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Events Celebrate Academic Life at SUNY-ESF


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - "A Celebration of Academic Life" offers a choice of activities for those attending the inaugural events surrounding the installation of Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. as the third president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). The events will be at 1:30 p.m. in different locations on the ESF campus.

"Indigenous Knowledge: Maya Environmental Successes and Failures," Alumni Lounge, Marshall Hall

Dr. Betty Bernice Faust, ESF's 2000 William J. Donlon Visiting Scholar, will discuss claims that the Maya have been responsible for contemporary and ancient problems of soil overuse and deforestation in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Faust has done extensive research with Maya communities in the Yucatan for the past 15 years, focusing on their interaction with the environment. In 1992, she began collaboration with a Maya priest/healer, recording his traditional knowledge about human and environmental health. They have since been joined by an archaeologist/climatologist and they are analyzing the local effects of global warming and Maya cultural knowledge about climate shifts and extreme climatic events.

Faust did her graduate work at Syracuse University, earning a master's degree in public administration and a doctorate in anthropology. In 1994, she became affiliated with CINVESTAV, the Mexican national research center in Meridá, Mexico.

During a sabbatical, she came to ESF as the Donlon visiting scholar. The position was endowed in 1993 by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to honor its retired chairman and chief executive officer. The endowment brings to ESF distinguished scientists working in the natural resources engineering or environmental fields.

"ESF Undergraduate Learning Community," Moon Library

Robert H. Frey, dean of instruction and graduate studies, Julie L. Rawls, director of student activities, and several students will discuss the integration of writing, botany and residence life.

ESF's new learning communities blend classroom and residence hall activity to enrich the college experience. Students who choose to participate in the innovative program live on the same dormitory floor, take botany and writing classes together, and share some class assignments. The experience helps students grow academically, personally and professionally. In the spring semester, the students will organize and conduct a community service project.

Frey is responsible for the operation of ESF's instructional programs and serves as the college's chief graduate admissions officer. He oversees undergraduate and graduate curricular program development as well as the development of academic policy and its implementation. As such, he works closely with faculty units and with the college provost.

Frey serves as the president's representative to the ESF Faculty Governance Committee on Instruction, and its several subcommittees.

He also supervises instructional development and support services at ESF, and graduate admissions, assistantships and fellowships. In 1981 and again in 1992, he chaired the self-study committee that prepared ESF for its reaffirmation of reaccreditation by the Middles States Association of Colleges and Universities.

Rawls plans activities and programs for ESF's 1,200 undergraduates and 600 graduate students. She has been honored for her work with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service. The award recognizes extraordinary professional achievement.

Rawls plans orientation programs for new students at both ESF's main campus and its Ranger School in Wanakena. She devised an extensive orientation program to accommodate different student populations: freshmen, transfer students, graduate students and those with families.