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Dr. Gregory J. Privitera, associate professor of psychology at St. Bonaventure University, was presented the Professional Excellence in Teaching award at Sunday’s 154th Commencement Exercises.
It is the second consecutive year that Privitera has been honored with a Professional Excellence award, having last year received the Junior Faculty Award for Professional Excellence.
In his five years at St. Bonaventure, Privitera has established himself as a “pillar of his department,” said Dr. Wolfgang Natter, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
It’s fitting praise, said Dr. Darryl Mayeaux, associate professor of psychology and department chair. In recommending his colleague for the award, Mayeaux cited Privitera’s ability to bring scholarship and research into the classroom, his engaging teaching style, his devotion to students as a mentor and adviser, and his publication of two new textbooks, one of which was named most promising new textbook for 2014 by a national academic authors association.
Privitera involves students in class-appropriate research, and does so “with a grace and style that engages students,” said Mayeaux, adding that Privitera’s classes are among the first to fill up at registration. Many students from those classes (more than 40 in five years) continue to work with Privitera on independent study throughout their undergraduate careers.
“These students go on to graduate programs at prestigious universities,” said Mayeaux. “This speaks to the integrity of Greg’s teaching: It prepares students to be competitive in a larger academic arena.”
One of his former students, 2012 graduate Hannah Lapp, said the opportunity to conduct research and independent study with Privitera both inspired her to attend graduate school and equipped her with the skills to succeed.
“Dr. Privitera’s enthusiasm for teaching, for his research, and for his students is contagious and inspiring. He provides a model of the kind of professor I hope to be one day,” said Lapp, who is enrolled in the doctoral Development Behavioral Neuroscience program at the University of Massachusetts.
As an adviser and mentor, Privitera’s guidance and his willingness to work with students are so valued that “even students who are not his advisees seek additional career input from him,” said Mayeaux. Privitera was named St. Bonaventure’s faculty adviser of the year in 2013.
Danielle Antonelli, a 2013 St. Bonaventure graduate who is now seeking a master’s degree in mental health counseling at St. John Fischer College, said she was both supported and challenged by Privitera, her academic adviser during her four years at St. Bonaventure.
“Beyond my regular course work in the psychology program, Dr. Privitera provided me the opportunity to plan, create, and execute research projects that directly reflected my interests in the field,” said Antonelli. “I am the published author of three different research studies under the advisement of Dr. Privitera. That’s a unique opportunity for an undergraduate student.”
In addition to his role as teacher and adviser, Privitera “has taken the huge step, twice, of creating teaching materials for students and teachers,” said Mayeaux. Privitera’s first textbook, “Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences,” is so successful that the publisher is printing a second edition. A second text, “Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences,” won the 2014 Most Promising New Textbook Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association.
“Professor Privitera is helping to lead the way in establishing St. Bonaventure’s growing reputation as an institution that takes seriously the reality of faculty mentored student research,” said Arts and Sciences Dean Natter.
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Privitera attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, earning his Ph.D. in psychology, behavioral neuroscience, in 2006, and completed a postdoctoral position at Arizona State University prior to his arrival at St. Bonaventure in 2009. He and his wife, Alisha, live in Olean with their son, Aiden, and daughter, Grace.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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