Colorado State University System Board of Governors recognizes Patricia A. Ryan for excellence in teaching

Note to Reporters: A photo of Patricia Ryan is available with this release at

Patricia A. Ryan, a longtime professor in the Department of Finance and Real Estate in the Colorado State University College of Business known for her innovative teaching methods, has been honored by the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System with the annual Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Ryan, who received the award at the annual Celebrate! Colorado State event on May 7, is known for the “case method” of instruction, emphasizing participant-centered learning to solve real-life challenges in her capstone class. Rather than have students simply present their analyses, Ryan will have one team present a case analysis while two other teams and the rest of the class watch and compare notes. Then, much like in the business world, she will have the other teams respond with a more specific discussion of what they did differently and why, as Ryan asks in-depth questions of each student.

“This different kind of teaching method requires a different kind of teacher,” according to Sanjay Ramchander, chair of the department of Finance and Real Estate, who nominated Ryan. “Thanks to her reputation as an outstanding instructor in the department, there has been a steady increase in student demand for her classes, requiring me to now introduce an additional section of the capstone class in Fall 2013.”

Ryan’s teaching method is particularly effective because she writes many of her own business cases. She has also written and published several case studies and conducted research addressing various aspects of corporate finance

“Dr. Ryan exemplifies the caliber of faculty who are part of Colorado State,” said Dorothy Horrell, chair of the Colorado State University System Board of Governor. “Educators of her experience and creativity play a vital role in motivating and inspiring students, who in turn play a vital role in moving the state of Colorado forward .”

Glowing student evaluations

Students frequently report her class to be one of their most rewarding undergraduate experiences at CSU.

“Every semester, without exception, when I walk into my classroom a few minutes before class, I can overhear students talking about how great Professor Patricia Ryan is at teaching, mentoring, advising and supporting their course learning and career choices,” said Margarita Lenk, associate professor of accounting and computer information systems, and herself the 2009 Board of Governors Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. “I smile deeply, and feel honored to have her as a colleague who cares so much about student development.”

Glowing student evaluations, however, only tell part of the story. Ryan is known as a cooperative colleague who is generous in sharing her time and expertise. She is also the department’s seminar coordinator, and organizes a wide variety of speakers and topics for students and faculty development.

Ryan has a long history of teaching achievements. In recognition of her excellence and rigor in the classroom, she received the College of Business Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. And while the focus of the Board of Governors award is undergraduate teaching, Ryan also receives rave reviews for the courses she teaches in CSU’s Denver Executive MBA program, where she translates the experiences of the executive classroom immediately back to the senior level undergraduate capstone classroom.

As further testimony to her building a national reputation for instructional excellence, Ryan has been invited to teach at Harvard University – the birthplace of the case study method – during Summer 2013.