Anthropologist Named SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
Dr. Gordon Pollard is the latest SUNY Plattsburgh professor to join to the ranks of the State University of New York distinguished teaching professors. He was one of only 16 faculty members from across the SUNY system to be awarded the title this year.
'Richly Deserving' of Promotion
"In the classroom, the field and the lab; in formal and informal student advising and support; and in his scholarship and service activities, Dr. Pollard has consistently maintained high standards of performance for himself and his students," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. "He is richly deserving of this promotion."
The distinguished teaching professorship recognizes and honors mastery of teaching at the graduate, undergraduate or professional levels. For this prestigious tribute to be conferred, according to SUNY guidelines, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth, and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements.
Known for Archeological Field Work Accessible to Students
Pollard has made many contributions to the SUNY Plattsburgh community since he came to the campus in 1970, but his "most distinctive contribution as a teacher has been in the design and execution of archaeological field experiences for SUNY Plattsburgh students," said Ettling. "An Andeanist by training, Dr. Pollard redirected his energies in the early 1980s toward local historical archeology so that many more students than the few who might have been able to accompany him to Chile could learn archeology by doing it -- at local field sites, in local archives and museums and in local labs."
Pollard used these field experiences not just to teach but to do active research as well. In doing so, he published a dozen articles on various aspects of the 19th century iron industry in the North Country. Among these was one he co-wrote with a former student, earning them the R.M. Vogel Prize for outstanding scholarship in industrial archeology in 2007.
Getting Students Hooked on Anthropology
Beyond his work in the field, Pollard has been recognized for his work with students in the classroom.
"In the classroom, Dr. Pollard is one of the most inspiring teachers at the college, as student testimony and his receipt of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching attest," said Robbins in his letter to the Promotion Review Committee.
"Both ratings and student comments indicate that Dr. Pollard is considered by students to be very well versed in the subject matter of his courses and well organized in presentation; challenging and demanding, but also supportive; approachable and available, both inside and outside the classroom; and stimulating of thought and discussion," said Ettling.
Pollard said that he is humbled by the outpouring of support for this honor. One of his biggest thrills, however, is seeing students discover a love of anthropology.
"It's been great seeing them get hooked and stay in the field," he said.
Anthropology Department Racks Up Honors
Pollard's promotion means that SUNY Plattsburgh's anthropology department now includes four distinguished teaching professors:
- Dr. Gordon Pollard
- Dr. James Armstrong
- Dr. Richard Robbins
- Dr. Mark Cohen (who also holds the rank of distinguished professor)
A fifth professor, Dr. Patricia Higgins, holds the rank of distinguished service professor. In a department with only seven faculty, five have earned these high rankings. In fact, every full professor in the department now holds a distinguished ranking.
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