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Morrisville Professor Receives Distinguished Faculty Award

MORRISVILLE—Throughout her teaching career, Diane Tice has fostered an important classroom philosophy—to inspire her students to reach farther than they would on their own.

It’s been a goal of the dedicated associate professor of biology at Morrisville State College whose own career has taken her the distance.

Tice recently attained one of the highlights of her career, receiving the college’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

The Morrisville State College Distinguished Faculty Award is presented to a faculty member who has displayed professional growth, personal and professional achievement, and has provided outstanding service to the college.

Tice, of Manlius, will receive the award during the college’s 95th commencement on May 20 and will serve as grand marshal of the ceremony which begins at 1 p.m. on Drake Field.

“Diane exemplifies the qualities we value as an educational institution,” Chris Cring, dean of the School of Science and Technology, said. “She has made significant contributions to academics and our campus community.”

“I’m so honored to receive this award,” Tice said, “especially because I was nominated by one of my students.”

Those words resonate from a woman who once aspired to become a scientist. Tice spent many years involved in clinical research before she realized that being in a classroom surrounded by inquisitive students captivated her more than solving mathematical equations and finding answers to cure diseases.

Her career at Morrisville State College began eight years ago.

“As soon as I had an interview for a teaching position, I was convinced that Morrisville was where I belonged,” she said.

Tice’s classroom repertoire includes teaching anatomy and physiology, cancer biology and immunology and pathobiology.

Teaching complicated subject matter is one of the greatest challenges she encounters in her classroom, but her research background and scientific expertise have eased students’ difficulty in learning the materials and her years of personal experience and insight have been instrumental to her success as a teacher.

Teaching difficult subject matter is complicated by students’ wide range of preparation.

“I am impressed with Dr. Tice’s ability to organize and present some very complex material to students who have varied science backgrounds,” Eileen Kinsella, associate professor of nursing, said. “When students struggle with the material, she adjusts her teaching style.”

Tice employs a teaching method similar to a jigsaw puzzle where she breaks down difficult lessons and subject matter into small pieces.

She also tries to import humor into her classroom.

“Being able to laugh, especially at yourself, is important,” she said.

This scientist, teacher, mentor and friend has nestled a wealth of important lessons under her wing—lessons from students who taught her about patience, humility, enthusiasm and life.

“Sometimes I like results instantly and students have done a wonderful job teaching me about patience,” she said.

They have also spirited her energy in the classroom.

“My students inspire me,” Tice said, “especially when they become as excited about the subject matter as I am.”

In her role as a teacher, Tice has cultured, advised and mentored students, in addition to educating them.

“Her commitment to student success is very evident,” Bill Snyder, professor of aquaculture and aquatic science and chair of the college’s faculty awards committee, said. “Her vast experience in research has exposed our students to many scientific endeavors and her expertise has benefited them.”

Teaching is a career Tice rarely leaves behind. Throughout her daily routine, even in her home life, she finds herself continually giving advice and helping friends and colleagues sort through technical and complex problems and situations.

Among the greatest moments of her teaching career is hearing from or about former students who are working in their chosen profession. Even after they graduate, she is committed to watching them succeed and is proud to have helped them grow as students and professionals.

No doubt, Tice’s devotion at Morrisville State College has also been instrumental in the growth of the college’s programs.

She has helped to develop numerous courses, has been involved in various aspects of curriculum development, and has been instrumental in helping the college receive grant support.

Tice’s outstanding commitment is also evident throughout her involvement in campus activities and organizations. She was a member of the Institutional Review Board, served as faculty congress secretary and speaker, and served on numerous program review and tenure committees.

“When Diane accepts a committee post, she always makes significant contributions to the ideas and success of the initiative,” Cring said.

Tice is also active in her community as a trustee at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary and is involved with the Ministerial Formation Coordinating Agency of the Reformed Church of America. Additionally, she runs a small boarding stable and is an active soccer mom. She has written a textbook, published numerous journal articles and book chapters and is a speaker and presenter at various events.

Tice received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Syracuse University, a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, a master’s degree in medical technology—hematology, a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and a post-doctoral degree in transplantation immunology, all from Upstate Medical University. She is certified in medical technology by the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

Morrisville State College offers 12 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine. The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus also offers programs in business, technologies, liberal arts/education transfer, and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers.