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ESF Faculty, Staff Receive Chancellorís Awards 5/5/2022

SUNY Chancellor Award honorees, from left, Dr. John Farrell, Maren King, Maura Stefl, and Dr. Stephen Shaw.

Four staff and faculty members at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the most distinguished institution in the nation that focuses on the study of the environment, received SUNY Chancellor's Awards, an honor that recognizes outstanding professional achievement.

This year's honorees are Dr. Stephen Shaw, for Excellence in Teaching; Maren King, for Excellence in Faculty Service; Dr. John Farrell, for Excellence in Scholarship; and Maura Stefl, for Excellence in Professional Service.

"The SUNY Chancellor Awards are a testament to the dedication and excellence of ESF's faculty and staff in teaching, service, and research," said President Joanie Mahoney. "ESF is driven by the dedication of its faculty and staff, and we congratulate and celebrate our colleagues on their well-deserved recognition."

Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Stephen Shaw

Shaw, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering, was recognized for Excellence in Teaching. Shaw is an exceptional teacher who uses a highly interactive, problem-based inquiry method. He utilizes best practices in teaching and engineering to actively engage students and train them for their professional careers. He works to create memorable exercises to help students learn concepts, such as having them create a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Shaw is an active researcher who leads multiple initiatives in his field, and his students benefit from his network. He publishes regularly in the peer-reviewed literature, and he encourages his students to do the same. He and his students present regularly at conferences both local and national. He's an exceptional teacher who promotes the growth of his students both in and out of the classroom. Shaw's colleagues have commented on how generous he is in giving time to support his students, his peers, and his professional community.

Excellence in Faculty Service – Maren King

King has worked for more than 20 years providing service to communities and organizations in New York state and beyond. In 2001, King became the Assistant Director of SUNY ESF's Center for Community Design Research (CCDR) and assumed the Director role in 2010. In this role, she supports other faculty members and students in the development and enhancement of skills and methods for collaborative projects involving different groups. Through her leadership, the CCDR's projects and research are often focused on public spaces in economically distressed and underserved neighborhoods.

King's teaching, scholarship, and service are interconnected and mutually supportive. She has been able to integrate community members and organizations with students in collaborative design and planning projects. These experiences enhance the students' learning as they work to apply their knowledge and skills.

King gives generously of her time to groups external to ESF. She participated in the SUNY Global Institutes Learning Through Development project at Haiti's Sustainable Village Learning Community in 2018 to ensure local leaders and residents were informing the development and plans of this community. She also led a participatory research project called Raising the Next Generation of Community Leaders, in one of Syracuse's neighborhoods, where teenagers research and develop action plans to address an issue that impacts that neighborhood. She has also led a collaborative and innovative community design education program called Visioning Voices Community Design Speaker Series and she facilitated the creation of Vision Plans for communities in central and northern New York, to identify their desired futures and strategies to achieve their goals.

Additionally, King reviews professional education program content for continuing education credits for landscape architects, providing great service to the College and the community of registered landscape architects

Excellence in Scholarship — Dr. John Farrell

Farrell joined the ESF faculty in 1999, and has helped to build and strengthen ESF's Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences program, developing the College's Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS) into a major research institute at the outflow of the largest system of inland freshwater seas in the world. He has a prodigious research profile, having brought in more than $13 million to conduct research, support students, and develop the lab's infrastructure. He has trained 39 graduate students at the doctoral, Master's, and MPS levels, as well as has mentored post-doctoral fellows. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals and has an h-index of 23 and an i-10 index of 42.

Farrell's North American engagement has focused on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, where he is well known for his work on large predatory fishes, their ecological interactions, and management. He is increasingly involved in large-scale programs governing this complex ecosystem. Internationally, his engagement includes taking a leadership role in an international conference "1st International Conference on Integrative Science and Sustainable Development of Rivers" in France and continued prominent scholarship in research on sustainable management of predatory freshwater fishes.

Farrell currently serves as TIBS director and co-director of ESF's Restoration Science Center, poised to play an important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. He also heads up ESF's academic programs in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, training many dozens of undergraduate and graduate students who go on to productive careers.

Excellence in Professional Service – Maura Stefl

Stefl has been an exemplary member of the professional staff at ESF for more than 15 years. For the past decade, she has served as the Program Manager for the ESF in the High School program, the College's concurrent enrollment program, serving teachers and high school students, as well as faculty partners that oversee the courses.

Stefl consistently goes above and beyond her job description to ensure students and teachers not only have the materials they need but are also getting the most out of the program. She also ensures ESF faculty involved in the program can focus on mentorship and support as Maura tackles the administrative aspects of the program.

Before COVID-19, Stefl coordinated one of the largest science fairs in the area – the Environmental Challenge – which brought more than 700 junior high students to ESF to present their projects. The Challenge served as an introduction to ESF with many of the participants registering for ESF in the High School three years later. During the COVID pandemic, Stefl worked diligently to continue to offer in-person hands-on learning events to students safely. The model she developed was used by other departments on campus as they brought visitors to campus safely. To ensure work-study students were able to continue working, she paired them with ESF in the High School teachers to act as teacher aides and developed a partnership with Rosamond Gifford Zoo to have students work there in support of education efforts. This pivot was met with great appreciation from the Zoo's education staff, the teachers, and the students who were able to continue working and contribute with their skills and knowledge.

Stefl plays a vital role on campus beyond her job title. She lends her time and talent to various campus committees and projects and has consistently excelled at contributing to and administering projects she has been a part of. She also finds time and passion for opportunities where her expertise and passion can provide important assistance to others' work and projects around campus.

Stefl was the 2018 recipient of the ESF President's Award for Public and Community Service after a recommendation from the Quality of Worklife Committee and is also a co-advisor for the ESF Student Environmental Education Coalition, which seeks to increase environmental awareness through on- and off-campus education through environmental education, interpretation, and stewardship.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.