to the larger community is also substantial. He has taken on leadership roles in regional and statewide organizations, including NEA/NY, the Auburn Public Theater and Auburn Regional Media Access Center, among others.
“Steve’s leadership and passion for teaching and serving the campus community are evident in the many success stories of our telcom alumni,” said College Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Anne Herron. “He has shared his expertise far beyond the Cayuga campuses and has made significant contributions to his field nationally through his presentations and writing. He serves as a model for our newest faculty, and I know his contributions to SUNY in his role with the Distinguished Academy will have great impact as well. I congratulate Steve on this highest professional recognition.”
He has been honored nationally and regionally for his achievements. In 1999 and 2001, the Society of Broadcast Engineers honored him as National Educator of the Year. In 2000 he received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. In 2001 and 2005, he was a finalist for the American Association of Community Colleges’ David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award. In 2005 he received Cayuga’s Faculty Award for Excellence, and in 2006, he was named College Technology Educator of the Year by the Technology Association of Central New York.
Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 942 faculty to distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 312 Distinguished Professorships; 284 Distinguished Service Professorships; 341 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. For more information about the program, read the SUNY Distinguished Ranks Faculty Awards Program history.