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Three professors promoted to ‘distinguished’ rank

Three Binghamton faculty members have been promoted to distinguished professorship, a tenured University ranking that is conferred for consistently extraordinary accomplishment.


The State University of New York Board of Trustees announced 22 such appointments last week. Recipients are nominated for this honor by their campus presidents for having achieved national or international prominence and an established reputation in their fields.


Beverly Rainforth, professor of special education, was named a distinguished teaching professor. John William Chaffee, professor of history, and Raymond G. Romanczyk, professor of clinical psychology, were named distinguished service professors. They join nearly 50 other Binghamton colleagues who have received this distinction.


Chaffee, chair of the new Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, is also director of the Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas. He was also chair of the History Department for seven years and was president of the New York Conference on Asian Studies.


“He has set a standard for service that exemplifies the very best in a Distinguished Service Professor: the combination of scholarship, citizenship and decency,” President Lois B. DeFleur wrote in recommending Chaffee for the promotion.


His research interests include maritime Muslim merchants in China and the social and institutional history of the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE). He teaches on topics ranging from maritime Asia and East Asian imperialism to the history of Chinese women.


Chaffee is the author of The Branches of Heaven: A History of the Sung Imperial Clan and The Thorny Gates of Learning in Sung China: A Social History of Examinations and was co-editor of Neo-Confucian Education: The Formative Stage. He’s also a co-editor of a forthcoming volume of The Cambridge History of China.


Chaffee, who joined the Binghamton faculty in 1980, holds a bachelor’s from Swarthmore College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.


Chaffee and his wife, Barbara Chaffee, an internist, live in Binghamton.
Rainforth, an expert on educating students with severe disabilities, is also a leader in the field of educational teams, which builds on the concept of professional workplace collaboration.


She received both the University and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 2005-06.


Rainforth, who came to Binghamton in 1986, earned a doctorate in special

education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a bachelor’s in physical therapy and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Connecticut.


“She is a teacher of teachers who exemplifies higher education through her scholarship, her teaching and as a role model to the education community,” DeFleur wrote in recommending Rainforth’s promotion.


Rainforth has been a frequent presenter at local, state and national conferences on teamwork in special education.


She’s the co-author of Collaborative Teams for Students With Severe Disabilities: Integrating Therapy and Educational Services and the co-editor of Curriculum and Instruction for All Learners: Blending Systematic and Constructivist Approaches in Inclusive Elementary Schools. Rainforth, who has been published in Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, Pediatric Physical Therapy and Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, has also written numerous book chapters related to collaboration, inclusive education and students with severe disabilities
She lives in Binghamton.


Romanczyk is founder and director of the Institute for Child Development, which provides clinical and educational services to children and families.


Romanczyk, chair of the University’s Human Subjects Research Review Committee, served two terms as chair of the Psychology Department and was director of clinical training in the clinical psychology program. He is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the SUNY Health Sciences Center of Syracuse.


His research interests include autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit and learning disabilities, evidence-based intervention, technology application to human services and large-scale service delivery systems.


Romanczyk, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Rutgers University, earned a bachelor’s from Stony Brook University. He joined the faculty in 1974.


A fellow of the American Psychological Association, he has served on the boards of several institutes and treatment facilities as well as on ethics and quality assurance boards for several organizations.


“He seems never to forget that he was the first to attend college among his extended family of immigrant coal miners who worked hard, suffered greatly and often died young,” DeFleur wrote. “As such, he carries with him ‘the value of hard work and the dignity of all labor’ as well as an understanding that ‘help had to come from the actions of individuals.’ These two principles have guided Professor Romanczyk throughout his career. He works hard and serves others well.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08