SUNY Cobleskill Professor Joseph Sprague Receives Distinguished Teaching Professorship Recognition

May 14, 2012

SUNY Cobleskill Professor Joseph Sprague, Ph.D., is among 21 SUNY faculty members appointed to distinguished ranks, the highest system honors conferred upon SUNY instructional faculty.


Sprague is only the fourth faculty member in SUNY Cobleskill history to earn the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professorship, which honors mastery of teaching. For the prestigious tribute to be conferred, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students, and commitment to their ongoing growth, scholarship and professional growth, and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements.


Further, a faculty member must have attained and held the rank of full professor for five years, have completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the nominating campus, 10 years of full-time teaching within the SUNY system, and must have regularly carried a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level.


Sprague, a professor of chemistry in SUNY Cobleskill’s Department of Natural Sciences, consistently surpasses the criteria for excellence in teaching, as measured by his skill in teaching techniques, representative materials, scholarship, professional growth, service to students, mentoring of faculty, and service to the campus community.


In addition, Sprague sets high academic standards, clearly conveys course requirements to his students, and evaluates student performance using a variety of methods. He is known as a superb lecturer with a talent to relate chemistry to practical applications in language that everyone can understand.


“Dr. Sprague is a dynamic educator whose exceptional teaching talents have helped shape the lives of SUNY Cobleskill students for more than three decades,” says Dr. Candace S. Vancko, SUNY Cobleskill’s officer in charge. “He epitomizes our commitment to providing students with an exceptional educational experience and the skills they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.”


Along with his teaching responsibilities, Sprague has served as department chair, interim dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and as chair of numerous campus committees during his 35-year tenure at SUNY Cobleskill. He also developed and implemented a General Education Assessment Plan that was accepted by SUNY and led to the creation of the college’s Assessment Taskforce (now Assessment Committee).


Sprague is a 1996 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He began his career as an instructor of chemistry at Detroit Institute of Technology and spent four years as a research associate at the University of Georgia before joining the SUNY Cobleskill faculty in 1977.


Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 942 to distinguished ranks: 312 Distinguished Professorships; 284 Distinguished Service Professorships; 341 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and five Distinguished Librarian Professorships.

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