Colorado State University’s Top Educators Honored with Best Teacher Awards

Note to Editors: Print quality photos of the 2006 Best Teachers are available for download at The photos are posted with the text of this release.

Out of hundreds of professors nominated by Colorado State University students, faculty, staff and alumni, six were selected to receive this year’s Best Teacher awards.

     The 2006 winners are Whitney Cranshaw, bioagricultural sciences and pest management; Nathalie Kees, School of Education; Deanna Ludwin, English; Marvin Paule, biochemistry and molecular biology; Dimitris Stevis, political science; and Don Zimmerman, journalism and technical communication.

     These professors will be honored at the 2006 Best Teacher Awards Dinner on Friday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Tickets are $5 for students and $20 for non-students. Reservations are due by April 17. Call 491-6533 for more information or to RSVP.

     Student Alumni Connection, the student branch of Colorado State’s Alumni Association, sponsors the award program.

Whitney Cranshaw, Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management

     Whitney Cranshaw is involved in extension, research and teaching at Colorado State and holds responsibility for developing applied pest management programs for insect pests of horticultural crops in Colorado. He is a published author and has won several awards including being named the Green Industries of Colorado Person of the Year and the Most Valuable Professional for the Colorado Association of Lawn Care Professionals.

Cranshaw was overwhelmingly nominated for Best Teacher by students in his Insects, Science and Society class. Many of them experience a new appreciation and interest for entomology after experiencing bugs Cranshaw’s way.

"Through his love of arthropods, he has decreased my fear of bugs," a student said. "He is a true educator. I visited him during non-office hours and he dropped everything he was doing to help me understand the subject. His passion for insects is inspiring."

"Every day I looked forward to going to his class," another student said. "Whitney Cranshaw is one of the few professors I have had at Colorado State that radiates passion for his work."

Nathalie Kees, School of Education

     Nathalie Kees is an associate professor in the School of Education who truly cares about her students. She charismatically teaches counseling, which draws students to her classroom where they are challenged and encouraged. Kees creates an environment where students can take risks in their skill development while remaining open to feedback. In 1999, Kees was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by her colleagues.

     "Students refer to her as master teacher because she is an excellent model of walking the walk," said Jean Lehmann, interim director of the School of Education. "Nathalie is important to our students because of her enthusiasm and effectiveness, her depth and breadth in teaching and learning, her open-mindedness and her ability for sharing and flawlessly creating an atmosphere of safety and relaxation."

     "Nathalie is truly compassionate about not just teaching counseling, but ensuring every student is equipped to apply the skill she models in class," a student noted. "She structures each class eloquently, tricking the students into thinking the class can’t be over at the end."

Deanna Ludwin, English

     Deanna Ludwin is an internship coordinator and senior instructor in the English department. She teaches undergraduate creative writing courses and coordinates internships for English majors, minors and graduate students. Her responsibilities also include directing the beginning creative writing teaching program and mentoring the MFA students who teach it.

     Many of Ludwin’s students and former students view her not only as a teacher but also as a mentor and friend.

     "Deanna is important to me because she is more than a teacher, she is a scholar and artist, one whose open and encouraging demeanor cannot help but bring out the best in every individual in her classroom," said an alumnus. "Deanna teaches to everyone and meets students where they are, and it is at that time that the true growth process begins."

     "She took the time to get to know each of us as individuals, which made it possible for us to confront our weaknesses and develop our strengths," an alumna said.

Ludwin is a published poet and fiction writer whose work has received honors in several contests, including the Diner 2002 poetry contest and the World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest.

Marvin Paule, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

     Marvin Paule is chairman and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In addition to teaching biochemistry and molecular genetics courses, Paule also runs a research lab. He teaches a difficult subject well, taking time to explain his lectures beyond what is listed on power-point slides.

     "I was fortunate to train under Dr. Paule, not only because of his years of experience, but because of his excellent abilities as a writer, teacher and presenter," said a student, who is working on her graduate degree in Paule’s laboratory.

     "He is the best teacher I’ve ever had in the classroom and the lab. Throughout his career, he has always valued students and made a point to put us first," she continued. "I want him to know the impact he has had on me over the last five years and on the countless other students who have had the privilege to train under him and be taught by him."

Dimitris Stevis, Political Science

     Dimitris Stevis is a political science professor interested in the fields of international political economy and policy, international environmental and labor politics and policy. His curriculum appeals to students from many cultural backgrounds, making his lectures personally meaningful to a diverse group of students. Stevis’ teaching methods also influence student’s enjoyment of his classes.

     "He facilitates classroom instruction in a way that helps students gain an understanding of both the political and social communities in which they reside," a staff member and student said. "Students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to develop a philosophy about their sense of personal agency in the political economy."

     "Dr. Stevis is a difficult professor, but he is also extremely fair, and you always come out of his class learning something useful and with new skills that you can take with you wherever you go," an alumna said. "Overall, he made me a better student, and I am forever indebted to him for all that he instilled in me."

Don Zimmerman, Journalism and Technical Communication

     Don Zimmerman, a professor in the journalism and technical communication program, is a well-respected member of the technical communication field. In addition to teaching, Zimmerman advises graduate students, tirelessly working to help them get ahead in their careers. He is a great source of encouragement to all his students and inspires them to believe that they can successfully complete a challenging master’s program.

     "Don works hard to provide research and teaching assistantships, to welcome new recruits and to stay connected to alumni," said an alumna. "I see Don as the central figure in our professional network today. No professor has to go that far to support his students, but Don always has."

     Zimmerman is so well known and respected in the Front Range area that students who graduate with his influence on their education often have an advantage.

     "During my interview for my first job after finishing graduate classes in the technical journalism department, the hiring manager’s most important question to me was, ‘Have you taken Don Zimmerman’s information design class?’ " an alumna said. "I had. I got the job."