May 25, 2017

Associate Professor and Department Chair Desalyn De-Souza Named 2017 Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring

Desalyn De-Sousa

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - May 25, 2017) Desalyn De-Souza, an associate professor and department chair of Child and Family Studies at SUNY Empire State College, is the 2017 recipient of the Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring. De-Souza was recognized for the award at SUNY Empire’s All College Conference, held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She will undertake an in-depth study to examine the role of the primary mentor at the college and continuity of mentoring.

“Desalyn’s selection as this year’s Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring is a reaffirmation of the college’s commitment to lifelong learning, from the beginnings of our lives, through our professional lives,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of SUNY Empire. “This research is vital, not only in helping us determine the best ways to begin future generations on the path of learning, but also on how we can continue our own learning, using professional development to the best of our abilities to train and retain our own educators, so their important mission continues.”

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Turben Chair in Mentoring award,” said De-Souza. “I am excited about the opportunity to explore my research project on continuity of the mentoring relationship in the upcoming academic year. The idea for this project arose from research conducted within my discipline, early childhood education, on continuity of care in child care centers with infants and toddlers. My sincerest appreciation to Susan Turben for her continued support of SUNY Empire State College. These research opportunities help to inform our work and what we are able to offer to our learners.”

De-Souza joined the college in 2008, developing and teaching undergraduate courses in the Community and Human Services and the Human Development areas of study. Prior to that, she worked for eight years as the coordinator of the NYS Infant and Toddler Resource Network with Child Care Solutions in Syracuse, N.Y. While there, she coordinated a 14-county region to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers, cultivating and maintaining relationships with 10 partnering child-care resource and referral agencies, as well as the Office of Children and Family Services, local departments of health, other colleges and universities, and numerous social service agencies. Before that, De-Souza worked in early child care and education as an assistant director and teacher of infants and toddlers, and as a residence counselor for both Catholic Charities in Syracuse, N.Y. and Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady, N.Y.

De-Souza just completed a one-year tenure as a Scholar Across the College, presenting her work at college locations across the state. She has been published in a number of journals and publications on the topics of coaching, mentoring and educating the early childhood educator, and presented across the country on areas ranging from developmentally appropriate practice with preschoolers, to the barriers to implementation of continuity of care in child care centers, to creating a culture of faculty development.

About the Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring

The Susan H. Turben Chair in Mentoring was created to promote excellence in mentoring as the primary relationship between students and faculty. This endowed chair is named in honor of Susan H. Turben, the second graduate of the college and an internationally recognized expert on families and child development.

Along with serving as a member of the Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors, Turben has been a long-time, passionate supporter of professional development opportunities for the college’s faculty mentors.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system yearly, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at