Colorado State University Honors Best Teachers for 2001

Seven of Colorado State University’s top educators have been named Best Teacher award-winners for 2001 and will be honored during a ceremony on Feb. 16.

Best Teacher award-winners for 2001 and their departments are Stephanie Clemons, associate professor, Design and Merchandising; Terry Deniston, Instructor, School of Education; Johannes Gessler, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering; David Greene, associate professor, Occupational Therapy; Jill Kreutzer, associate professor, Human Development and Family Studies; Grant Reid, professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; and Wayne Viney, professor, Psychology.

The awards program, in its sixth year, is sponsored by Colorado State’s Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Connection.

Following are the Best Teachers of 2001 and excerpts from the people who nominated them.

Stephanie Clemons, associate professor, Design and Merchandising Stephanie Clemons, who began her career here in 1988 and received a doctorate in 1998 from Colorado State, is considered a master teacher who is respected and admired by students and peers alike. She is known for her pioneering use of computer-aided design in the classroom, notably in interior design; for creating a student- and learning-centered environment; for motivating students to excel and to pursue their education with vigor; and for her skills in integrating multiculturalism into the curriculum. Clemons also provides expanded educational opportunities through active programs in K-12, higher education and professional audiences, activities that earned her the President’s Commendation in 1998 from the International Interior Design Association. Other awards include the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Applied Human Sciences in 2000, the Jack E. Cermak Outstanding Adviser Award in 1995 and the Outstanding Adviser Award from her department for three consecutive years in the early 1990s. One student said, "I have not had such an enthusiastic and innovative professor through my entire college career. Stephanie truly cares about her students." Another student noted, "I cannot say enough about Stephanie Clemons, only that we design students often comment that if only we could clone her, Stephanie could instruct all of our courses."

Terry Deniston, Instructor, School of Education Terry Denison’s responsibilities and specialties include teaching undergraduate classes related to students with exceptional needs, multicultural education and instructional methods and assessment in secondary schools. In addition, she serves as faculty liaison to the Professional Development School at Centennial High School, a program that assists future teachers in connecting theory and practice. A Colorado State alumna with a doctorate in vocational education/special needs, Deniston began her tenure in the School of Education in 1993. She has worked collaboratively with local education agencies and colleagues on "Sharing the Journey," a federally sponsored self-determination project; "New Ways," a research and demonstration project funded by the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Planning Council; and currently is working on "Exceeding Expectations," a demonstration and research project funded by the Colorado Department of Education. Deniston impresses students with her knowledge, creativity, caring and zest for life. One student said, "From her, I have learned to be accepting of all individuals, regardless of their differences. The class interaction was amazing and I feel I learned more than all of my other education classes combined." Another student said, "Terry truly prepares her students to be great teachers. She has an amazing creative energy that she applies to every lecture and activity…Her classroom is a true educational community and her enthusiasm for teaching is highly contagious."

Johannes Gessler, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering When the call went out for nominations for Johannes Gessler, a slow trickle of responses eventually grew to about two dozen from three continents, spanning a time frame of 32 years from 1968 to the present. Corporate leaders, teachers, students and co-workers praised Gessler as a friend, mentor and role model who is an exemplary citizen, teacher, professional and businessman. The vice president of a company, who had Gessler for a teacher during his 1968-72 academic career here, said, "Through his commitment to teaching and his good-natured style, he has imparted his knowledge, his ethics and his professionalism to each and every student that has come into his classroom over the years. And we, individually and collectively, are all the better for this." A former Colorado State graduate student from South Africa noted, "Johannes was and still is much more than just an adviser and business colleague. When we arrived in the United States, my wife and I were strangers in America and to the American way of life. Johannes and his family took us under their wings…We are proud to count the Gesslers among our friends, and among the warmest, friendliest and best people we have ever met." Gessler, whose family holds a combined five engineering degrees from Colorado State, received bachelor and doctoral degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He joined Colorado State in 1966 and was interim dean of the College of Engineering from 1997-99. He became associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in 1991. He recently was named vice president of the Society for Senior Scholars. He teaches undergraduate courses in engineering mechanics, fluid mechanics and hydraulic engineering and graduate courses in erosion and sedimentation, river mechanics and selected topics in hydraulic engineering.

