Distinguished Service Professor Laura Anker, of SUNY Old Westbury’s American Studies Department, and Director of its First-Year Experience and Community Action, Learning, and Leadership programs, has been selected by the National Society for Experiential Education’s 2019 Outstanding Leader in Higher Education award. The experiential education award is presented to an individual in postsecondary education who has demonstrated innovative uses of experiential learning at their institution. Dr. Anker will be given the award at the organization’s 48th Annual Conference later in 2019.
"Dr. Anker earned this acknowledgement for her unwavering commitment to experiential learning pedagogy and her leadership in this area,” stated Acting Associate Provost Dr. Duncan Quarless, who nominated Anker for the award. “During the last decade her leadership has involved substantial impacts locally within the campus and Long Island region, and statewide across the SUNY system.”
As a member of SUNY's Applied Learning Steering Committee, Dr. Anker helped steer the process that codified applied learning system-wide. Locally, as Director of the award-winning CALL program, she has advanced the efforts of the adoption of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Liberal Education and America's Promise initiative particularly with respect to ethical reasoning and action, and civic knowledge and engagement. Since its inception over a decade ago, the CALL program, in partnership with 60 local community civic-minded partner organizations, provided over 250,000 hours of community engagement opportunities to over 4,000 students.
A member of SUNY Old Westbury since 1978, Dr. Anker received a B.S. from Brandeis University, a M.S. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. She received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2006 and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989. She has written numerous papers in addition to two books, "Women of Courage: Jewish and Italian Immigrant Women in New York" and "First-Year Reader: The Ethics of Engagement: Educating Leaders for a Just World."
Besides her work on campus, Dr. Anker serves on various boards and committees including the the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center in East Hampton, the East Hampton Group for Good Government, Long Island Wins, and All for the East End-Long Island Community Foundation.
The National Society for Experiential Education is a nonprofit membership organization composed of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, it also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.