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SUNY Chancellor's Award honorees, from left, Debra Driscoll, Dr. Eddie Bevilaqua, Dr. Paul Hirsch, and Dr. Jacqueline Frair.

ESF Faculty, Staff Honored by SUNY Chancellor

Syracuse, N.Y. – The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), one of the nation’s premier colleges focused exclusively on the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable future, is pleased to announce four ESF employees were honored by Chancellor John B. King, Jr. for outstanding service to the State University of New York.

Honorees are Dr. Jacqueline Frair for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; Dr. Eddie Bevilaqua for Excellence in Faculty Service; Dr. Paul Hirsch for Excellence in Teaching; and Debra Driscoll for Excellence in Professional Service.

“The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are about accumulating knowledge, sharing that knowledge and making meaningful contributions to society,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “The dedication of the College’s faculty and staff continues to propel their reputations and ESF forward. We congratulate and celebrate their accomplishments.”

Excellence in Scholarship — Dr. Jacqueline Frair

Dr. Frair is a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Associate Chair of the Department of Environmental Biology. Her research program focuses on the ecology, conservation, and management of large mammals. Her research spans from human-lion interactions in Africa to jaguar distribution in South America to white-tailed deer and coyote ecology in North America. She has a prodigious research profile, having supervised over $18 million in sponsored grants and the publication of breakthrough methods papers in quantitative movement ecology that have been strongly cited for over a decade. She has published 59 peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals and her work has been cited nearly 4,500 times. 

She has received awards for her scholarship and service, including the Wildlife Publication Award by The Wildlife Society, the 2021 "Outstanding Professional" award from the New York State Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and the distinguished title of Fellow in The Wildlife Society's National Chapter. Frair also directs the Roosevelt Wild Life Station at ESF and has worked to support the station by offering workshops, seeking funding, and developing the collections. 

Frair has a strong record of mentoring top graduate students and post-docs in the department. She has mentored 11 postdoctoral researchers and 22 graduate students ‑ several of whom have gone on to work in academia and in applied conservation fields. Another hallmark of Frair's scholarship is her record of presentations given by herself and her students, including several keynote presentations, and more than 50 conference presentations. She is a sought-after expert and is successfully mentoring the next generation of scientists. 

Excellence in Faculty Service – Dr. Eddie Bevilacqua

Dr. Eddie Bevilacqua, Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Sustainable Resources Management, was honored with the Chancellor's Award for Faculty Service which recognizes outstanding achievement and skill in providing leadership, service and assistance to the university, community and profession that exceeds expectations.

Dr. Bevilacqua has a long-standing record of excellence in teaching, research, and service. He is known for continually updating his course content and teaching methods, working with his graduate students to produce cutting-edge research, and always having time for his students and colleagues. In addition to this, he has provided service leadership above and beyond the normal call of duty.

Within his department, he chairs the undergraduate education committee. He has upgraded and updated the Undergraduate Student Handbook, administers a sizeable number of student petitions, advises 35 students each year, and does both marketing and recruiting, even stepping in for the department chair on weekends for open houses and accepted student receptions.

At the college level, Bevilacqua’s efforts at growing geospatial modeling and analysis teaching and research have enhanced the education of students across campus. He has been chair of the Council for Geospatial Modeling and Analysis since 2008. Under his leadership, the ESF course offerings have grown from just a few classes to dozens. Bevilacqua is also working on new offerings on geographic information technologies and systems. He is ESF's representative on the NYS GIS Data Sharing Coop, and each year, he promotes and hosts GIS Day celebrations for the ESF community.

Bevilacqua has long been involved with Academic Governance. He has chaired the Academic Affairs Committee, which is responsible for all new curriculum proposals and revisions.

His leadership style is patient, professional, and effective. He's been quietly serving the department and campus for more than two decades.

Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Paul Hirsch

Dr. Paul Hirsch, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award honors those who consistently have demonstrated superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level.

Since arriving at ESF in 2011, Dr. Hirsch has been engaged in course design, development, and delivery for upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses. His graduate courses have consistently had the highest enrollments of any course in the department, with typical course enrollments being between 18 and 25 and he consistently receives high evaluations from his students.

Hirsch’s approach to teaching is student-centered, with both instructor and students keeping the end goals clearly in sight. Hirsch’s courses teach students to integrate ethical reflection, dialog and deliberation with key stakeholders, and scientific analysis to inform decision-making. He has been teaching in the online environment for the past five years—well before the global pandemic. In the online environment, he ensures every student has the experience of being known and engaged as an individual learner. To achieve this engagement, he experimented with appropriate technology, asynchronous vs. synchronous structuring, and other elements of curriculum design and course delivery.

He co-led the proposal development process for a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and launched ESF’s first online certificate program five years ago. This program in Environmental Leadership has been increasingly successful. It involves three graduate three-credit courses that are delivered by Hirsch. He also led the effort to develop additional advanced graduate certificates: one in Science and Environmental Communication and Public Relations Management, and one in Environmental Justice and Inequality, and spearheaded the development of ESF’s first online graduate degree: the MPS in Environmental Leadership, Communication, and Justice

Excellence in Professional Service – Debra Driscoll

Deb Driscoll has been an outstanding member of ESF’s professional staff for 30 years. Her enthusiasm and commitment to assisting faculty and student research have been exceptional. For the last three decades, she has played an indispensable part in the success of the research enterprise at ESF, elevating our institution’s reputation at the local, national, and international levels.

Driscoll single-handedly maintains and operates seven instruments within Analytical and Technical Services at ESF. She excels at instrument troubleshooting, a task that requires patience, attention to detail, and oftentimes long hours in the lab. She takes advantage of training opportunities to ensure that her knowledge is up-to-date about the instruments she maintains.

Her value to the campus research goals is critical: she is key personnel on research projects across six departments. Her work attracts researchers from outside ESF. She has worked with 26 researchers representing universities across the United States as well as international collaborators.

Driscoll is a valuable and effective teacher. Her thoroughness in training hundreds of students has contributed to the excellence of ESF’s programs and has helped make students competitive as they enter the workforce. Driscoll can often be found in her lab, sitting next to a student, observing, and explaining the data as it is generated. Her quirky sense of humor keeps morale high, and her love for Halloween is legendary. She makes time to do outreach activities for the College by hosting high school students in her lab, judging science fairs, and hosting activities for Take Our Kids To Work Day.

Driscoll has gone above and beyond to ensure that the highest quality data are generated by ESF’s faculty and students. Her critical role supporting faculty research programs cannot be overstated.


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.