Skip Navigation


TO: University Senate

FROM: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

DATE: December 1, 2014


Leadership Transition in the Associate Provost for Online Education Position

Dr. Eric Rabkin is stepping down from his role as the Associate Provost for Online Education for personal reasons. Eric has contributed to expanding Stony Brook's online course portfolio and assisted our academic areas in competing for Open SUNY WAVE I and II degree offerings and system-wide Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. He has also been instrumental in establishing the On-Line Education Advisory Group (OLEAG). Eric also raised awareness around campus about the opportunities that excellence in online education offers to a great University such as ours. To support Stony Brook’s ongoing efforts in this area, Eric has agreed to work with his successor to ensure a smooth transition of the position's duties.

Effective November 24, 2014, Dr. Wendy Tang, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University, agreed to serve as the Associate Provost for Online Education. Dr. Tang has substantial experience in university administration and service. At SBU, she has been the Faculty Director for the Honors College (2011-2014) and the Undergraduate College of Information and Technology Studies (2009-2011). Wendy was also the Co-Chair of the Provostial-Senate MOOCs Taskforce and the Middle States Working Group on Leadership, Administration and Integrity during the 2012-13 academic year. She has also served as the Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2011. At the state and regional level, Wendy was a member of the NY State Education Department’s Task Force for Online Education and has served on the program committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Long Island Systems, Application and Technology Conference since 2011.

Wendy has a longstanding commitment to online education. Since 2006, she has been the Director of a project offering courses in Electrical Engineering online and asynchronously. In addition to SBU faculty, the project is supported by faculty from the University at Buffalo and Binghamton University. Under her leadership, the Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) program was approved by the NY State Education Department in May 2011. It is one of the nation’s first degree programs in Electrical Engineering with the entire EE curriculum, including laboratory courses, available online and asynchronously. Currently, she serves on OLEAG.


Dr. Heidi Hutner, Interim Director of the Sustainability Studies Program, Director of Environmental Humanities and Associate Professor of Sustainability and English, has been appointed as Director of the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook University. Dr. Hutner received her MA and PhD from the University of Washington, where she focused on women writers, gender and colonial discourse in Restoration and eighteenth-century English literature. Heidi Hutner writes and teaches about contemporary environmental literature and film, ecofeminism and environmental justice. Her newest book, Polluting Mama: An Ecofeminist Memoir, is forthcoming in 2014. Dr. Hutner’s future projects include an examination of maternalist antinuclear activist history in the U.S and the rise of maternalist activism in Japan post-Fuskushima 3/11/11, as well as a study of global sustainable eco-communities. Additionally, in collaboration with Dr. Chris Sellers from the Department of History, and with the support of a 2014 FAHSS grant, Hutner will build a “Stories of Environmental Danger and Disaster” website, including video footage of witness seminars and interviews with citizens who have been impacted by ecological disasters in Texas, Mexico, and Fukushima.

The Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook is unique in that it offers five separate undergraduate degree programs that allow students to focus on different aspects of sustainability. The degree programs are: Sustainability Studies, BA; Environmental Humanities, BA; Environmental Design, Policy and Planning, BA; Ecosystems and Human Impact, BA; and Coastal Environmental Studies, BS. As of spring semester 2014, over 300 majors and minors were enrolled in the growing program. The Sustainability Studies undergraduate degree is also offered in combination with a MBA degree by the College of Business as a five-year, integrated program. The program has recently launched an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Science and an international program in Costa Rica. Plans are in the works for international sustainability travel study in Cuba, a minor in Environmental Justice, as well as collaborative projects with the College of Business, the School of Journalism and the Humanities Institute.

2015 Summer Online Teaching Initiative

In order to provide more flexible and accessible instruction for our students and encourage our faculty to explore new teaching modes, the Office of the Provost has created the 2015 Summer Online Teaching Initiative. This initiative encourages faculty to offer online versions of existing courses, particularly courses that have strong demand, support timely degree completion and can serve a large number of students. The intent is to rapidly transition mature courses into an online environment with modest conversion efforts. After a competitive selection process, successful applicants will be supported by the professional staff in TLT and, as may be needed, others, including consultation with experienced online instructors.

A University-wide committee will review applications and award supplementary stipends of $1500 for each course conversion. In cases where unusual faculty course development effort in adapting the materials and/or pedagogy would accompany the course conversion, the committee will consider providing a higher supplementary stipend. Applications are due Monday, December 15, 2014. Individual faculty must secure the consent of their chair prior to applying (please note that course relief during the academic year is not available through this initiative). After receiving consent, faculty should complete the application form at , which will capture basic information about the course and faculty readiness. At any point, faculty are invited to consult with the Associate Provost for Online Education. After a committee reviews the brief prospectuses, finalists will be contacted for a brief interview with the APOE and/or the TLT staff.

11 SBU Faculty and Staff Honored with SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

Eleven members of Stony Brook University’s faculty and staff have been chosen to receive the 2014 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the following categories:
Excellence in Faculty Service: Harvard Lyman, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology; and John Robinson, Professor, Department of Psychology.
Excellence in Professional Service: Bushra Butt, Subject Specialist, Stony Brook University Libraries; Kathleen Diehl, Supervisor, Accounting Services; and David McAvoy, Manager, Transportation and Parking Operations.
Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities: Peter Carravetta, Alfonse D’Amato Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies; Alfred Scharff Goldhaber, Professor, C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy; Chang Jung, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy; and John Shea, Professor, Department of Anthropology.
Excellence in Teaching: Nancy Hollingsworth, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology; and Jaymie Meliker, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine, Program in Public Health.
The group was honored at the annual University Awards Dinner this past fall; each will receive a certificate and a Chancellor’s Excellence Medallion to commemorate this prestigious selection. The honor provides system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence. Through these awards, SUNY publicly acknowledges the accomplishment and personal dedication of its instructional faculty, librarians and staff across its 64 campuses and System Administration. Individuals selected for this honor are role models within the SUNY community.

15 SBU Students Honored with the 2014 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

Fifteen students from Stony Brook University received the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The Stony Brook students are: Safa Abdelhakim, Connor Beierle, Dara Bobb-Semple, Kevin Chavez, Olivia Cheng, Derek Cope, Kara DeSanna, Raniah EL-Gendi, Neha Kinariwalla, Ariana Levin, Surinder Moonga, Bryan Nguyen, Ali Syed, Justin Thomas and Jean Claude Velasquez. The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement or career achievement. Each recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which is traditionally worn at commencement.

December 2014 Provost’s Lecture

On December 3, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. in the Wang Center Theater, the Provost’s Lecture Series will host Daniel Esty, who will give a talk entitled “ From 20th Century Environmental Protection to 21st Century Sustainability.” Dan Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University with appointments in both the Environment and Law Schools. He also serves as the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Co-Directs the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale. Professor Esty is the author or editor of ten books and dozens of articles on environmental protection, energy, and sustainability and their connections to policy, corporate strategy, competitiveness, trade, and economic success. His prize-winning volume, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage , has recently been named the top-selling “green business” book of the past decade.

From 2011 to early 2014, Professor Esty served as Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection where he earned a reputation for bringing fresh thinking to both energy and environmental policymaking. Professor Esty’s lecture will illustrate how smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value and build competitive advantage. He will also discuss the future of state and federal governments in making the regulatory framework lighter, faster, and more effective.

Login to Edit