State University Awards Chancellor's Awards for Excellence to Four at SUNY Old Westbury

Trianglare medal on blue and gold ribbon
Gold Chancellor Medal on blue and gold ribbon

Three professors and a staff member from SUNY Old Westbury have been named recipients of 2021 State University of New York Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. The awards acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior achievement and encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

“It thrills me that the State University of New York has recognized the excellence that we see here at Old Westbury on a daily basis – both inside and outside our classrooms,” said College President Dr. Timothy E. Sams. “Engaging our students in meaningful ways that speak to our ongoing mission and drive for student success is crucial to setting them up for their own excellence, and ability to ‘own their futures.’”

Dr. Marty Cooper from the Psychology Department and Dr. Jennie D’Ambroise from the Mathematics, Computer and Information Science Department earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level in keeping with the State University’s commitment to providing its students with instruction of the highest quality.

According to colleagues and students, Dr. Cooper employs teaching techniques that involve his students in meaningful, interactive activities that build competence and confidence. Since starting at Old Westbury in 2016, he has been innovative in his pedagogy and classroom, and serves as advisor to the International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi), and for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. In addition to being a National Certified Counselor, and New York State licensed Psychologist and Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Cooper is co-chair of the College’s Institutional Review Board, managing editor of “GROUP: Journal of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society,” and tri-chair of the APA Division 17, Presidential Initiative on Big Ideas in Counseling Psychology.

Many on campus have taken note to Dr. D'Ambroise core values in teaching, and how she uses team-based learning, standards-based grading, and growth mindset approaches to help with student engagement inside and outside of the classroom. Since beginning at the College in 2015, Dr. D’Ambroise has used innovations and technology to help students review materials for before, during and after class. She has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, and mentors students on independent research projects, which she also incorporates into class. Dr. D’Ambroise lends her talents to many campus committees, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate, having previously served as secretary and treasurer.

Accounting Professor James Fornaro received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, which recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities.

Dr. Fornaro has published 27 peer-reviewed journal articles since 2003 when he began at SUNY Old Westbury in the Accounting, Taxation and Business Law Department. In 2020, he was ranked 16th nationwide among leading academic authors for contributions to the top five peer-reviewed practice journals including the “CPA Journal,” and the “Journal of Accounting and Public Policy.” In addition to his practice-related and empirical research, Dr. Fornaro has presented at various academic conference at the regional, national and international levels. He maintains his certifications as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant and Certified Forensic Examiner (CFE) and is a reviewer for four different publications and serves on the Editorial Review Board for the CPA Journal. At the College, he was instrumental in starting graduate degrees in Accounting and Taxation, and serves on several committees for the School of Business.

Ms. Rafat Sada, a counselor in the Educational Opportunity Program, was recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. This award honors individuals who continuously demonstrate outstanding skill and commitment to excellence in their professional positions, and excel in activities beyond the scope of the job description.

Sada has worked at the College for 19 years assisting students acclimate to life inside and outside of the classroom. She partners with the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid, and more to serve potential students, community agencies, adult education agencies, and high schools in the metropolitan area. She volunteers with various student organizations, and United University Professionals (UUP), NYSUT Chapter Action Project (CAP) and the Judiciary and Academic Committees on campus.