Produced by the Department of Media Relations & Publications

Faculty Recognized for Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

June 7, 2011

Provost Mary Papazian (far right) and President Ricardo Fernández (sixth from the right) with all those recognized at the Faculty Recognition Luncheon.

More than a dozen faculty members were recognized for their excellence in research, teaching, and service at a luncheon on May 11, hosted by Dr. Mary Papazian, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Speakers at the event included the winners of the 2011 Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works Award (Dr. Joseph Rachlin), the New Investigator Award (Dr. Andrei Jitianu), and the Distinguished Service Award (Dr. Nancy Dubetz).

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works Award

Joseph Rachlin

Joseph Rachlin (Biological Sciences) has been at Lehman for some forty-five years and has been active in research concerning the waterways around New York City. As an aquatic ecologist and evolutionary biologist, he has been funded in this research by PSC-CUNY Research Awards and such agencies as EPA, NIH, and for the last five years by grants and contracts from NOAA/WCS. He is a Fellow of both the Linnean Society of London and the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. He is also a founding member of the Association of Northeastern Biologists. In addition to his research activities, he has served as director of the CUNY Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, dean of the Division of Natural and Social Sciences, acting provost, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and acting chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

New Investigator Award

Andrei Jitianu

Andrei Jitianu (Chemistry) joined Lehman College in September 2008. He graduated from the University of Bucharest, Romania, with a Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 2001. His current research is focused on the development of a hermetic barrier for electronics, electrochemical devices, and medical diagnostic devices. He has written over fifty articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as two book chapters along with eighteen articles in progress. In 2005, the Romanian Academy rewarded his impressive research on "Chemistry of the sol-gel processes in oxide and hybrid systems" by conferring on him the "Gheorghe Spacu" Award. In 2010, the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences recognized Professor Jitianu by awarding him the Feliks Gross Endowment Award.

Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Dubetz

Nancy Dubetz (Early Childhood and Childhood Education) came to Lehman in the fall of 1998 and has served the College and professional community in a number of ways. She has served the Division of Education through her efforts to develop and support the Professional Development Schools network and as a member of NCATE accreditation steering committees. At the College level, she is currently chair of the Assessment Council and has participated in two Senate committees. For her department, she has served as a Department senator and as a member of the P&B, Grade Appeals, and Curriculum committees, and was acting chair while the chair was on fellowship leave. As a teacher educator, she has assumed leadership roles in the New York State Association of Teacher Educations and the Bilingual Education Interest Section of the association for Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages. She also has worked with Bronx schools, serving in a variety of roles since the early 1990s.

Among the faculty recognized were:

Division of Arts and Humanities


Massimo Pigliucci

Dannielle Tegeder

Massimo Pigliucci (Philosophy) started his career in philosophy after more than two decades as a research biologist working on nature-nurture problems. He has published more than 100 technical papers and numerous articles about science and philosophy for the general public. He has published ten books, the most recent one being Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. Forthcoming is The Intelligent Person's Guide to the Meaning of Life: Thoughts of a Philosopher-Scientist.

Dannielle Tegeder (Art) is a painter whose work employs strategies connected to post-minimalism and twentieth-century abstraction, often utilizing mathematical, architectural, or demographic data to produce an ever-evolving visual vocabulary. In 2011 she will show her work at four galleries in New York and two in the Netherlands. She has an artist's residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Governor's Island Studio program. Her most recent solo exhibition in New York City, "Arrangements to Ward off Accidents," used abstract paintings and drawings as scores for musical compositions. She has had other solo gallery exhibitions in Paris, Houston, Los Angeles, Berlin, Chicago, and New York.


Diana Almodovar

Tyler Schmidt

Diana Almodovar (Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences) has taught a range of undergraduate and master's-level courses in such topics as language acquisition, speech pathology, language disorders in school-age children, diagnostic techniques, and the clinical practicum. Students consistently acknowledge her strong interpersonal skills and her passion for teaching. Comments such as "absolutely wonderful," "very informative," "very supportive," and "very knowledgeable" predominate. A doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, she has combined her love of learning and research with a breadth of professional experience working with handicapped students. She excels as an instructor in both the classroom and the clinic.

Tyler Schmidt (English) is an Assistant Professor in English and one of the co-coordinators of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at Lehman. His history with the College goes back nearly a decade: first, as a teacher-consultant and coordinator for youth programs at Lehman's Institute for Literacy Studies and the New York City Writing Project; then as an adjunct in the English and African and African American Studies departments, and as a Writing Fellow with WAC. He now teaches courses in American literature and composition and rhetoric. His essays have appeared in African American Review, Women Studies Quarterly, and Radical Teacher.


Alan Hollander

Duane Tananbaum

Alan Hollander's (Music) service adds in vital ways to the cultural fabric of the Department, the College, and the wider community. He has conducted numerous performances of the Lehman College and Community Band (including its annual Commencement exercises), conducted and played with the Woodwind Quintet, coordinated two college/high school jazz festivals, and arranged music for the Lehman Foundation, the Macaulay Honors College, and the National College Board Conference. He also served on several College-wide committees, including the Lehman Stages Advisory Committee, the Campus Activities Committee, and the Multimedia Center Advisory Committee. In the Music Department, Professor Hollander has worked tirelessly to develop the relationship between Lehman and the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music.

