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For Immediate Release
April 8, 2021

SUNY Suffolk Wins Two of Three Community College Statewide Teaching and Technology Awards

Camille Karlson, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Chemistry Yu Zhang, Ph.D.
Camille Karlson, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Chemistry Yu Zhang, Ph.D.

Two of the six award recipients of the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology (FACT2) Awards are outstanding educators from Suffolk County Community College, SUNY recently announced. Suffolk captured two of the three awards given to community colleges statewide.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Yu Zhang, Ph.D. and Camille Karlson, Ph.D., college director for the Center for Innovative Pedagogy were two of six cited from among the SUNY system’s 64 colleges and universities to recognize individuals for consistent noteworthy achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

Professor Zhang, who began teaching at Suffolk as an adjunct instructor in 2013, received the award for Excellence in Community College Instruction and Karlson for Excellence in Administrative Leadership at a Community College.

“Doctors Zhang and Karlson have not only honored themselves with these awards but also Suffolk County Community College,” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “We are so proud of their achievements and the fact that Suffolk won two of the three community college awards issued,” he said.

Zhang who was recognized for “engaging innovative uses of technology in the teaching and learning process,” realized online courses can be challenging and set up teleconferences with students to speak to them individually on a regular basis and to provide them with suggestions on the course assignments and get them to stay motivated and organized. In addition, Zhang said he created a number of video tutorials to help his students fully grasp the chemistry concepts being taught.

“I am glad that I can utilize my knowledge, skills and experience to assist my students in getting through the journey of chemistry learning,” Zhang said. “I help guide them to where they would like to be in the future, so that eventually they may become influential figures in our community.”

“This award would not have been possible without the help of many dedicated people,” said Professor Zhang. “I express my deepest appreciation to my department chair, Professor Theodore Koukounas for offering me many opportunities to explore new tools and emerging technologies. I am particularly indebted to Dr. Jing-Yi Chin who provides me with the guidance to excel professionally and I would like to thank Ms. Janet Tierney who gives me invaluable assistance on my work. Finally, I appreciate all the support from the department, the campus and the entire college community.”

“Suffolk County Community College provides our STEM students with a broad body of knowledge as well as the necessary laboratory techniques, so they are prepared for their future careers. In addition, the College offers affordable tuition fees, flexible class schedules and a small-classroom environment, so students can get all the support they need. It isn’t just education; it’s an opportunity,” Zhang said. Professor Zhang earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Jilin University, China in 2007 and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stony Brook University in 2012.

Dr. Camille Karlson was cited for, among others, demonstrating “significant and positive leadership by promoting innovation in programmatic offerings, related academic endeavors, and investments that inspire culture change.”

“It was and continues to be a true privilege to work with administration, faculty, and the Center for Innovative Pedagogy team in providing professional development for the delivery of effective distance education,” said Karlson who came to Suffolk County Community College in 2018 and has previously been recognized by SUNY as an Open SUNY Online Teaching Community Leader and as a system-wide institutional readiness implementation facilitator. “Throughout, it is evident student-centeredness is at the heart of the mission of the college.  In these uncertain times, and with every higher education institution pivoting to provide learning to their students, this recognition of the collaborative efforts on behalf of students at Suffolk is highly rewarding,” Karlson said.

“The recognition of Drs. Karlson and Zhang is edifying to everyone at Suffolk County Community College,” added Dr. Paul Beaudin, vice president for academic and student affair, “as they represent our corporate commitment to student success in all learning modalities.  Certainly, the pandemic created a much-needed shift in instruction, but the College had already begun intensive faculty training and support for asynchronous learning and that continues to allow us to provide vibrant courses and academic programs both within and beyond the county,” Beaudin said.

In years past, awardees participated in an awards ceremony at the annual Conference on Instruction and Technology (CIT). For the safety of all, the CIT conference will be virtual this year.