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Past Featured Faculty

Dr. Jan Trybula, Associate Professor of Biology
Jan Trybula

I have been at SUNY Potsdam twelve years and enjoy it immensely. My primary interest is in molecular ecotoxicology, examining the effects of pollutants on the genetics of populations. This ties to my work with dragonflies in NY, especially in the Adirondack Park; but I teach most things genetic for majors and non-majors. While at Potsdam I have developed or revised upper-division courses in molecular genetics, virology, and human genetic diseases, which all require students to read and analyze peer-reviewed literature. My greatest reward is closely working with students in various courses, independent student research, and club advising. In the FYSS of the Natural Science & Pre-Med FIG I try to establish a safe place where students can freely speak about any issue, hopefully gaining rapport through discussions, social activities, music videos, and inviting juniors and seniors to tell the newer students what college life is really like.

Jerod Sommerfeldt, Assistant Professor, Crane School of Music

Thrilled to be in my second full year on campus, I teach electronic music composition and theory, and coordinate the courses and concerts presented through the SUNY Potsdam Electronic Music Studios (PoEMS) in the Crane School of Music. Here, students are able to enjoy full use of our state-of-the-art facilities, including two surround sound studios that feature high quality mixing and recording equipment. Coursework is centered around computer programming, algorithmic composition, and experimental digital music and video, providing a platform for everyone to create unbendingly creative and exciting new music. At the end of each semester, student compositions are showcased in the newly developed PoEMS Electroacoustic Salon Concert Series. Open to all, it is an informal gathering in the Helen Hosmer Gallery where ideas are shared and new music is both heard and discussed. We sincerely hope you will join us for any and all new music events on campus.

Dr. Christine M. Doran, Associate Professor, English & Communication

Christine Doran photo

I teach mainly twentieth-century British texts with a focus on gender and cultural studies. I love books. I was one of those children who made a second home out a corner of their public library. Hokey as this may sound, this love of books forms the core of my pedagogy--I attempt to share that interest and enthusiasm with our students. Early in my teaching career, I thought it was enough just to give students extraordinary texts. What the students at Potsdam have helped teach me is that enthusiasm alone is not enough. Increasingly, I spend as much time talking about the why and how as I do about the what of my teaching. It is this investment in pedagogy that led me to start the feminist pedagogy group, work for which I received the Learning and Teaching Excellence Center Award of Excellence in spring 2014.

Dr. Laura Brown, Assistant Professor, English Education

Laura Brown

One of my most meaningful endeavors this past year has been the development and facilitation of a writing workshop with my Adolescence English Education students and residents of the Maplewood Nursing Home in Canton. My student volunteers and I met with residents three times during the fall 2013 semester. We shared our stories, and students and I developed personal writing pieces, as well as pieces based on residents' lives. On our last day together, we shared our works, and I am now in the process of creating a booklet of the writings for all involved. These experiences have changed both me and my students in incalculable ways, and the project, which is ongoing, has been very well received by residents.

In my Young Adult Literature course, we discuss the importance of critical reviews, and in order to provide students with a wider audience, I have them upload their reviews (written or video-taped) onto a site that creates a QR code. These are then displayed outside the classroom where anyone with a QR reader on his or her phone can scan and read or watch the reviews. Elizabeth Andrews and Iare planning a large display of reviews in Crumb Library this spring, along with a "Read Out" where faculty, staff, and students will be encouraged to read from and discuss a young adult book that helped shape their identity.

Dr. Julie Hunter, Assistant Professor, Crane School of Music

julie hunter photoI have developed a number of new courses at SUNY Potsdam, including Gender and Music and Global Popular Music, which emphasize the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of ethnomusicology. I adopt an experiential teaching approach that involves hands-on and active learning activities, and students have opportunities to perform music connected to the genres being studied, including workshops with guest artists.In Introduction to Ethnomusicology, upper level music majors engage in an in-depth fieldwork project with a music community in the area, and document the community through an ethnographic lens.

In the West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, music and liberal arts majors study songs, dances, and instrumental parts through an oral method, and experience first-hand the integration of African arts.The ensemble has enabled us to represent African traditions in a lively way for the Potsdam community. Last year, I also organized a joint symposium with SLU and TAUNY to highlight the work of American folklorist Alan Lomax and concept of cultural equity.