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two men and two women standing by green curtain holding an award.

ESF honored for online student support. Pictured, from left, John Turbeville, senior assistant dean for student affairs and director of career services; Kathy Lang, online education coordinator; Brandon Murphy, coordinator teaching learning collaboratory-online programs; and Katherina Searing, associate director of the Open Academy.

ESF Wins SUNY Award for Excellence in Supporting Online Students

Syracuse, N.Y. – May 29, 2023 - 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 – was recognized by the State University of New York (SUNY) for excellence in supporting online students.

The Online Student Support award was presented to ESF’s “Professionals in Sustainability” webinar series as part of the College’s online Sustainability Management Bachelor of Science program. Given at the annual SUNY Center for Professional Development’s Online Summit, the Effective Online Practices Awards collect, share, and showcase the best online practices, strategies, and innovative teaching and learning activities or programs of exemplary SUNY Online Teaching Fellows and practitioners.

ESF’s Sustainability Management Bachelor of Science degree launched in 2019 as the College’s first online undergraduate degree program. To help enrolled students learn from professionals in the field, the “Professionals in Sustainability” webinar series helps to drive career awareness, reinforce program content and outcomes, and provide networking opportunities. Up to three webinars are offered each semester, oftentimes featuring ESF alumni. The series is done in partnership between the Open Academy – the academic home of ESF’s online programs – and the College’s Office of Career Services.

“We find that our webinar series is a helpful resource to engage our online students beyond just their coursework,” said Kathy Lang, program coordinator. “What’s more is that each presentation provides active professional perspectives that can help validate and inform updates to the Sustainability Management courses and outcomes to ensure we have a competitive program. This award underscores the effectiveness and creativity of our webinar series, and we’re proud to be recognized by SUNY.”

The general format of the interactive webinars is about 30 minutes of content, plus 15 minutes for questions. Guest presenters share their background, career trajectory, current initiatives, and general lessons learned. They also highlight knowledge and skills they learned from their education or had to acquire while on the job.

Watch the webinars online here: Professionals in Sustainability. 


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.