Faculty Member Receives Award for Service in Haiti

September 30th, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized

Dr. Cynthia Falk

Dr. Cynthia G. Falk, winner of SUNY Oneonta’s 2011 Ashok Kumar Malhotra Seva Faculty Award, will deliver a lecture titled “Rebuilding Haiti, One Bucket at a Time” on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the Craven Lounge at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Conference Center. A dessert reception will precede the lecture, which starts at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Falk, an associate professor in the college’s Cooperstown Graduate Program, was part of a five-person team led by Gilbertsville Baptist Church Pastor Kurt Funke who traveled to Grand Goave, Haiti, in May to help build “rubble” houses for families still living in tents following last year’s devastating earthquake. The team worked with the Haiti Housing Network, a collaborativegroup of nonprofit organizations seeking to build 1,000 permanent, hurricane- and earthquake-resistant homes in partnership with Haitian families over the next three years.

The Cooperstown Graduate Program is a two-year history museum studies master’s program offered through a partnership between SUNY Oneonta and the New YorkState Historical Association. A 2006 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Falk specializes in material culture—the study of buildings, tools and other objects in order to better understand human relationships, societal values and change over time. She has incorporated her experience in Haiti in the classroom, using photographs she took in Haiti to illustrate a discussion of colonial-period architecture in the New World.

“More importantly, Haiti taught me about the importance of working with and under the direction of members of the local community,” she said. “Because I teach museum studies students who will one day work in nonprofit, service-oriented institutions, this is an important lesson that I can share. Humility is a critical part of service that often gets forgotten.”

Created in 2008 to recognize faculty service both in and outside the classroom, the Ashok Kumar Malhotra Seva (Compassionate Service) Faculty Award is made possible by an endowment from SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy Ashok Kumar Malhotra to the College at Oneonta Foundation. Criteria for receiving the $1,000 award include: community service, the ability to motivate and inspire others to perform community service, and the integration of community service in the teaching and learning process.