Colorado State University Honors Six Members of the College of Liberal Arts for Outstanding Teaching, Professional Achievements

The College of Liberal Arts presented six awards to outstanding members of the university community on Feb. 10.

Honorees included John Clark Pratt, English professor, who received the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award; and Jim Van Leuven, professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, who won the Distinction in Advancement Award, an honor presented for the first time this year.

Also honored were Eric Aoki, untenured faculty in speech communication, Jeffrey Ho, lecturer in speech communication and Kimberly Imdieke, graduate teaching assistant in English, who won CLA Excellence in Teaching awards.

Emeritus English Professor Bill McBride was honored with a special Distinguished Service Recognition award for nearly 50 years of teaching that touched more than 10,000 students and teachers.

John Clark Pratt, English professor, recipient of the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award

In a nominating statement for the award, colleagues said, "John Pratt has distinguished himself in service to his country, to his academic affiliations, to his profession and to his students in a broad-based, incredibly varied way… He is one of the most admired teachers and advisers that we know."

Pratt, who is on transitional retirement, served as professor and chairman of the English Department from 1974-80 and as professor from 1980 to the present. He served in the Vietnam War as a pilot and operations analyst in 1969-70, and was instrumental in creating the Vietnam War Literature Collection at Morgan Library, a unique and world-renowned collection.

Pratt received a Pennock Distinguished Service Award and Honors Professor of the Year in 1989 and a Golden Apple Award in 1995 from the Organization of Graduate Student Writers. He also is one of the few American scholars to have been awarded two Senior Fulbright lectureships to Portugal and the Soviet Union. "We are certain that few if any Fulbright scholars have accomplished as much or have received as much praise from foreign and U.S. State Department personnel as has Professor Pratt," colleagues noted.

Jim Van Leuven, chairman of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, recipient of the Distinction in Advancement Award

Van Leuven was presented the inaugural Distinction in Advancement Award for his exceptional contributions to strengthening the College of Liberal Arts by enhancing its image, involving alumni and friends, increasing the financial support of its contributors and for creating and sustaining substantive and valuable relationships among the college’s many constituencies.

During his 14-year career at the university, Van Leuven has been credited with enhancing the nationwide stature of the journalism department and public relations concentration. Colorado State is one of only two Colorado universities that have been accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Van Leuven came to Colorado State in 1985 after teaching four years at Washington State, where he earned a doctorate in sociology in 1977. He previously taught at the University of Idaho and Oregon State University, following a professional career that began with business and editorial positions with weekly papers in Oregon.

In September 1999, he received the Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Public Relations Society of America’s Gold Pick ceremonies in Denver.

Bill McBride, Professor of English Emeritus, honored with the Distinguished Service Recognition award

McBride, who retired from Colorado State in 1998, was honored for a lifetime devoted to educating students and for his profound influence on teaching in the region.

A teacher said, "I think of him often when I stand in front of a classroom and remember his advice about reading, writing, classroom management and relationships… I admire his devotion to education and his uncompromised belief that every person on the planet can be educated. I am grateful for the model he provides and will consider myself a successful teacher if I can do half the job he has done."

After graduating from Colorado State in 1950 with a degree in animal science, McBride received a life certificate to teach from the University of Northern Colorado in 1957. He taught at Fort Collins and Poudre High schools from 1960-67 and received his doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in 1970. He joined the faculty at Colorado State in September 1969.

McBride served on the board of education for Poudre School District for eight years, conducted Write to Learn workshops and helped develop the College Board’s Pacesetter English curriculum. He continues to contribute time and energy to the National Council of Teachers of English, the Colorado Language Arts Society and various curriculum development initiatives.

"Long after you have quit teaching, you will still be teaching through me," a student said in an evaluation of McBride.

Eric Aoki, untenured faculty member in speech communication, recipient of a CLA Excellence in Teaching award

In a nominating statement, a university professor noted that Akoi "is one of the most extraordinary teachers I have encountered in my 20-year academic career. He is in his third year at Colorado State and, in this short time, has made an amazing impact on the lives of students and on the institution."

In addition to teaching, revising and developing courses in speech communication, Aoki advises between 30 and 40 undergraduate students each semester and serves as adviser or committee member on several thesis projects in the master’s program. He is frequent contributor to courses around the university as well as teaching outside the formal classroom.

Jeffrey Ho, lecturer in speech communication, recipient of a CLA Excellence in Teaching award

As a temporary faculty member, Ho has shown an extraordinary range of teaching and contributions to the College of Liberal Arts. In addition to teaching speech courses, where students find him engaging, challenging and supportive, Ho teaches several courses for the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity. He also has taught in the Key Academic Community course clusters during the 1998-99 pilot year and is back by popular demand this year.

"As part of his teaching method, he creates a community within the classroom that is supportive of students’ learning and risk-taking," said a member of the university faculty in a nominating statement. "He uses his own life and experiences as a springboard to get students to talk about their lives, communication experiences and developing identities."

Kimberly Imdieke, graduate teaching assistant in English, recipient of a CLA Excellence in Teaching award

As a GTA teaching CO150, or college composition, Imdieke brings to her students several years of teaching experience – from elementary to high-school – and she recognizes the unique challenge of reaching students in the university-required writing course. To meet her teaching objectives, she continually revises and customizes assignments in a meticulous and thoughtful way to best help students succeed in their course work.

A student noted, "I think out of all the required classes, this one is the most profitable in the everyday world. This class teaches us something that is useful and that we, as students, should be able to do well in the future."