SUNY Poly Faculty & Staff Receive SUNY's Highest Honor

SUNY Poly Faculty & Staff Receive SUNY's Highest Honor

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 10:05
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SUNY Poly Faculty in the News
Brian Taylor honored with one of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence

Four Recognized with 2017 Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

Utica, NY – It is with great pride that SUNY Polytechnic Institute announces four members of its faculty and staff have received Chancellor's Awards for Excellence from the State University of New York for 2017. Through these awards, SUNY publicly proclaims its pride in the accomplishments and personal dedication of its instructional faculty and professional staff across its campuses.
SUNY Poly's 2017 Chancellor's Award recipients are:

  • Thomas Ciulla, Supervising Janitor
    Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Classified Service
  • Brian Keith Taylor, Manager of Engineering Support Services
    Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service
  • James Castracane, Professor of Nanobioscience
    Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
  • Christopher Urban, Lecturer of Computer Science and Information Systems
    Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

"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 SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. "It is an honor to recognize the excellent work of Thomas, Brian, James, and Christopher at SUNY Poly and that of their colleagues across SUNY. Congratulations to all of this year's recipients."
"We are excited that several members of the SUNY Poly faculty and staff have received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence," said Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, Interim President of SUNY Poly.  "Congratulations to the honorees for the recognition of your hard work and dedication, which make SUNY Poly the dynamic institution it is today."

"Each one of the recipients personify the excellence that is at the core of SUNY Poly," said Dr. William Durgin, Provost for SUNY Poly. "We are incredibly proud of each of these well-deserving members of the SUNY Poly faculty and staff and the contributions they make to our institution."

Thomas Ciulla joined SUNY Poly in 2010 and currently serves as Supervising Janitor and has been active in many committees across the Utica campus throughout his tenure. He volunteers for FIRST Competitions and Mohawk Valley Tech Showcase, and is always one of the first to offer his time, energy, and assistance to the more than 1,800 events that occur on campus each year to see that they are successful.

Brian Keith Taylor joined what is now the SUNY Poly community as a University at Albany machinist in 1987. By 1997, his work encompassed many projects at CESTM, the Albany NanoTech complex cornerstone and future home of SUNY Poly's Albany Campus. Since 2004 he has served as Manager of the 200mm Wafer Process Cleanroom at the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. During his 29 years of service and achievements, he has also served as a voting member of the CNSE Assembly and Council on Research.

James Castracane earned his B.S. in Physics from Canisius College in 1976, which was followed by an M.A. in Physics from The John Hopkins University in 1978, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Plasma Physics in 1982. He joined SUNY Poly's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in 1998 after work in the private sector as well as teaching at the University at Albany. Since 2006, Dr. Castracane has served as head of the Nanobioscience Constellation.

Christopher Urban has been a part of the SUNY Poly faculty since 2000, teaching nineteen different undergraduate courses and one graduate course in that time. He has been recognized as Professor of the Year on four separate occasions by the SUNY Poly Student Association, and in addition to a heavy teaching and advising load, he supervises all internships and co-ops in computer science and computer information systems, is an advisor to six clubs, chair of one of the standing committees of local campus governance, and is finishing his fourth year as the chair in computer and information science.

The Chancellor's Awards for Excellence acknowledge consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the continued pursuit of excellence, while underscoring SUNY's commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction, and serving the public good.

Honorees were presented with their awards by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher at SUNY Poly's Utica Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 6.


SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany location and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome location. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and over 300 corporate partners. For information visit and


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