Six Jefferson Community College Faculty/Staff Receive 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

(l-r) Suzanne M. VanEpps of Dexter, Senior Account Clerk, CJ Southworth, Assistant Professor of English, James P.R. Ambrose, Director of Financial Aid, Sister Juliana Raymond, Adjunct Instructor of Early Childhood and College Chaplain, Terry N. Fralick, Board of Trustees Chair, Ty A. Stone, College President, Mark D. Irwin, Associate Professor of Biology and Kimberly G. Sell, Associate Professor of Physical Education.

Jefferson Community College is pleased to announce that six members of the College’s faculty and staff were honored as recipients of the 2018 State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.  The Chancellor’s Awards recognize extraordinary achievement and encourage the continuation of excellence. James P.R. Ambrose of Black River, Director of Financial Aid, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service; Mark D. Irwin of Watertown, Associate Professor of Biology received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Sister Juliana Raymond of Watertown, Adjunct Instructor of Early Childhood and College Chaplain, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching; Kimberly G. Sell of Theresa, Associate Professor of Physical Education, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service; CJ Southworth of Watertown, Assistant Professor of English, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; and Suzanne M. VanEpps of Dexter, Senior Account Clerk, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Chancellor’s Award honorees were bestowed their medallions by Jefferson President Ty A. Stone at the College’s Recognition Celebration held on May 4, 2018.

James Ambrose joined the financial services office at Jefferson in 2007. He has been integral to the success of several strategic initiatives at Jefferson including the implementation of Banner, the merging of two financial services-related offices, and the development of Jefferson’s first residence hall. Ambrose researched and developed an implementation plan for Jefferson’s Enrollment Services Center which opened in 2017. Most recently, he assisted colleagues and students with navigating the new Excelsior Scholarship. Ambrose is a member of the Jefferson Foundation Board of Directors, the Affirmative Action Committee and chairs the Audit Committee of the Faculty Association. He helped revitalize the Cannoneer golf team, serving as coach for ten years. He is a member of Jefferson’s Relay for Life team and North Country Community Cup team. Ambrose holds a bachelor’s degree from Wingate University and a master’s degree from Capella University.

Dr. Mark Irwin first joined Jefferson in 2002 as an instructor of biology. Since 2009, he has served as the director of the zoo technology program at Jefferson and is responsible for developing the program’s comprehensive curriculum. Irwin helped establish and is co-chair of the College’s popular Super Science Saturday event and advises the Zoo, Exotic & Wildlife (ZEW) Club. A licensed veterinarian, Irwin is president of the Jefferson County Veterinary Medical Society and Jefferson County Animal Cruelty Task Force in addition to recently assuming the role of chair of the Thompson Park Conservancy board of directors. He initiated and served as co-editor and contributing author of a textbook for his field of study that is published in two languages, English and Spanish. He holds a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) from the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Sister Juliana Raymond joined Jefferson in 2002 as the College Chaplain in the Student Activities Center and soon after, began teaching in the early childhood department. Colleagues commend the quality of Raymond’s instruction and her ability to connect with students at all levels. She embraces assessment and proactively initiates course revisions based on student evaluations and examination of performance on learning goals. Raymond’s unassuming, yet strong, presence in the classroom helps her foster an enduring rapport with her students and many keep in contact with her long after graduating. Her campus service extends beyond the classroom and her role as College Chaplain. She regularly participates in periodic reviews for Jefferson’s Early Childhood degree program and served on a Middle States Self Study workgroup during the College’s last successful reaccreditation. In addition, Raymond advises the Early Childhood Club. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from SUNY Potsdam.

Kim Sell joined the full-time physical education faculty at Jefferson in 1997 and during her 20+ year tenure has proved to be an outstanding teacher and leader among her colleagues. Her campus involvement is diverse and includes 16 years as the women’s soccer coach and membership on several committees. She serves as vice president of the College Senate and is a member of the Judicial Board of Review and recently represented JCC faculty on SUNY’s North Country Regional Council of Community Colleges. A New York State licensed guide in hiking and camping, Sell develops new courses that introduce many students to the vast number of outdoor recreation opportunities available in the North Country. Furthermore, as a retired Colonel in the Army Reserves, Sell has been an invaluable resource to faculty and staff in serving Jefferson’s military-related student population, in particular veterans and active duty Soldiers. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University, a master’s in education from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree from California University of Pennsylvania.  

Dr. CJ Southworth joined Jefferson in 2001 as an adjunct instructor before being appointed to the full-time English faculty in 2011. He is an outstanding teacher, one who is clearly enthusiastic about writing and equally vested in helping his students unleash their creativity. Southworth is dedicated to enhancing learning opportunities for students and played an integral role in the development of both literature and creative writing academic concentrations at Jefferson. He coordinated and has hosted a Brown Bag Poetry writing seminar for students, staff and faculty for numerous years. Southworth’s contributions to the College and campus include service as chair of the Curriculum Committee, and as a member of the College’s Diversity Workgroup and Affirmative Action Committee. He has co-chaired the annual weeklong North Country Writers Festival event and is an accomplished poet and writer. His poetry has been published in more than 50 national and international publications. His work has garnered him much recognition including a first place Allen Ginsberg Award and a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. In 2014, Southworth founded Jane’s Boy Press and has since published six books. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from St. Lawrence University and a doctorate from SUNY Binghamton.

Suzanne VanEpps joined the financial services office at Jefferson in 1994. During her 24-year career, she has demonstrated each and every day that customer service is her top priority. VanEpps is a proud alumna of Jefferson and her colleagues depend upon her sound judgment, thoughtful input and willingness to lend a hand and learn new tasks. VanEpps was instrumental in the merging of three offices to better serve students. Furthermore, she was an implementation leader during the Banner conversion and she continues to be a resource to other campuses going through the same process. She is a long-time member and treasurer of the JCC Women’s Organization and she volunteers for several campus and community organizations including Relay for Life and Watertown Urban Mission. A leader within the National Association of Educational Office Professionals, VanEpps was designated a Certified Educational Office Employee. She holds an associate’s degree from Jefferson.

Each year, the State University of New York recognizes outstanding members of the faculty and staff across the entire 64-campus university system with prestigious Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. Over the years, a total of 104 Awards for Excellence have been bestowed upon members of the Jefferson Community College faculty and staff. 

“One of my themes for SUNY is individualized education, meaning the work we do to help our students navigate the programs and opportunities within our 64 campuses,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Our faculty and staff educate, inspire, and support our students to pursue their passions; they are the driving force on campus. Those we honor today are leading this effort through their commitment to their craft and their dedication to our students. I am proud to celebrate and honor this year’s recipients James P.R. Ambrose, Mark D. Irwin, Sister Juliana Raymond, Kimberly G. Sell, CJ Southworth and Suzanne M. VanEpps.”

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