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Three faculty members appointed to distinguished rank

The State University of New York Board of Trustees this month appointed three Binghamton University faculty members to distinguished professorships.

Susan Strehle, professor of English, was appointed distinguished service professor; Stephen Lisman, professor of psychology, and Anthony Preus, professor of philosophy, were each appointed distinguished teaching professors. They join nearly 60 other Binghamton faculty members who have received the distinction.

Granted only by the SUNY trustees, the rank of distinguished is the highest academic rank possible. As a distinguished service professor, Strehle has achieved a notable reputation for extraordinary service not only to the campus and to SUNY, but also to the community, the State of New York and the nation.

Strehle, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and a master’s and PhD from the University of California-Berkeley, counts herself lucky to have been at Binghamton and to have had opportunities to serve as dean of the Graduate School as well as interim dean of the School of Education.

President Lois B. DeFleur wrote in her nomination of Strehle that “her record is consistent, demonstrates progressively higher levels of involvement and leadership, and — perhaps most importantly — shows evidence of truly significant accomplishments on important issues confronting higher education and its relationship with the larger society.”

The intersection of teaching, service and scholarship has been a constant for Strehle, who hooded her 25th PhD student last weekend. As dean of the Graduate School, one focus she had was on improving teacher effectiveness. “We started the TA orientation and the orientation for new faculty, as well as a forum on teaching for graduate students and faculty. Now there are other initiatives addressing these needs,” Strehle said. “I’d like to think that I had some early influence on making teaching better on campus, especially among graduate students who sometimes need help figuring out what kind of teachers they want to be.”

“The thing about service is it’s not separated from teaching and scholarship,” Strehle added. “We’re all here to do all of those things. … We count on everyone’s contributions in all of those areas.”

Distinguished teaching professors 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.

Preus earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from Luther College, a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in literae humaniores from Oxford University and his PhD in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.

In her nomination letter, DeFleur wrote: “Skilled in instilling in his students a love for philosophy and helping them master difficult concepts and texts, he has, equally importantly, helped undergraduate and graduate students develop habits of mind that make them fuller human beings.”

Preus credits his family background for preparing him to become a teacher.

“My ancestors have been teaching for hundreds of years and it’s what we do,” he said. “Others are bankers, jewelers, something else. We’re teachers. It’s just natural. … and there is some kind of a value for some of us to be maintaining the tradition, standards, attitudes — that this is what the profession is.

“The idea is to become master of an area of knowledge and to convey that and help people with their thinking via that knowledge,” he added. “Philosophy is good in that regard, and by giving them this foundation, my students have gone in a lot of different directions.”

Lisman, who comes not from a family of educators, but from a family of business people, earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, and his master’s and PhD in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. He completed a clinical internship in Veterans Administration Hospitals, with postdoctoral fellowships at Stony Brook University and the George Washington University Medical Center.

In her nomination, DeFleur wrote that, “In Professor Lisman, Binghamton has a truly innovative teacher. … It is the training that Professor Lisman provided to the students and the community placement supervisors that have allowed the clinical program to thrive as it has.”

Lisman, however, hadn’t intended to become a teacher, setting his sights instead on serving in clinical settings. Ultimately, he has melded his service, research and teaching throughout his career.

“My service activities as a professional clinical psychologist and as the director of the Psychological Clinic for over 30 years have been the basis for the teaching I do,” he said. “My teaching integrates both science and practice, consistent with the kind of clinical psychology program we have.

“As the first assistant professor hired when the clinical psychology program began in 1973,” he added, “my greatest sources of pride have been to have taught virtually every student who has attained the doctorate in clinical psychology at Binghamton, and to have played a role in the extraordinary development of the clinic and the entire clinical psychology program.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08