Colorado State University will announce the 2010 Best Teacher Award recipients during a reception at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
The Colorado State University Alumni Association and its affiliate student group, the Student Alumni Connection, recognize outstanding Colorado State University educators each year with Best Teacher Awards.
“The Best Teacher Awards program provides a unique opportunity for students to express their appreciation for those who have positively impacted their academic and personal lives,” said Rebecca Lang, Student Alumni Connection past president.
Six teachers are being honored this year including Jolyon T. “JT” Hughes, Siu Au Lee, Gideon Markman, Nathan “Cory” Seymour, Barbara Thiem and Melissa Wdowik.
Jolyon T. “JT” Hughes
Jolyon Hughes is an assistant professor of German in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts. Hughes teaches German language through the advanced, undergraduate level. His areas of interest encompass all areas of German medieval literature as well as the history of language. He also coordinates “Stammtisch,” a German film series, and is the graduate teaching coordinator for German teaching assistants.
“I had never, until JT’s class, met a teacher with such a passion or excitement for their subject, or for teaching,” said Kaysha Riggs, a student of Hughes. “He excites his students through prodding them with questions they are forced to think about, not just absorb and scribble back on a test.”
Siu Au Lee
Siu Au Lee is a professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Natural Sciences. Lee’s research interests include laser manipulation of atoms for atom interferometry and nano-lithography and precision laser tests of fundamental theories. She is the principal investigator of a program that received a $1.1 million gift from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The gift supports a quantum computer-oriented research program that holds the potential to develop a key step that could make possible the development of a large-scale quantum computer.
“It is common to see a professor who is a great scientist, who has an incredible deep understanding of a subject, struggle when it comes to communicate that knowledge in the classroom,” said Federico Furch, one of Lee’s students. "Professor Siu Au Lee has the ability to transmit her incredibly broad knowledge to the classroom without any problems. Also, when she is asked a question, she always finds a very transparent way to answer."
Gideon Markman is an associate professor in the Department of Management in the College of Business. Markman taught at the University of Georgia and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before coming to Colorado State University. As a consultant and management coach, he has worked with diverse enterprises such as Deutsche Telekom, BoschSiemens, ChoicePoint, Worldspan, Mary Kay Cosmetics and scores of family businesses and young startups. His pioneering concepts such as "factor-market rivalry," "non-market hostility," "organic coalitions" and "cascading effects" are changing how firms compete. As a management speaker, Markman addresses diverse audiences including top executives, boards, managing directors, top management teams, venture capitalists, angel investors, technologists, futurists and other business leaders. He also advises on public policy matters related to industrial competitiveness, innovation, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship. Markman is a 2009 Dean’s Scholar for the College of Business.
“Professor Markman is important to me because of the experience, unique way of thinking, and genuine attitude he has portrayed,” said Klint Reiber, a student of Markman. “He has changed the way I think about business, flipping it upside down. My mind has never been stretched like this before.”
Nathan “Cory” Seymour
Nathan “Cory” Seymour is a professor of Stage Management and Stagecraft in the Division of Dance and Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts. After world tours as an electrician with Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, Seymour worked in New York from 1990 to 1999 on several major Broadway shows as an electrician and props crew head, including “The Who’s Tommy,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Barrymore,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Titanic” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Seymour was prop shop foreman with the Denver Center of Performing Arts from 1999 until he joined CSU’s theatre faculty as shop foreman in 2003. Seymour is now technical director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, instructs design fundamentals, stage management, production management and technical theatre, and has been involved in major theatre productions, and many dance and opera productions.
“My favorite part about being in his stage management class was that Mr. Seymour ‘walked the walk and talked the talk’,” said Christina Fontana, one of Seymour’s students. “He taught us leadership by being a leader in class discussions, he taught us organization by his detailed structure of the class, and he taught us the important of balancing patience, guidance and delegating when stage managing a production, by doing so in the classroom.”
Barbara Thiem is a special assistant professor of cello and chamber music and an artist-in-residence in the Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts. Thiem is an internationally acclaimed cellist who combines teaching cello and coaching chamber music with her active schedule of performances in Europe and the United States, playing recitals, solo with orchestra and chamber music. She is a member of the Mendelssohn Trio and in the summers administers the International Summer Academy of Schloss Ort, Austria. She has recorded for many radio stations and has produced several recordings. She has published the translation of Gerhard Mantel’s Cello Technique as well as a number of articles on good postural and practicing habits which appeared in the ASTA and Suzuki Journals. She has also been involved in research as part of the Center for Biomedical Research in Music Therapy at CSU.
“Barbara Thiem is a very talented cellist and amazing at teaching students how to be great cellists as well,” said A.J. Bush, a student of Thiem. “I enjoy the way she challenges us to be the best we can be and pushes us to reach for our goals. She is also very encouraging and inspiring. She gives us so many different learning opportunities such as studying with other cellists and getting to play in special ensembles.”
Melissa Wdowik is a research associate and lecturer as well as the director of the CSU Nutrition Center in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition in the College of Applied Human Sciences. Wdowik’s research interests include community nutrition programming; outreach for low income and under-served populations; prevention and management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; strategies for weight loss and behavior change; and evidence-based educational practices in service learning. She has an extensive background in nutrition counseling and behavior change, including experience with weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, worksite wellness, eating disorders and sports nutrition, and has published a guidebook for college students with diabetes. Opened in 2008 by Wdowik, the Nutrition Center promotes scholarship in nutrition teaching, training and research while providing nutrition outreach to the Larimer County community.
“Professor Wdowik provides a teaching environment that allows the student to learn outside the box,” said Kelly Keith, one of Wdowik’s students. “She is able to draw upon her past experiences in the nutrition field and provide credible insight to counseling situations. I believe that the experiences Professor Wdowik provided me have prepared me for my career in dietetics.”
The teachers are nominated by students and alumni and are selected by a committee comprised of members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and Student Alumni Connection Leadership Council.