Duane Tananbaum (History) has been a figure in faculty governance for the past decade and a half. He has played an active role in many important bodies, including the Eightieth Anniversary Committee, the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies steering committee, and the WAC Advisory Committee, in addition to History Department faculty meetings. As chair of the Senate Governance Committee and the Committee on Academic Structure, he has brought different voices together to clarify the College's priorities, and as Senate Parliamentarian, he assures that these voices express themselves with due regard for proper procedure. Last but not least, he has continued his active service to the local chapter of PSC CUNY, most recently as chapter secretary.



Wesley Pitts

Wesley Pitts (Middle and High School Education) works to build capacity so that urban science education can flourish where there are mutual interfaces. His research combines frameworks from cultural sociology with critical ethnography, cogenerative dialogue, coteaching, and prosodic analysis technology to investigate teaching and learning in the urban landscape. A complementary avenue of his research investigates the use of electronic portfolios as high-stakes exit projects in science teacher education programs.


Cecilia Espinosa

Cecilia Espinosa (Early Childhood and Childhood Education) was born in Ecuador and knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was five years old. She began her journey while still an undergraduate by taking a position as an assistant teacher at a preschool. Once she earned her B.A., she became a bilingual teacher in a kindergarten-through-second grade multiage class in Phoenix, Arizona. When she finished her Ph.D., she chose to come to Lehman because she loves working with immigrant students. She is passionate about early childhood/child development, biliteracy, English as a second language, inquiry, and teacher research.


Rebecca Arzola

Rebecca Arzola (Library) is the Government Documents-Collection Development Librarian. She oversees the Federal Depository collection; promotes use of government resources through online Research Guides and special topic bulletins; and coordinates the Library's Reading and Discussion Series and Collection Development events for faculty liaisons. A Bronx native, she earned her B.A. in speech pathology and audiology and M.S.Ed. in special education at Lehman, as well as her master's in library and information science at Pratt Institute.

Natural and Social Sciences


Jason Behrstock

Daniel Kabat

Jason Behrstock (Mathematics and Computer Science) is currently working on a National Science Foundation grant and a PSC-CUNY award. He also has a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that started this year and two other new NSF grants. In the last year he has finished three papers. His paper on Quasi-isometric classification of non-geometric 3-manifold groups, which will appear in Crelle's Journal, was a breakthrough result, establishing a solution to a well-known problem in almost all cases. He is a most productive and valuable member in the department, and his research contacts and knowledge will be crucial for shaping its future .

Daniel Kabat's (Physics and Astronomy) research is in the area of theoretical high-energy physics. He is widely recognized for his work on diverse aspects of string theory, quantum gravity, and cosmology: he is the leading expert in CUNY in this field. He has written over forty papers published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. The total number of citations for his papers exceeds 1800, and he is regularly invited to present his work at national and international forums. His research is currently supported by a National Science Foundation grant and a PSC-CUNY award. In addition, Professor Kabat is a dedicated teacher and mentor, who has been the research mentor for numerous graduate, undergraduate, and high school students.


Marc Lazarus

Suzanne Yates

Marc Lazarus (Chemistry) specializes in the area of physical chemistry. His interests include Mossbauer spectroscopy, chemical bonding, X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and surface science. He is interested in chemical education and completely redesigned the CHE 136 course so that it is inquiry-based and uses collaborative learning methods. Professor Lazarus also has served as chair of the Department and acting dean for the Division of Natural and Social Sciences.

Suzanne Yates (Psychology) is an applied social psychologist who has been teaching at Lehman since 1984. Over the years, she has mentored dozens of students, working closely with them to help them design and conduct honors projects. As one of the two faculty members serving as a pre-graduate adviser for the entire undergraduate student body, she has helped countless students build successful application packages and gain admittance to master's and doctoral programs around the country. Her students praise her teaching in both introductory and advanced level-courses, where she is known for maintaining high standards and communicating her passion for the field. She was awarded the College-Wide Teacher of the Year Award in 1996.


Robin Kunstler

Carl Mazza

Robin Kunstler (Health Sciences) has a long record of service to the College. She provides exemplary service to the Department as graduate advisor for the master's program in recreation education; assessment ambassador; chair of the Department's Curriculum Committee; a member of the Department's P & B committee and its search committee for an exercise science faculty member, as well as a member of both the Divisional curriculum committee and the Advisory Council for the College's Writing Across the Curriculum. Last spring, chaired the Search Committee for the Dean of Adult and Continuing Education. She also teaches nine credits each semester in the recreation education and therapy undergraduate and graduate programs.

Carl Mazza (Social Work) directs the MSW Program. He was one of the first mentors in Lehman's Urban Male Initiative and has mentored dozens of Lehman students. He chairs of the College's Committee for Excellence in Teaching and also is on the advisory boards of the Urban Male Initiative and Writing Across the Curriculum. In addition, he was on the planning committees for the Middle States Accreditation; student retention; revision of the student evaluation form; and departmental self-evaluations. Along with the entire Social Work Department, he has been working on both the undergraduate and graduate reaccredition process for the Council on Social Work Education, which should conclude in 2012.