SUNY Oswego School of Education faculty member Carlo Cuccaro’s exceptional ability to teach, connect with students and provide professional expertise have earned a 2023 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.

“Since joining the SUNY Oswego community as an adjunct in 1995, Carlo has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to excellence in his work with SUNY Oswego students across a wide range of courses,” wrote nominator Laura Spenceley, dean of the School of Education.

“His students’ open-ended feedback often includes comments related to his expertise, his open demeanor and his organization in delivering meaningful content that speaks to the students’ needs and professional practice,” Spenceley explained. “As a practicing school psychologist in the Fulton City School District, he makes important connections between training and practices, and provides formative feedback in bridging the divide between theory and practice.”

Thomas Cushman, a professor emeritus and past chair of counseling and psychological services, recalled first meeting Cucccaro while the latter was a graduate CPS student.

“He was quickly recognized by the faculty as a voracious learner who enriched our classes with insightful questions and suggestions regarding class content,” Cushman wrote. Cuccaro went on to earn the department’s most prestigious recognition in the Donald Snygg Scholarship Award, which goes to the most outstanding student in the school psychology program.

After fellow faculty recommended Cuccaro come aboard to teach, “Carlo’s student and faculty evaluations were so positive that he was invited to teach additional and progressively more advanced coursework in the school psychology curriculum,” Cushman noted. “Carlo has always been a versatile, collaborative colleague and ‘team player.’”

“Carlo immediately began to make his presence known and demonstrate a commitment to exceptional teaching,” Spenceley said. “He has taught a wide range of courses in several areas, including the School of Education (in both the Counseling and Psychological Services Department as well as the Curriculum and Instruction Department) and the Division of Extended Learning. His portfolio of teaching includes courses for undergraduate students, graduate students and working  professionals seeking professional development.”

Tremendous teaching

Cuccaro’s teaching focuses on many areas in and related to school psychology practice, diversity in learning, and supporting and working with individuals with educational disabling conditions, as well as assessment, intervention and consultation for school psychologists. While covering so many content areas and courses, Cuccaro still shines in each class he teaches, nominators said.

Student evaluations regularly praise Cuccaro’s dedication, ability to connect, making assignments creative and engaging, use of multimedia and proficiency in translating his professional experiences in meaningful ways. 

“As the chair of CPS for the last 12 years, I have come to rely heavily on Carlo’s ability to teach a variety of courses in our department,” wrote Michael LeBlanc, professor and chair of counseling and psychological services. 

Cuccaro’s ability to present relevant case studies, professional policies and procedures, and ethical decisions those entering the field might face have become “invaluable to our students as we prepare school psychologists and counselors to be prepared, current and relevant in the field,” LeBlanc explained.

LeBlanc also noted Cuccaro’s early adoption of online learning, before most faculty began exploring this concept fully. “He is very adept and flexible in developing and delivering courses in a variety of formats including in-person, hybrid, and fully online,” LeBlanc added.

Cuccaro’s work has earned the SUNY Oswego Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015, the Frank Plumeau School Psychologist of the Year Award from the New York Association of School Psychologists in 2004 and an Educator of the Week honor from local TV station WSTM in 2004.

Professional dedication

“I have experienced his dedication to providing quality higher education to students,” wrote Jill Pippin, dean of extended learning. “He is very thoughtful about how decisions regarding the timing and delivery of these workshops can impact their employment options. … There is no question that Mr. Cuccaro is passionate about teaching and supporting students.”

Pippin noted his value in developing and teaching courses supporting Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) and Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SSHS) offerings.

“He developed the SSHS program as a fully online course and over the pandemic redeveloped it in partnership with instructional designers,” Pippin wrote. “He visits regularly, provides thoughtful feedback, and was ready to pivot DASA to remote teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition, Cuccaro consistently supervises SUNY Oswego practicum and internship students in school psychology and school counseling, helping build a robust internship program in the Fulton district. 

Cuccaro earned both a master’s and certificate in advanced study, both in counseling and psychological services with an emphasis on school psychology, from SUNY Oswego, as well as a bachelor’s in psychology from what is now known as SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

“Having worked with Carlo for many years, I remember him as an outstanding colleague, educator and person,” Cushman said.

“The opportunity to collaborate with a colleague that brings such deep commitment to his work as an instructor, mentor and colleague is a gift, and it has been a pleasure to work with and learn from Carlo in his time with SUNY Oswego,” Spenceley said.