David Greene, associate professor, Occupational Therapy David Greene, who has been teaching at Colorado State since 1996, is known by students for his invigorating lectures, in-class demonstrations (he once wore high heels and ski boots to demonstrate principles of biomechanics), posting and maintaining extensive resources on the Web and "his sense of humor – even at 7:30 a.m." "Being an occupational therapist is more than just sharing knowledge, it’s doing it in an honest, caring and individualized way that will help every one of our future clients," noted a student. "David Greene is the best example of this. His knowledge is given to students in a way that excites them to share it the same way he’s shared it with us." Another student said, "He is a brilliant lecturer who always captivates his audience… he is sensitive to his students out of class as well, acting not only as our professor but as our counselor and friend." Greene, who earned his doctorate from Colorado State in 1996, previously was assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Louisiana State University Medical Center from 1994-96, where he earned his master’s in 1984. Prior to that, he was assistant professor at Colorado State from 1989-94. He also has been an occupational therapist at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, McKee Medical Center in Loveland and Orleans Parish Schools in Louisiana.

Jill Kreutzer, associate professor, Human Development and Family Studies "Jill Kreutzer has been a creative, energetic and dedicated champion for her students, her profession and for Colorado State University," said a former student who now is Kreutzer’s colleague. "The thousands of us who have been her students are better people, spouses, parents and citizens because of her influence. Awarding this honor to Jill (serves) as a means for all of us to say thank you for her example and positive influence in our lives." Noted for her dynamic, engaging class lectures, Kreutzer also is known for her strong theoretical knowledge and for her experience working with at-risk youth, families and young adults, skills that have allowed her to bring those theories to life. Kreutzer, a Colorado State alumna with bachelor and doctoral degrees in 1969 and 1991 respectively, joined the faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in 1973 and served as an adviser for Preview CSU for the College of Applied Human Sciences from 1983-87. She belongs to the Society for Adolescent Research, the Society for Research in Child Development and the National Council for Family Relations.

Grant Reid, professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Grant Reid was born in New Zealand, and received his master’s of landscape architecture from the University of California-Berkeley in 1969. For seven years, he worked with landscape architects in the San Francisco Bay area and in New Zealand as a park planner. In 1976, he returned to the United States and joined the faculty at Colorado State. "His success as a professor is exceptional in regard to his ability to develop student skills through timely, effective feedback; to create a community of learning; and to prepare students for their careers in the industry," said a nominator. A student noted Reid’s professional approach to teaching is reflected in the positive and supportive classroom environment, his meticulous and well-prepared classroom material, his motivation of students and encouragement of questions and debate, his ready accessibility to students and his field work as a landscape architect and the value of that experience as it applies to his teaching. Reid’s awards include the National Association of Teachers in Agriculture award for excellence in teaching in 1987 and the Jack E. Cermak Advising award in 1996. Since 1978, he has operated his own landscape architectural consulting business called Grant Reid Designs, which specializes in garden design. His designs have received six Excellence in Landscape awards from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. In 2001, ALCC selected him for the Bob Cannon award for contributions to the landscape industry in Colorado.

Wayne Viney, professor, Psychology Wayne Viney’s passion and depth of knowledge about psychology are matched only by his desire to help students learn. "Dr. Viney is an exceptional professor who surrounds his students with endless amounts of knowledge, humor and care," said a student. "While in his class, I was able to see a ‘master lecturer’ at his best who combined learning with fun and excitement." A former graduate student noted that, in addition to teaching, Viney’s research, advising and service are exemplary and inspiring. "He continues to publish consistently across a broad range of areas including issues in university teaching, human and animal learning, philosophical issues in psychology and history of psychology; even his publications are teaching tools that are developed with and for students." Viney first came to the university in 1966 as an assistant professor. He was chairman of the Department of Psychology from 1967-73 and associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences from 1973-76, and was visiting professor at various times at the University of Hawaii and the University of Colorado-Boulder. Honors include excellence in teaching awards from the college and department, the Pennock University Distinguished Service Award, the Outstanding Professor award from Mortar Board and the Eddy Teacher award. He will be president of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association in April. "His vita shines with examples of service at national, regional and local levels, and he teaches community and disciplinary service not with words but by example." Viney received master’s and doctoral degrees in general-experimental psychology from the University of Oklahoma-Norman in 1960 and 1964, respectively.