Best Teachers Represent Colorado State University’s Top Educators

Six professors have been selected from a pool of hundreds of nominations submitted by Colorado State University students, faculty, staff and alumni for this year’s Best Teacher awards.

The 2005 winners are Rich Feller, School of Education; Jenny Goodman, English; Shelley Haddock, Human Development and Family Studies; Naz Karim, Chemical Engineering; Ross McConnell, Computer Science; and Vince Murphy, Chemical Engineering.

The winners will be honored at the 2005 Best Teacher Awards Dinner  Feb. 18 in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.  

The award program is sponsored by the Student Alumni Connection, the student branch of Colorado State’s Alumni Association. A list of past recipients is on the Web at

Rich Feller, School of Education

     Rich Feller, a Colorado State alumnus, is a nationally recognized professor of counseling and career development in the School of Education. He was designated a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2003 and this year received the College of Applied Human Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award.

A member of the university since 1980, Feller has shown his passion in counseling and career development through his innovative Career Development Institutes and through his teamwork with the American Guidance Service to produce the video series, "Tour of Your Tomorrow," used by thousands of schools throughout the world.

     A former doctoral student advisee noted, "Dr. Feller’s teaching scholarship, exemplary professionalism and dedication to serving others has been pivotal in my life and much more importantly, in the lives of countless others." A colleague said that Feller is often ranked as one of the best professors in the School of Education. "Our students benefit greatly from his energy, expertise, honesty and ongoing contributions to the field of career development."

Jenny Goodman, English

Jenny Goodman, assistant professor in the Department of English, teaches courses in American literature and culture, particularly of the 20th century, and specializes in poetry and women’s writing. Other teaching interests include literary and rhetorical theory as well as literature and documentary. This year, she also received a College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award.

"Because Dr. Goodman taught a diverse multicultural curriculum, she has established herself as a very progressive intellectual who is dedicated to teaching about issues that are so important in our local community and in our world today," a former student said. "In addition, she exudes an infectious and unparalleled enthusiasm that made her challenging course a pleasure."

     Another student noted, "There is never a day without enthusiasm, challenge, support, immense feedback on assignments and an overall greatness. She embraces one-on-one interaction with every student she encounters and is constantly challenging each individual so that they may achieve their highest potential."

Goodman has new essays forthcoming on the poetry and poetics of Muriel Rukeyser and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Shelley Haddock, Human Development and Family Studies

     Shelley Haddock, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, is director of the Center for Family and Couple Therapy. She is known for her devotion to the improvement and quality of graduate classes and for creating a safe environment for students to discuss issues and concerns, whether in or out of the classroom. She also teaches undergraduate capstone Senior Seminar classes.

     A doctoral student said, "Dr. Haddock is guided by a sense of justice, fairness and kindness. From this vantage point, she creates a cooperation of sincere and attentive inquirers and thinkers among her students. She is an exceptional teacher because she provokes learners to be good people and projects a legacy of sensitivity, scholarly thought and critical application of knowledge in a variety of fields."

Haddock, whose tenure at the university began in 1997, received master’s and doctoral degrees from Colorado State.

Naz Karim, Chemical Engineering

     Throughout his career at Colorado State, Naz Karim was a staunch advocate for developing the most effective curricula for students, for helping students find employment opportunities and for helping to advance the university as one of the top research and teaching institutions in the country.    

     "Naz has been a cornerstone of the chemical engineering department at CSU," an alumnus said. "He has always been interested in getting the students involved starting in their freshmen year, even though they wouldn’t encounter him until their junior or senior year. He has always bee a professor that makes himself available to the students to help them succeed with their goals in and out of the classroom."

     Karim, who is retired from Colorado State, actively supported the Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He also helped establish a clinic in Bangladesh, and he has continued to support the clinic over the past 20 years.   

Ross McConnell, Computer Science

     Ross McConnell, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the computer science and mathematics departments, is known for his innovative teaching methods, intellectual curiosity and engaging students to think creatively. McConnell brings to the classroom an expertise in graph theory and algorithms, and he creates a supportive atmosphere for students to learn. His use of current research to explore various academic topics and exercises is appreciated by many students.  

     "He has a unique ability to bring the best out of everyone," said a student in computer science. "He makes learning complex issues fun. In my opinion, he is the best when it comes to making students think on their own."

     "He would mesmerize you with the most interesting puzzles and get your brain wheels working," another student noted. "Above all, he is non-judgmental and creates an environment for healthy learning."

Vince Murphy, Chemical Engineering

     Vince Murphy, a member of the chemical engineering faculty since 1977, is dedicated to providing students with the best education possible, whether in the classroom or helping to organize activities, events and service clubs outside the university, including the Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

     A student said that, in his long tenure in the department, Murphy has earned the respect of his fellow professors as well as the respect and admiration of the student body. "He gives students 100 percent of himself, be it in the form of teaching, advising or mentoring."

     "Dr. Murphy has a relentless dedication to undergraduates," another student noted. "He prepares for classes meticulously and can answer most any technical question on the spot. His classes are tough but fair."

Murphy’s research activities include fundamental and applied studies in biochemical and environmental engineering. He serves as director of the department’s National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Bioprocess Engineering, among other organizations.