Outstanding faculty recognized at Celebrate! Colorado State Awards

Note to Reporters: Photos are available with the news release at news.colostate.edu.

New University Distinguished Professors, Teaching Scholars, Monfort Professors named

FORT COLLINS – Each year, Colorado State University celebrates the teaching, research and service achievements of CSU students, alumni and friends, academic faculty, administrative professionals and classified staff. The awards for 2013-14 were announced at the Celebrate! Colorado State Awards reception April 29.

University Distinguished Professors

The highest academic recognition awarded by the University, the title of University Distinguished Professor is bestowed upon a very small number of full professors at any one time on the basis of outstanding scholarship and achievement. Professors receiving this title hold the distinction for the duration of their association with Colorado State University.

V. “Chandra” Chandrasekar, a professor in CSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has made pioneering contributions in the area of polarimetric radar observations of the atmosphere and urban observation networks. He has extensive experience in radar system design, radar network development, digital signal processing design, as well as radio frequency communication systems.

Chandra’s career story is a great source of pride for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He earned both his master’s degree and doctorate degree from Colorado State University and has achieved an international reputation of high distinction through his research, educational and outreach contributions.

Chandra is the CSU principal investigator and research director of the National Science Foundation Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere – or CASA- which is developing a network of radar systems that detect and report tornados and other severe weather earlier than other systems.

Sonia Kreidenweis, a professor in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, has made pioneering contributions to the understanding of properties and effects of atmospheric aerosol particles, including their impacts on visibility and climate and their influence on the formation and properties of both warm (liquid) and cold (ice) clouds.

She and her research group have developed new scientific approaches to carefully measure and describe the properties of atmospheric aerosol particles, considered the key to improving climate predictions and calculating the effects of pollution on global precipitation. Her group’s research has led to a greater understanding of atmospheric aerosols and their impact on clouds.

Kreidenweis is widely recognized as an international leader in the fields of aerosol science, atmospheric chemistry, and cloud physics. Her outstanding research and scientific leadership are evident in her receipt of several national awards and her selection as a Fellow in two prestigious societies in her field. She has received acclaim for her outstanding teaching at CSU and actively collaborates on research efforts outside the Department of Atmospheric Science.

Carmen Menoni, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is an internationally recognized researcher in optics, a leader in the engineering profession and a role model for women in engineering and science.

She has established strong research programs in semiconductor physics, optical materials science and engineering and nanoscale imaging and has led the use of bright beams of extreme ultraviolet laser light that are used to demonstrate novel, nanoscale table-top microscopies.

Her election as a Fellow of several societies in her field is evidence of the impact of her achievements. She also has held several leadership positions within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE.)

Her innovative research has received national and international recognition, including an R&D 100 Award, widely recognized as the “Oscars of Innovation,” for leading a team that developed a compact extreme ultraviolet light-based microscope. Menoni also was the first woman to reach the rank of tenured professor in the 100+ years of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CSU.

“University Distinguished Professor is the highest honor accorded to our faculty at Colorado State, and it is reserved for those who have had a truly transformational impact within their fields of study,” said Colorado State President Tony Frank. “Drs. Kreidenweis, Menoni and Chandrasekar have made extraordinary contributions within their disciplines while also elevating the research quality and reputation of our University overall. Their influence as educators and scholars is monumental, their research is internationally respected, and we are delighted to honor their achievements with the title of University Distinguished Professor.”

University Distinguished Teaching Scholars

The title of University Distinguished Teaching Scholar (UDTS) recognizes outstanding faculty who have excelled as teachers and educators. Those designated as UDTSs at Colorado State University retain this title for the duration of their association with the institution. Only 12 people may hold the title at any one time, exclusive of any retired faculty members holding the title of Distinguished Teaching Scholar Emeritus.

Stephanie Clemons, a professor of interior design in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University, is nationally known for her contributions to interior design education, especially in the area of curriculum design for K-12 students.

“Stephanie Clemons has been recognized as a caring teacher, advisor and mentor of interior design students since early in her career at CSU,” College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin said. “Her passion for instructing students and constant pursuit of innovative methods in teaching and learning make her an outstanding choice for the prestigious University Distinguished Teaching Scholar distinction.”

Improving teaching and her students’ learning have been a key focus of her scholarship. Students’ comments and course evaluations have been very positive throughout the years, and she has received numerous teaching awards.
Clemons joined the faculty of the Department of Design and Merchandising in 1988. 

John Moore has been selected as a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar by Colorado State University – recognizing him as one of the most outstanding teachers in his discipline.

