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TO: University Senate

FROM: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost

DATE: November 7, 2011



On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, Lourdes Portillo presented her lecture entitled “Art and Poetry in the Struggle for Human Rights.” As a writer, director, and producer of documentary films,
Mexico-born and Chicana-identified, Portillo has focused on the search for Latino identity in her work. Over the course of her more than 30-year career, she has pushed the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking. Deploying irony, satire, allegory, poetry, autobiography, and even melodrama, Portillo has produced lyrical, visually intriguing, and entertaining documentaries, including The Devil Never Sleeps (2001), Columbus on Trial (1993), and the Academy Award-nominated The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1985). Portillo, whose work is widely shown in academic circles and integrated into curriculum studies, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in recognition of her contributions to filmmaking.

On Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. in the Charles B. Wang Center Theater, the Office of the Provost, the Goodman Memorial Fund, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will present the twelfth annual George Goodman Memorial Symposium. This symposium will feature a lecture by Dr. Diane Meier entitled “Palliative Care: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness.” Dr. Meier is the director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization devoted to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs. Under her leadership, the number of these programs in U.S. hospitals has more than doubled in the past five years. In 2010, she was named one of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better” by HealthLeaders Media. She has published extensively in major medical journals and has won numerous awards, including the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award. In her lecture, Dr. Meier will present the data behind the rapid growth in hospital palliative care, while describing the outcomes and future of palliative care.


On Friday, November 18, 2011, we will be celebrating the 53rd Anniversary of our Chemistry Department here at Stony Brook University by hosting Chemistry Research Day—an annual showcase and celebration which features poster presentations by graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral researchers highlighting the wide range of study in the department. In addition to Stony Brook faculty, staff and students, this event includes attendees from Brookhaven National Laboratory, area schools, and industry.

Chemistry Research Day acts as a forum to recognize the many accomplishments of our students and to recruit new students to our Chemistry program. This event is also an excellent opportunity for undergraduates on campus, other members of our Stony Brook community, and faculty from local schools, to learn first-hand about the department’s research initiatives.

Stony Brook University is a trailblazer in integrating research and undergraduate education. Accordingly, SBU was one of the first research universities in the country to establish an office for the specific purpose of promoting undergraduate research and creative activity, and offers many programs that support undergraduate research efforts. One such program administered through our office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs is the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Program. URECA collaborates with the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME), and through this program Stony Brook undergraduates are introduced to the world of research through introductory research-oriented courses, encouraged to participate in independently supervised research projects, and offered useful support services on writing abstracts, giving presentations, and finding research mentors.

Every month, URECA celebrates the research accomplishments of one of our SBU junior researchers. In September 2011, the featured student was Ze Zhang, a Biology and Anthropology double major, who was awarded URECA funding in summer 2011 to support her field research in Madagascar. She conducted detailed household surveys in local communities around Ranomafana National Park as part of a team investigating transmitted diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis. Ze is currently working under the direction of Dr. Patricia C. Wright of the Department of Anthropology and Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, and will be using data collected this summer for her honors thesis project in Anthropology on “Traditional Medicine in Treating Infectious Diseases in Contemporary Madagascar."

In October 2011, the featured student was Neville Bethel, a double major in biomedical engineering and physics. Neville presented a poster at the Institute for Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery's 5th annual symposium on October 14, 2011 entitled " The Development of an Advanced Rendering Program to Create Movies That Illustrate Macromolecular Dynamics and Interactions ." Working with Professor Carlos Simmerling of the Chemistry Department on simulations of biomolecular systems since Fall 2008, Neville has steadily built his skills in molecular animations and optimizing software — from creating TCL scripts, to making custom movies in Visual Molecular Dynamics that reveal the energy landscapes across a protein, to developing new algorithms for simulating RNA using AMBER.

In November 2011, we featured the research of Olesya Levsh, a Biochemistry major who has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Raleigh since her freshman year investigating human IAPP aggregation and small molecule inhibitors. Olesya is involved in the lab’s ongoing studies of protein folding, protein structure and the formation of amyloid—a cell-killing protein aggregate that can trigger diseases such as diabetes. Olesya is a member of the University Scholars Program, and in 2010, served as an Undergraduate College Fellow for the Undergraduate College of Human Development. She is also a Teaching Assistant in General Chemistry, and currently acts as managing editor for Stony Brook’s Young Investigators Review.


Each year, the Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence acknowledge truly outstanding undergraduate student achievement. We are seeking nominations of students who have best demonstrated, and been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, community service, arts (creative or performing), athletics, and/or career achievement. Stony Brook University is eligible to nominate up to 14 students. Successful candidates will be invited to the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany for an awards ceremony and reception held in April.

Students graduating between June 2011 and May 2012 will be considered. Please visit for the nomination form, as well as information pertaining to nomination criteria. Nomination forms must be type-written and submitted to Karen Kernan, Director of National/External scholarships within the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. The campus deadline for nominations is December 16, 2011. Please distribute this announcement to any students you believe to be good candidates for this award and to any potentially interested nominators. Reference letters are not required.


The State University of New York's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) is pleased to announce the fifth annual Faculty Diversity Program (FDP) for the 2012-2013 academic year. The program is budgeted to provide partial salary support to SUNY state-operated campuses for new assistant professor-level appointments.

Salary support will be provided for three years and distributed annually as follows:

  • 2012-2013 – 80% of negotiated salary up to $80,000
  • 2013-2014 – 75% of negotiated salary up to $50,000
  • 2014-2015 – 25% of negotiated salary up to $15,000

Faculty appointed under this initiative will be awarded $15,000 to support an active research program. These funds will be disbursed to the campus and faculty will have up to three years to expend the research support.

SUNY institutions are strongly encouraged to nominate outstanding scholars who have attained a record of distinction early in their academic careers, exhibit promise for scholarly productivity of the highest quality and have a demonstrated ability to work in diverse learning environments.
The Faculty Diversity Program is limited strictly to new, full-time, tenure track appointments at the assistant professor level; existing appointments will not be considered. For procedural questions, please contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at (518) 320-1189. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for this award. Disbursement of the award is contingent on the faculty member having completed all requirements for the terminal degree in their discipline prior to the commencement of the 2012-2013 academic year.

A complete dossier will consist of the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Candidate’s statement of interest;
  • Published work or writing sample;
  • Three reference letters;
  • Evidence of candidate’s ability to respond effectively to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds;
  • Home department/academic unit or dean’s evaluation of candidate’s academic record;
  • Chief Academic Officer’s recommendation for appointment; and
  • Statement on the candidate’s contribution to enhancing campus diversity.

The deadline for submission of a complete dossier in hard-copy format to Marsha Pollard, Assistant Provost for Academic Administration, is November 21, 2011. All submissions will be reviewed by the Chief Academic Officer, and only individuals nominated by the Chief Academic Officer are eligible for SUNY consideration. Nominators will be apprised as to whether their nominee will be forwarded to SUNY for further consideration by November 30, 2011.

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