Colorado State University Professor Recognized for Infectious Passion for Teaching

Matt Hickey, a professor of health and exercise science, was recognized today with the Board of Governor’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

The award recognizes professors who stimulate curiosity in students and help them develop and explore ideas while continually motivating and challenging them. The award is presented annually during Celebrate! Colorado State.

“An outstanding professor leaves indelible impressions with students that engage and empower them in the learning process throughout their lives,” said Patrick McConathy, chair of the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System. “Dr. Hickey has clearly demonstrated his ability to engage and empower his students through an individual lens on each student’s potential. I congratulate Dr. Hickey for making a genuine difference in the educational experience at CSU.”

“Dr. Hickey engages students at a high and reflective level, and his record is one of sustained performance which greatly impacts student learning,” said Nancy Hartley, interim dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences in materials nominating Hickey for the award. Hickey is a professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science within the College of Applied Human Sciences.

Hartley went on to describe Hickey as providing a variety of techniques to engage students with his infectious passion and enthusiasm for teaching.

“He maintains a lively and interactive classroom, not just lecturing students, but presenting theories, concepts and empirical material to them in a way that they can integrate into their own life experience,” Hartley said. “He strives to not only teach, but also to engage, motivate and inspire his students, fostering self-instruction, formulating questions rather than answers, and establishing high expectations.”

“Those interested in pursuing the distinguishing qualities of a great teacher need only to spend time in the presence of the single most effective professor I have ever met. Though his class was easily one of the most intellectually challenging courses of my undergraduate career, it was also the most rewarding. He regularly instills an insatiable enjoyment and excitement for learning in his students,” wrote Robert Jacobs, one of Hickey’s former students, in the nomination.

In addition to his excellence in the classroom, Hickey is sought as a mentor by undergraduate students seeking research opportunities as an extension of their learning experience. He serves as director of the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory, and regularly involves students in his own research, including chairing many honors thesis projects. He is a steering committee member for the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity symposium, an active member of the faculty advisory board for CSU’s undergraduate research journal and serves on the advisory committee for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry.

Hickey previously has been recognized with the College of Applied Human Sciences Tenure-Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, the university’s Alumni Association Best Teacher Award, and the College of Applied Human Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award.

Hickey’s research interests address human metabolism, including the impact of diet and exercise on insulin sensitivity, insulin signaling, and skeletal muscle structure and function.