Professor of Russian Language and Literature in Ithaca, New York
A scholar focusing on Slavic languages, Benjamin “Ben” Rifkin is a tenured professor of modern languages and literature at Ithaca College. Since joining the faculty in 2015, he has designed courses on both Russian film and literature. Ben Rifkin also served as provost and vice president for educational affairs, an administrative position in which he supervised student affairs, multicultural affairs, and athletics, managing a budget exceeding $100 million.
Before accepting his present position, Benjamin Rifkin worked for the College of New Jersey as dean of the School Humanities and Social Sciences, the academic home for approximately 1/3 of all students and faculty at the College. His primary focus as dean was expanding student participation in transformative learning experiences, such as study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, and community engaged learning. Data on participation rates show significant increases in all these areas during his term as dean. He also championed the development and implementation of a new advising policy and a public speaking requirement. Prior to his appointment at The College of New Jersey, Benjamin Rifkin was a professor at Temple University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Benjamin Rifkin has won awards for teaching, scholarship, and service. He was recognized with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's most prestigious teaching award, the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching, as well as with UW-Madison's College of Letters and Science award for excellence in faculty advising. He has won two awards for his scholarship from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, one for a technology project and one for a co-edited volume. And he has won three awards for professional service: one from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, one from the American Council of Teachers of Russian, and one from Middlebury College, the last of these being the Lillian Stroebe Medal for Global Citizenship.