April 11, 2017

Susan H. Turben Excellence in Scholarship Award Goes to Gayle Stever

Gayle Stever Excellence
Stever, center, receives award from President Merodie Hancock

(Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – April 12, 2017) Gayle Stever, an associate professor in Social Sciences with SUNY Empire State College’s Rochester location, is the 2017 recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

“It was very exciting to have this recognition from the collegewide community for the work I have been doing on the effects of media on lifespan development,” Stever said. “It’s been almost 30 years since I started down this road, and I feel very gratified and honored to have been nominated by my peers and selected by the foundation for this award.”

“I congratulate Dr. Stever for winning the Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “The large number of candidates, the rigorous selection process and the high standards and accomplishments, in terms of teaching, mentoring, scholarship, innovation and community service recipients must achieve, is very impressive. These are people who best represent aspirations of the college community. They have contributed their talents, passions and often their entire careers, to their colleagues, to higher education and adult learning, the communities where they live and work and, most importantly, to the overall success of the college and its students. Gayle is an outstanding member of the faculty and is an inspiration to all of us.”

Stever came to the college seven years ago from Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, where she was an assistant professor. Her research has broken ground in the area of fan behavior and the growing field of social media research. She has published and presented in numerous peer-reviewed journals and at academic conferences. Her curriculum vita lists 21 articles and 26 conference presentations. On researchgate.com, a social media site for scholars, she has 17 publications available, including 14 articles and three conference papers. Nearly 7,000 people have requested copies of her work, which her colleague -- Lorraine Lander, mentor and coordinator of the college’s Canandaigua location – says is a “strong indication of the importance of her scholarship.” Her work also has been cited nearly 150 times on Google Scholar, including 53 cites of a 2013 paper she wrote in collaboration with one of her students. Stever often includes her students in her research, and has presented papers with them at academic conferences.

Stever has been published by Oxford University Press and Routledge Publications. She recently was asked to write the first entry to appear in the International Encyclopedia of Media Effects on Parasocial Interaction: Concept and Impact. Stever has garnered numerous external awards, as well as being named a Scholar Across the College at Empire State College for 2014.

Stever’s CV notes that the focus of her research – the impact of mass media on lifespan development, specifically the impact of attachments to and social relationships with media celebrities – was, until 1988, an under-investigated area of psychology. “Reviewing and building this literature and relating it back to development psychology and aspects of normal development has been my focus thus far,” Stever said. She said that, beginning in 2009, she added a focus on social media and how it affects the relationships the public have with celebrities.

Stever earned her B.M. in choral/general musical education, her M.Ed. in counselor education, her M.C. in counseling psychology and Ph.D. in lifespan development psychology from Arizona State University.

About the Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship

The Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship recognizes and honors a faculty member or professional employee for distinguished scholarly activity that is widely recognized and that significantly enhances the academic reputation of Empire State College.

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.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

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 www.esc.edu