April 29, 2019

Karen LaBarge and Peter Pociluyko Receive Empire State College Foundation Awards

Both Honored for Excellence in Professional Service

Alan Mandell, college professor of adult learning and mentoring, and Shantih Clemans, director of the Center for Mentoring, Learning and Academic Innovation, join Karen LaBarge, center, holding her award. Photo: Linda Lawrence

The Empire State College Foundation presented awards for Excellence in Professional Service on March 21 at an All College gathering in Saratoga Springs to Karen LaBarge, senior staff assistant for faculty development, and Peter Pociluyko, division operations coordinator in Human Services. Criteria for the award include “superbly fulfills the responsibilities of the position, demonstrates initiative and strong leadership skills and provides excellence in decision-making, as well as problem solving.”

About Karen LaBarge

LaBarge, is known to her colleagues for "legendary” expertise in providing all the information, links and details of the topic at hand, including for policies and procedures. In addition, she is appreciated for “her student-focused approach” and ability "to provide colleagues with valuable feedback and thinking from the student perspective,” which helps colleagues improve their work with students. She is also called "the grammar hotline” and edits three college publications.

According to her colleagues, LaBarge is a “traditionalist” in her commitment to the college, and, at the same time, an “innovator” who says colleagues need to “take risks and experiment to best serve students, mentors and the college community.” She is called a “behind-the-scenes navigator of a myriad of activities and projects. She leads in a most distinctive way, by illuminating possibilities.”

About Peter Pociluyko

Pociluyko has been at the college for 14 years. His colleagues say he “juggles multiple aspects of creating a course schedule for more than 50 online courses on a tight timeline and with excellent attention to detail. He can forecast the online course offerings according to term, number of sections needed, based on enrollment histories. He carefully and thoughtfully pairs faculty and adjuncts with each course based on areas of expertise and faculty and student feedback. He can do this because of the importance he places on developing and maintaining ongoing relationships with faculty and adjuncts in the division.”

Pociluyko maintains an extensive community-based network through his clinical work outside of Empire State College, which allows him to recruit adjunct faculty who bring their own clinical experience to their classrooms, creating a rich and valuable network for students. Often, colleagues new to online teaching, shadow him and he supports their growth and professional development.

Nominators said he is "quick to resolve issues that come up, as serving students is his top priority. In fact, it’s typical for him to respond to an email within the hour, even on weekends.”

About the Empire State College Foundation

During the college’s 2018 fiscal year, the college’s foundation provided $1.6 million to directly benefit students, implement collegewide initiatives and support research and assist with faculty and staff development.

Last year, more than 1,900 alumni, employees and friends partnered with the college by making a gift in support of the work of the foundation.

Need-based student scholarships comprise the most significant use of foundation funds. During 2018-19, the foundation distributed more than $778,000 to support more than 700 students living across the country.

The foundation also sponsors a no-interest loan program for students, in the form of an advance of $500 per term on a student’s financial aid funds for education expenses.

These funds are offered by the foundation for education expenses at no interest, with guaranteed repayment. More than $1 million is loaned to students through this program each year.

In addition to donor-established scholarships, emergency funding and foundation-subsidized loans, a fund of $25,000, which includes matching funds from SUNY, was distributed solely to students from historically underrepresented populations, which further demonstrates the college’s ongoing commitment to expanding access and increasing completion diversity, equity and inclusion.

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