SUNY Maritime honors three instructors


(THROGGS NECK, N.Y.) — The State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College recently honored three individuals with chancellor's awards for excellence: Elissa DeFalco, an associate professor of humanities; Richard Burke, ABS professor of marine engineering and naval architecture; and Dan Fridline, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Elissa DeFalco

DeFalco, an associate professor of humanities at SUNY Maritime College, received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award was given in recognition to her dedication to the success of her students, her willingness to serve her department and the college, and her commitment to academic excellence.

“Your mastery of teaching, dedication to students, adherence to the highest academic standards, and continued professional achievements are reflected in your selection for this honor,” said Nancy L. Zimpher, SUNY chancellor. “Your dedication and continuing contributions to SUNY are a source of great pride and inspiration to us all.”

In nearly a decade at SUNY Maritime, DeFalco has developed three elective courses, including one for the master’s in Maritime and Naval Studies program. She has also served on several department and campus committees, and completed an intensive study program at Mystic Seaport funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

DeFalco especially shines is in the classroom. According to Karen Markoe, humanities department chairwoman, students regularly request permission to take her classes after they are full and give her some of the highest course evaluations in the department. She also regularly revises her courses to reflect students’ input, interests and recommendations.

“Her dedication to students struggling with materials is quite clear: she does not wait for students to come to her, or allow them to quietly sneak through a course with work that barely qualifies as passing,” said Markoe. “Elissa shows students that she cares intensely about their success, but that they need to match her in that intensity. Perhaps most notably in her student evaluations, she is not only ranked at the highest levels in terms of her teaching, accessibility and fairness, but also for challenging students to think analytically.”

DeFalco is also highly praised for developing a “writing index,” or a guide of the most common mistakes students make in writing assignments. This makes it easier for her to give constructive feedback quickly, and allows her students to take an active role in their own improvement, Markoe said.

“Elissa takes pride in her teaching,” Markoe said. “I am enormously proud of her and how she has helped countless students to succeed, move on to graduate and take their place in the world, confident of their abilities, even when the waters were sometime quite rough on their way to success.”

Richard Burke

Burke, ABS professor of marine engineering and naval architecture at SUNY Maritime College, recently received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service.

The award was giving in recognition of Burke’s years of service to the engineering department, SUNY Maritime, SUNY and the naval architecture profession.

“This award was developed by faculty for faculty, and only those who have demonstrated a record of sustained, superior service to a wide range of diverse constituents receive this distinction,” said Nancy L. Zimpher, SUNY chancellor. “Your dedication and continuing contributions to SUNY are a great source of pride and inspiration.”

Burke has been at SUNY Maritime since 2002 and served as the chair of the engineering department for 12 years. In that time, he doubled the number of faculty members and helped to triple student enrollment. He also oversaw ABET reaccreditation efforts for two of the department’s five majors, and led the successful effort to earn ABET accreditation for the other three.

Burke expanded ties between the engineering department and the maritime industry and has helped lean the college’s engineering programs to prominence.

He has also served diligently and consistently to help the college improve overall. He has contributed to the college’s reports for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is active in a variety of high-level college committees, including strategic planning efforts, academic council and faculty senate.

Within SUNY, Burke has participated in Zimpher’s system-level strategic planning effort, is a member of the patents and inventions policy board, and served as a presidential fellow at the SUNY Research Foundation.

He has also served as a peer reviewer for Middle States and ABET. He was elected a fellow at the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in London and is a nationally recognized expert in matters related to naval architecture and marine engineering.

“Dr. Burke’s service has greatly benefited the college overall and the engineering department in particular,” said Carl Delo, engineering department chair. “

Burke is a native of Rexford, N.Y., and a resident of Lenox, Mass.

Dan Fridline

Fridline, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity.

Fridline’s research focuses on monitoring the structural health of offshore structures and he has been successful both in securing external funding for his studies and in including undergraduate students in his work.

Fridline’s research interests focus on applying ambient vibration monitoring techniques and developing advanced algorithms to process and analyze sensor data to identify structural damage. He came to SUNY Maritime after working in the maritime industry for more than a decade, so his insights into what the industry needs are highly relevant.

“Your contributions to developing new knowledge, enhancing the university’s vibrancy, and fostering the intellectual growth of its students are reflected in your selection for this honor,” said Nancy L. Zimpher, SUNY chancellor. “Thank you for your commitment, and congratulations on your selection for this well-deserved honor.”

Fridline holds a dual appointment as an assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at Stony Brook University in addition to his position at SUNY Maritime.

“Dr. Fridline strives to bring his industrial and research experiences into the classroom and his students consistently praise him for his insight,” said Carl Delo, chairman of the engineering department.

Outside of the lab and classroom, Fridline is actively engaged with the continuous improvement efforts of the college engineering department. He has served on several committees and has helped to revise and develop new courses to meet and exceed the needs of the maritime industry.

By Professional Mariner Staff