MORRISVILLE, NY—Three members of the Morrisville State College faculty and staff have been honored with Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence by the State University of New York and SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson.

Recipients will be recognized during the college’s 107th commencement ceremony, which will be May 5 at 1 p.m. in the Recreation Center.

Receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is:

Devon Branca, of Hamilton

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes professors who show outstanding skill in the classroom, scholarship and professional growth, commitment to students and high academic standards.

 Receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching is:

Leigh A. Yardley, of Hubbardsville

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching recognizes adjunct faculty members for excellence in teaching techniques, scholarship and professional growth, student services and academic standards.

Receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service is:

Cheryl A. Church, of Bouckville

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service recognizes employees who have consistently demonstrated superlative performance within and beyond their position.

Devon Branca

Branca, an associate professor in the Humanities Department of the School of Liberal Arts, joined the Morrisville faculty in 2009.

Since his arrival, Branca has been instrumental in developing new courses and reformulating existing courses in the areas of creative writing, composition and literature. He also has enhanced student life by forming the Morrisville No Prize Open Mic in 2013, where he remains as host of the popular event. Additionally, he serves as co-advisor of the Issa Poetry Club, a student-led creative writing group on campus.

His service to the college extends to numerous committees, as he currently serves on the Professional Development Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Advisory Board, the Liberal Arts Continuing Appointment Committee, and the Science, Technology & Society Symposium Planning Committee. He was also co-chair of the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Task Force in addition to past service on the Plagiarism Committee and the Promotion Committee. The inauguration poet for the Presidential Inauguration of Dr. David Rogers in 2015, Branca was also senator in the College Senate, secretary of the Writing Group and co -writer of the Morrisville State College Diversity Plan.

The recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Student Government Organization (SGO) Award, Branca has attended and presented at numerous professional development conferences at Morrisville and across the country. His poetry and creative nonfiction can also be found in myriad publications, including Poetry InternationalNorth American ReviewDenver Quarterly and Indiana Review.

Branca has also been active in the local community, promoting the production of creative work by holding poetry and song-writing workshops and serving as a visiting poet at other workshops. He also was the co-organizer of the Central New York Climates of Change Arts Festival in 2014-15.

Branca holds a Ph.D. in English literature with a concentration in creative writing from Binghamton University (2009), where he also earned a Master of Arts in English in 2005. His Bachelor of Arts degree in English is from SUNY Potsdam in 2003.

Branca currently resides in Hamilton with his wife, Mary DiNapoli.

Leigh A. Yardley

Yardley has served as an adjunct instructor in the School of Liberal Arts since 2000, teaching courses in the Humanities Department and for ONCAMPUS SUNY, a college entry pathway program between Morrisville and Cambridge Education Group of England.

Yardley brings a wealth of experience and creativity to her classroom, creating campus-specific student art projects and organizing class trips to local art shows, galleries and museums. She also developed a popular visual arts course at Morrisville, which is also offered to students participating in ONCAMPUS SUNY.

Active in pursuing community-based projects, Yardley has received NYSCA grants and facilitated the organization of several arts programs. Holding a long-term partnership with Ilion Central School and Greene Central Schools as a resident teacher, she also has served as a NYFA Statewide Artist Consultant and was a longtime member of the Arts Council for the Stanley Theater in Utica, New York.

As an Empire State Partnership Teaching Artist for the Aesthetic Education Institute of Central New York, Yardley was involved in arts integration programs and helped design and implement arts media workshops and in-school artist residencies for teachers of all levels of aesthetic education. She was also a contributor to the Central New York Climates of Change Arts Festival in 2014-15.

A painter and installation artist who closely interacts with landscapes through her artwork, Yardley’s creations have been displayed at numerous solo and group exhibits throughout Central New York. Additionally, her work has been published in Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts, Literature, and Social Commentary and Studio Visit Magazine. She also created the installation, Watershed, on campus in 2015, which reflected on three watersheds that intersect in Madison County: the Mohawk/Hudson, Oswego River/St. Lawrence and the Susquehanna.

Yardley, whose training includes the Lincoln Center Teaching Artist Mentoring Project and the Advance Seminar for Teaching Artist at the Guggenheim, earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Lesley University, College of Art and Design in 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in visual arts from Skidmore College (1996) and a Bachelor of Science in education from SUNY Oswego (1977).

Yardley and her husband, Bruce Moseley, currently reside in Hubbardsville.

Cheryl A. Church

Church is a program aide in the Office of Institutional Advancement and has been an integral member of the Morrisville State College staff for 34 years.

A 1983 graduate of Morrisville’s secretarial studies program, Church joined the college full-time that same year as stenographer for the Bursar’s Office and transitioned to the office’s calculations clerk II, a role which she served for 16 years. She became secretary I in the Office of Institutional Advancement in 1999, before taking on her current role in 2006, where she provides administrative support to the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Office of Alumni Development and the Morrisville College Foundation.

Church also plays a vital role in the yearly planning and success of the college’s commencement ceremony, in addition to other annual campus events such as Mustang Weekend, Harvest Dinner, Grad Dinner and Grad Finale. A frequent volunteer at numerous on-campus events, Church’s service to the college also includes membership on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Committee, Commencement Committee, Scholarship Committee and Affirmative Action Committee.

She also served on the Inauguration Committee for Morrisville State College President David Rogers, assisting in several areas for four related events. She was also secretary to the chair of the College Council during that presidential search process.

With an unparalleled knowledge of the institution and her advanced skills maintaining records, Church also is called upon frequently to assist several other departments across campus, including the President’s Office and the Office of Communications & Marketing.

Church and her husband, Richard, currently reside in Bouckville.

Morrisville State College’s curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit

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