Honoring Faculty Teaching, Service and Scholarship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Honoring Faculty Teaching, Service and Scholarship

Members of the HWS faculty recently acknowledged the work and dedication of their peers by awarding faculty prizes. Recommended for the annual awards by their faculty colleagues to the Committee on Faculty Research and Honors, this year’s recipients include, Associate Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Edgar Paiewonsky-Conde, who received the faculty prize for teaching; Associate Professor of English Laurence Erussard, who was awarded the faculty prize for community service; and Professor of Art and Architecture Nick Ruth, who was honored with the faculty prize for scholarship.

“This year’s recipients of faculty prizes have contributed significantly to the education of students, the scholarship of the institution and service to the community as a whole,” says Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata. “With these awards, we celebrate their work, which exemplifies the ideals of the liberal arts and the mission of the Colleges as a student-centered learning environment, globally focused, grounded in the values of equity and service, developing citizens who will lead in the 21st century.”

Since joining the faculty in 1987, Paiewonsky-Conde’s classes have been “filled with a special kind of magic,” remarks a fellow colleague. Paiewonsky-Conde’s students, “develop the capacity to appreciate diversity, to communicate meaningfully with others from different populations, to write persuasively and effectively (in two languages), to tackle and analyze difficult texts and to think critically-this is all indicative of the professor’s hard work and dedication to teaching, but there might be something more. When I ask students why they really appreciate this professor, several of them mention the word magic.”

Paiewonsky-Conde’s scholarship includes critical articles of lasting influence on the Spanish Renaissance and the narrative of contemporary Latin America. More recently, as part of a shift to Caribbean literature and culture, he has been at work on a book on six short story writers, covering the Dominican authors Juan Bosch and Pedro Bergés, to be published by Verbum (Madrid) under the title El Caribe cuenta (the Caribbean counts/narrates). Paiewonsky-Conde’s verbal poetry, both the traditional and a minimalist mode he calls “icons/iconos,” has appeared in North American anthologies and Latin American publications. One of his poems in Spanish was recently published in an issue of La Revista Áurea, an eminent poetry magazine in Madrid. Still, most of Paiewonsky-Conde’s recent attention has focused on a project of visual poetry (“eye poems/poemas videntes”), which he has began to circulate for future publication. These poems distill visual symbols which, using the bisymmetrical space of the book, explore each a numerical essence; hence the poems are titled, “ping pong four” “bracket siete,” “separates nine,” etc. He received a Ph.D., M.S., and B.A., from New York University.

Since arriving at the Colleges in 2003, Erussard has established an exemplary and inspiring record of community service and a deep commitment to the Colleges.  Selfless professional service, devotion to the institution, and deep caring for the community are just some of the reasons why one colleague states Erussard is “one of the most dedicated and assiduous members of the HWS community.”

During the 2011-12 academic year, Erussard was instrumental in launching the life-changing New York State prison education program that connects the campus community to volunteer opportunities at the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y. Originally established as a student-led service program, HWS Education Second Chances provides both students and faculty members the opportunity to serve as volunteer teachers for individuals who are incarcerated at Five Points. In this effort, Erussard “is touching countless numbers of people in a profound way, people whose lives have been discarded by society, giving them respect, attention, validation, recognition,” writes a colleague.

Erussard earned her Ph.D. in English and completed her Thesis in English (M.A. equivalent) from the University of Murcia in Spain. She also earned her M.A. in English Literature, B.A. in Spanish and B.A. in French from the State University of New York (SUNY), New Paltz. In addition, she received her associate degree in science from the Ulster County Community College. Prior to teaching at HWS, Erussard taught at SUNY New Paltz and the University of Murcia. Her recently published works include the articles Language, Power and Holiness in Cynewolf’s Elene,  TEAMS Middle English Texts and the Assignment of Multi-Genre Projects/Papers and Late Medieval Old French Farce: A Mirror of Society, as well as a book, Robert the Devil, a translation of a 13th century Old French hagiographic romance with notes and introduction.

Ruth’s drawings, paintings and prints have been featured in dozens of exhibitions, in galleries across the country and internationally, but what is particularly striking about his recent accomplishments, writes a colleague, is that Ruth has “virtually reinvented the type of artist he was five or six years ago: both in his style and his medium.” To that extent, “Ruth has been showing his work widely and he has been receiving important recognition, reflecting on the outstanding strength and originality of his work in a highly competitive field,” adds the colleague. “He is redefining who he is as an artist and how he makes art and is receiving accolades for it.”

Ruth was awarded “Best in Show” at the 2014 Southern Printmaking Biennale. As the recipient, Ruth has been given a solo exhibition at the University of North Georgia in the fall of 2015, and will be the juror for the next Southern Printmaking Biennale, to be held there in 2016. Additionally, Ruth has been invited to the “2nd Global Print” exhibition in Portugal. In 2004, Ruth was recognized with the HWS Faculty Teaching Award for his deep commitment to his students and high degree of teaching excellence.

Ruth joined the faculty in 1995. He has taught previously at Brookhaven Community College, Collin County Community College and the Dallas Museum of Art. After earning his B.A. in studio art from Pomona College, he interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, N.Y. Ruth then earned his M.F.A. in Painting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.