CSU–Pueblo honors outstanding faculty and staff at luncheon

Outstanding faculty and staff leaders at Colorado State University – Pueblo were honored at a recognition luncheon held on Wednesday, April 15. Sports Information Director Anthony Sandstrom was recognized as the 2009 Outstanding Professional Employee, while Manager of Telecommunications Services Doug Summer was the Outstanding Classified Employee. Dr. Matt Harris, associate professor of history, earned the top faculty honor for Excellence in Teaching.

Also honored at the luncheon were recent retirees of the University and individuals who achieved a service milestone for employment during the past academic year from five to 50 years. Five employees earned special recognition for service beyond 35 years: They included: 35 years – Patricia Orman, mass communications; 40 years – Scott Herrmann, biology; 45 years – John Griffin, English, and Jack Seilheimer, biology, and 50 years – James Duncan, music.

Outstanding Professional Staff
Sports Information Director Anthony Sandstrom, whose work represents the face of all 16 intercollegiate sports at CSU-Pueblo, earned the top honor from among eight nominees. He arrived in August of 2007 to a department that was preparing to add three new athletic programs in one year -- a move unprecedented in intercollegiate athletics. Many universities have separate Sports Information Directors who are responsible for one sport a season, or who concentrate on men’s sports only. Sandstrom attends every single men’s and women’s home athletic event so he can provide copy, quotes, and statistics to media as well as conference and NCAA officials. In addition to handling the athletic expansion with resiliency and class, he unveiled and continues to maintain a dynamic new GO Thunderwolves web site in his spare time. Other finalists for the Professional Employee Award were Lisa Martin, fitness coordinator in the Student Recreation Center, and Barbara Borland, Program Manager in Continuing Education.

The Outstanding Classified Employees were selected from among 17 nominees by a panel of community leaders. Matt Trujillo, engineering manager for the Board of Water Works; Darrin Smith, Director of Human Resources at Parkview Medical Center, and Jolene Hausman, HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator for Posada.

Outstanding Classified Staff
Perhaps better known as the “cable guy,” Telecommunications Services Manager Doug Summer received four separate nominations from three different offices for his attention to projects that literally chronicles the major events that have occurred on campus over the past 12 months. Summer led the network and communication installation for the new ThunderBowl Fieldhouse and Stadium, the installation of a fiber optic cable for the new fire alarm system (an important component of the campus emergency notification system), led the CSU-Pueblo team that partnered with the CDOT, CU, and CSU Fort Collins on a fiber backbone infrastructure along I-25 that has been instrumental in providing campus with high-speed Internet. Finally, he led the effort to move the inhabitants of the Library to disparate locations all over campus with as little disruption to their jobs and classes as possible The first and second runner-up for the Outstanding Classified Employee Award were Louise Anaya, program assistant in the Southern Colorado Educational Opportunity Center, and Jon Valdez, office manager, Admissions and Records.

Students’ Choice Awards
For the second straight year, representatives from Associated Students’ Government, announced the recipients of the Students’ Choice Awards. ASG accepted nominations by students over the past few weeks for a faculty or staff member they felt contributed the most to their experiences at CSU-Pueblo. Sociology Lecturer Betty Alt and Student Life and Development Assistant Jeanne Stewart earned Students’ Choice Awards.

Faculty Awards

Nominators of Dr. Matt Harris, associate professor of history, for the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, say he represents the epitome of the type of teacher the University seeks – one who is engaged with students, excited about what he teaches, organized and cutting-edge, a user of new technology, and a noted scholar. Since teachers from Pueblo City Schools began taking classes for the proposed master’s degree in history, Harris has acquired a reputation as a model of excellence in teaching, among other professional teachers. The new media that he utilizes as well as the extensive research he brings to his courses has resulted in “intellectual curiosity, better writing skills, open discussion, and above all, true critical thinking.” Harris believes that a vigorous research and writing agenda promotes good teaching, and he finds great satisfaction in sharing with students a new insight he has gained or a new interpretation he has made in his writing.

The 2009 Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activity was presented to Dr. Chad Kinney, assistant professor of chemistry, who in his two years at the University has produced five publications for peer-reviewed journals and given six presentations -- a significant achievement in quantity for a chemist working with primarily undergraduate students. In addition, Kinney also has been asked to referee nine journal articles and two grant proposals. At least one of his publications gained national recognition and led to significant media attention after his research appeared in the more mainstream Organic Gardening magazine. Kinney brings his research into the classroom, giving students a flavor of what science is about, and how what they are learning is relevant to the real world. His mentoring of students in his research laboratory is an extension of his teaching, showing students what true scholarship is, and giving them the tools to be life-long learners and researchers. Because he is able to easily translate his research to the lay community, he has been called on as a consultant by several community agencies, such as the Sierra Club on the impact of sewage sludge on soil microorganisms and aquatic life and the Gaia Institute on designing a waste management process to divert waste products from landfills to vermicompost.

The 2009 award for Faculty Excellence in Service goes to an individual whose service on campus includes the founding of Math Day, an annual event that has brought more than 6,000 students from 50 different high schools to campus over the years. Janet Nichols, assistant professor of mathematics, also serves as a faculty senator, chair of the CAP board, on the college curriculum committee, search committees, and the teacher education board. She is providing oversight for the recently adopted remedial math program and filled in this summer as the math learning center director when the director resigned.

The recipient of the award for Faculty Excellence Award in Advising has demonstrated that the needs of the students are his top priority. Dr. Brian Vanden Heuvel, assistant professor of biology, was honored both for his work as advisor for the Tri Beta/Biology Club and his efforts to mentor students to assist peers with learning. As advisor of Tri Beta, VandenHeuvel has helped the students organize a regional meeting, their annual fall cookout for new biology majors, as well as various fundraising activities like the Haunted House. The size and success of this club has grown along with Vendenheuvel’s involvement. As coordinator of biology tutors, he supervises undergraduate students hired as tutors for 100 and 200 level biology courses, in which students historically have difficulty. He also has been conscientious about mentoring students in his research lab. He typically has 5-6 graduate students and 6-9 undergraduate students whom he mentors in the practice of scientific techniques and analysis.

The following faculty members were honored as the top faculty member in their respective colleges for the 2008-09 academic year:

Darrin Smith, assistant professor, Exercise Science, Health Promotion, and Recreation,
College of Education, Engineering and Professional Studies

Alegria Ribadeneira, assistant professor, English and Foreign Languages,
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Michael Wakefield, associate professor, Hasan School of Business

Annette Gabaldon, assistant professor of biology, College of Science and Mathematics

Karen Pardue, Instructional Technology Librarian, Library Services

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.