Cu Denver campus

2023 Faculty Excellence Award Winners

April 4, 2023

Whether it is the Pulitzer Prize or the Oscars, springtime is awards season. At CU Denver, one of the special ways that we recognize professional achievement is with the annual Faculty Excellence Awards.  

These awards acknowledge outstanding performance and are special designations because they are determined by colleagues. Below is a complete list of the 2023 award finalists, with information from some of the campus-wide winners about what motivates them as educators.  

2023 CU Denver Faculty Excellence Awards 

Campus award winners are bolded and denoted with an asterisk.  

Excellence in Leadership and Service – Instructional/Research/Clinical Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

Katy DiVittorio, MLIS, Auraria Library 
Thomas Duster, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Geography and Environmental Sciences) 
Merrily (Missy) Kautt, MPA, Business School 
Andrea Laser, EdD, School of Education & Human Development 
*Robyn Mobbs, PhD, School of Public Affairs   
Adam Spiegler, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 

[A favorite part of my work is] the people! I feel incredibly fortunate to work with our passionate and hard-working students, who inspire me daily, and with such talented and dedicated colleagues and peers.

—Robyn Mobbs, PhD, School of Public Affairs

Excellence in Leadership and Service – Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

* Cathy Bodine, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Bioengineering) 
Louise Bordelon, PhD, College of Architecture and Planning (Landscape Architecture) 
Franci Crepeau-Hobson, PhD, School of Education & Human Development 
Sarah Hagelin, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (English) 
Tanya Heikkila, PhD, School of Public Affairs 
Julien Langou, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
Madhavan Parthasarathy, PhD, Business School 

The favorite part of my work is helping to create the next generation of Bioengineers. Today’s students are compassionate, incredibly committed to improving the world, and they are focused on how they can contribute.

—Cathy Bodine, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Bioengineering)

Excellence in Research and Creative Work – Instructional/Research/Clinical Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

Annie Miller, PhD, School of Public Affairs 
K. Mohrman, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Ethnic Studies) 
* Dmitry Ostrovsky, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
Rachel Stein, PhD, School of Education & Human Development 

Excellence in Research and Creative Work – Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

Adriana Alvarez, PhD, School of Education & Human Development 
Jody Beck, PhD, College of Architecture and Planning (Landscape Architecture) 
Sommer Browning, MSLIS, MFA, Auraria Library 
* Emily A. Gibson, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Bioengineering) 
Katherine Gunny, PhD, Business School 
Katharine Kelsey, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Geography and Environmental Sciences) 
Florian Pfender, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
Chad Shomura, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Ethnic Studies) 
Gregory Walker, DMA, College of Arts & Media (Music & Entertainment Industry Studies) 
Chris Weible, PhD, School of Public Affairs 

My favorite part of my job is the wonderful interactions with CU Denver students, both in courses I teach and serving as a research advisor. For PhD students I have advised, I get to follow them over five or six years and see how much they learn and grow, starting from no previous experience to developing into independent researchers/scientists.

—Emily A. Gibson, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Bioengineering)

Excellence in Teaching – Instructional/Research/Clinical Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

Wendy Bolyard, PhD, School of Public Affairs 
Miranda Egger, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (English) 
Brian Lisle, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Philosophy) 
Gary Olson, MS, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
Leslie Prock, MA, School of Education & Human Development 
David Ruderman, MBA, Business School 
Susan Stirrup, MS, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (InWorks) 
* Mira Rose Woodson, MFA, College of Architecture and Planning (Architecture)  

It is my pleasure to create space that cultivates curiosity, intention, and agency.

—Mira Rose Woodson, MFA, College of Architecture and Planning (Architecture)

Excellence in Teaching – Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty (Selected by a committee comprising previous award winners) 

 
Troy Butler, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
Ben Crawford, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Geography and Environmental Sciences) 
Angela Gover, PhD, School of Public Affairs 
Emilie Guidez, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Chemistry) 
Vijay Harid, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Electrical Engineering) 
* Diana D. Schaack, PhD, School of Education & Human Development 
* Matthew J. Shea, MArch, MA, College of Architecture and Planning (Architecture) 

My favorite aspect of teaching is directly connected to the most fulfilling: when you see the “light bulb come on” in a student—when they accomplish something that they never thought they could, or when they connect two or three ideas that they had never thought of connecting, or understand something that they had been grappling with. But my favorite aspect is continually thinking about and working on what I can do as an educator to have the “light bulb come on” for as many students as possible. What are the most productive exercises? What setting is most conducive to learning architectural design? What is my role as a facilitator? What is the proper sequence of information? Continually evolving and developing my teaching practices.

—Matthew J. Shea, MArch, MA, College of Architecture and Planning (Architecture) 

Excellence in Faculty Mentoring (No award was given this year due to procedural questions.)   

Excellence in Teaching – Lecturer (Selected by the IRC Roadmap Advisory Committee)   

* Fahridzal (Fareed) Omar, MS, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences) 
 

My favorite part of my work is teaching and interacting with students while delivering the course material and also, enjoy helping the students learn the material at office hours.

—Fahridzal (Fareed) Omar, MS, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)

Excellence in Librarianship (Selected by the Library Faculty Personnel Committee)  

* Kodi Saylor, MSLS, MFA, Auraria Library  

Faculty Inclusive Excellence Award (Selected by a committee comprised of one representative from the Office of DEI, two representatives appointed by the Institutional Equity Advocacy Council, one appointed by Human Resources, and one from the Affinity Group Network) 

* Maryam Darbeheshti, PhD, College of Engineering, Design and Computing (Mechanical Engineering) 

 Excellence in Practices Related to Instructional, Research, and Clinical Faculty (Selected by the University of Colorado Denver Association of Lecturers and Instructors Committee) 

* ThinqStudio