Faculty members from Falk College’s Department of Child and Family Studies and School of Social Work will be honored for excellence in teaching, research and service with 2015 Falk College Faculty of the Year Awards. The honorees, who are nominated by their peers for outstanding performance and contributions to students, the Falk College, Syracuse University and beyond, will be recognized during the Falk College’s Convocation for the Class of 2015 on May 9, with awards presented in April. The name of each recipient, the award received, and excerpts from the letters of nomination are noted below.

Dr. Keith A. Alford, Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Excellence in Service

Professor Alford has a consistently strong record of service to Syracuse University, its School of Social Work and Falk College, as well as the social work profession and community. He has served on numerous departmental and university committees, including the Bachelor of Professional Studies Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Oversight Committee of Athletics, the Senior Vice President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Operational Excellence Steering and Executive Committees. He is a community advocate with leadership service to organizations that include board membership with the Onondaga County Public Library and AccessCNY (formerly Enable/TLS), which provides support for children and adults with disabilities. He facilitates the Community-Wide Dialogues on Race sponsored by InterFaith Works of Central New York and sits on the board of directors. He is also involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters School-based mentoring. In recognition of his on-going community service and advocacy, he received the 2015 Harriet Tubman Spirit Award from the Bethany Baptist Church. In Social Work Degree Guide’s listing of its “30 Most Influential Social Workers Alive Today” Professor Alford was listed in the top ten of this compilation that includes educators, activists, authors, and public servants.

Dr. Eric R. Kingson, Professor, School of Social Work
Excellence in Research

Along with co-author Nancy Altman earlier this year, Professor Kingson released the book, “Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All.” Altman and Kingson founded Social Security Works in 2010, a Washington, DC-based organization focused on safeguarding the economic security of families and individuals by maintaining and improving Social Security’s insurance against wages lost in retirement, disability or death. A co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition made up of more than 300 national and state organizations representing over 50 million Americans, Kingson was a staff advisor to the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform and was a founding board member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. His award nominators noted, “Professor Kingson’s accomplishment is worthy of recognition not only because of the scholarship represented by the book, but because of its impact on our national policy. Through the book and active public speaking about it, Professor Kingson seeks to educate the public, making a substantive contribution to the important policy decisions that lie ahead.”

Dr. Rachel Razza, Assistant Professor, Department of Child & Family Studies
Excellence in Teaching

Professor Razza’s courses emphasize activity and engagement as a way to convey important concepts. She has been increasingly interested in the use of contemplative pedagogy in higher education as a mechanism to enhance student learning and wellbeing by stimulating first-person inquiry. She received the Innovative Summer Program Development Fund to support the creation of a new course, Mindfulness in Children and Youth. The course exposes students to the emerging field of contemplative practices and serves as the cornerstone for CFS’s latest undergraduate minor, Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies. Thanks to Rachel’s leadership, the minor is a key component of the ongoing initiative to develop a campus-wide Center for Contemplative Studies.

Professor Razza’s teaching extends beyond the classroom to support the scholarly activities of her students, and she has been successful in mentoring a substantial number of student conference presentations and journal publications. She has been elected to serve as a member of the prestigious Society for Research in Child Development’s Teaching Committee. Professor Razza was also a recipient of the 2014 Teaching Recognition Award from the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship Program.

View photos of the awards ceremony (courtesy of Professor Alejandro Garcia)