Four Herkimer College Employees Honored with SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

Four Herkimer County Community College employees were recently honored with the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.

Lisa Lamanna-Johnson, office assistant in the Business, Health, Science and Technology Division, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Lamanna-Johnson joined the Herkimer College staff 36 years ago as a stenographer. Her role has evolved over the years to reflect a long list of duties including assisting the associate dean, faculty and staff in her division and helping students with a wide range of needs. President Cathleen McColgin said, “Lisa is a role model for customer service and employee excellence, and her colleagues depend on her knowledge, patience, creativity, professionalism and friendship on a daily basis.”

Wendy Marchese, college counselor, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Marchese’s responsibilities include providing personal counseling to students, developing and coordinating programs for students regarding alcohol and substance abuse, sexual assault prevention, and mental health awareness. She provides assistance to individuals in crisis and assists in planning crisis intervention management strategies. Marchese regularly engages in local and regional initiatives and works to forge partnerships between the College and other organizations and agencies. In 2012, she brought the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley to our campus to provide sexual assault services to victims and survivors on a regular basis, and she recently led a collaborative regional effort in connection with the SUNY’s Got Your Back Campaign. President McColgin said, “Wendy is admired and respected by colleagues and students alike. Her tireless efforts in going above and beyond in addressing issues such as suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault and mental health truly make a difference in the lives of our students.”

Dr. Mark Polkosnik, Associate Professor, Paralegal, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. President McColgin said, “Dr. Polkosnik demonstrates, in all aspects of his work, the qualities this award is meant to recognize. His skill and impact as a teacher are rooted in his broad background of professional expertise and in his genuine desire to see his students succeed.” Professor Polkosnik also serves as an academic advisor, Phi Beta Lambda advisor, and Honors Program mentor.

Associate Professor of History/Social Science, Jeffrey Steele, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. After serving as an adjunct instructor, Steele was appointed to the faculty in 2001 and has taught many subject areas including American History, Western Civilization, American Government, World Politics, Cultural Anthropology and Economics. He developed a local history course and a museum internship and has organized and planned conferences, published articles and given numerous presentations. He has served on the Curriculum and Institutional Effectiveness Committees, and as chair of the Academic Senate Planning Committee and Chancellor’s Awards Committee. He currently serves as president of the Academic Senate, faculty co-advisor to the History Club, and is a member of the Campus Advisory Council and the Applied Learning Task Force. Steele also is a member of the SUNY Council on Assessment and a delegate to the Faculty Council of Community Colleges where he was elected to the position of Secretary.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award program was created to publicly recognize and honor superior professional achievement by faculty and professional staff, and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. The award is designated for faculty and staff members who personify professional excellence and serve as role models not only for the State University of New York community, but for Herkimer County Community College as well.

“The many faculty and staff honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence are the best of our best, having ensured student success as they educate and mentor students with innovative approaches to academic instruction, infuse curricula with applied learning opportunities, adapt best practices from throughout SUNY, and much more,” said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

The award recipients were recognized at Herkimer College’s annual Employee Recognition Ceremony, and at Commencement where each was presented with a bronze medallion. A total of 66 Herkimer College faculty and staff have been honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. A complete list is available at


Photo 1 SUNY Chancellor Award recipients 2017 350x233  Photo 2 Dr. Polkosnik 350x262

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