Moore is head of CSU’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and director of CSU’s renowned Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. Moore’s leadership as the director of NREL has been transformative, and his intellectual advances in the field of soil ecology are routinely published in leading scientific journals.

Moore’s impact on students is felt far beyond the walls of the university. He has touched the lives of thousands of students through his efforts in K-12 education, his initiatives to develop programs to enhance ecology, science and math teaching, and his projects to increase minority participation in environmental sciences. He has been a leader in securing multiple grants to create new outreach and education opportunities for underserved populations across many communities in Colorado.

“Those selected as University Distinguished Teaching Scholars are master educators who have a special responsibility for guiding the work and focus of The Institute for Learning and Teaching at CSU,” Frank said. “Drs. Clemons and Moore are both widely recognized by their students and peers for their exceptional influence in the classroom and beyond. We are grateful for their dedication to the student learning experience and proud to induct them into the ranks of our Distinguished Teaching Scholars.”

Scholarship Impact Award

The University’s highest award for accomplishment in research, the Scholarship Impact Award recognizes faculty whose scholarship has had a major impact nationally and/or internationally.

Richard “Rick” Finke, professor of chemistry, is an expert in chemical catalysis, kinetics and mechanism and organometallic, inorganic, bio-inorganic and materials chemistries. He has worked in eight areas of chemical science over his career and supervised more than 100 students and postdocs. He has published 218 articles to date, and has been invited to lecture at outside venues nearly 200 times.

One of his most notable discoveries is what is now known as the Finke-Watzky mechanism.

Particle formation and crystallization are a crucial occurrence in our daily lives and play a role in everything from the formation of rain and snow to the protein aggregate involved in neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Finke has defined the most broadly applicable, most fundamental mechanism of nucleation and growth of such particles: the Finke-Watzky mechanism of slow, continuous nucleation and autocatalytic surface growth.

“The Scholarship Impact Award is Colorado State’s most prestigious research award and is given to a faculty member whose research has had a tremendous impact in their field,” said CSU Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda. “Dr. Rick Finke’s impressive body of research in chemistry over his career, including the development of the Finke-Watzky mechanism, exemplifies exactly the type and level of accomplishment and impact that we strive to honor. We are proud to have him as a member of our faculty.”

Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

The Board of Governors Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award recognizes one faculty member from each of the institutions in the Colorado State University System for excellence in undergraduate teaching; awarded by the Board of Governors.

James Pritchett, professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is known for his motivational teaching style and ability to inspire students to learn challenging material. Pritchett is lauded by current students and alumni for his ability to teach complex information and apply it to solving global problems.

In 2009, Pritchett led the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics to become the first program in the country to offer a distance degree program in agricultural business management. He helped advise the first students, identify classes to be developed online and develop innovative ways to translate traditional teaching methods into distance education.

One student notes, “Dr. Pritchett is someone who displays all the qualities of a distinguished professor and exemplifies an incredible amount of knowledge, integrity, passion and focus on excellence when teaching as well as outside the classroom at all times. He is truly one of the most influential and effective professors I have ever had, and I can think of none more deserving of an award for excellence.”

“Quality instruction of undergraduates is among the most important missions of the University and we are fortunate to have the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching to recognize faculty members who are outstanding in this area,” said Miranda. “Dr. Pritchett’s teaching style inspires students to dive into challenging material and use that instruction toward addressing global challenges.”

Monfort Professors

Established by the Monfort Family Foundation, this program enables Colorado State to recruit and retain top-quality faculty. These competitively selected, two-year appointments recognize and provide support for innovative teaching and research activities.

Shane Hentges, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, joined the department in 2007 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences and the field of neuroscience. Her research is focused on understanding the underlying neural causes of obesity and anorexia, and the development of tolerance to opiates used in pain management.

While still a junior faculty member, Hentges has procured several million dollars in National Institutes of Health grant support for her research, and is publishing her work in top-tier neuroscience journals, receiving national and international recognition.

In addition to developing a world-class research program, she is a gifted, dedicated and highly sought-after teacher and mentor.

Kelly Martin, an associate professor in the Department of Marketing, joined the College of Business faculty in 2007. In 2012, she published groundbreaking research evaluating how poverty and consumption inadequacy can influence personal well-being; that same year she received the Emerging Scholar Award for Early Career Research Contributions from the American Marketing Association. Her unique research focuses on some of the world’s most vulnerable consumers, addressing ethical questions of importance to both corporate and public policy.

In addition to her outstanding research, Martin has become one of the most outstanding teachers in the College, where she was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. She teaches the quantitative methods course in the Global Sustainable and Social Enterprise MBA program, providing students the tools they need for their work in the poorest parts of the world. Martin also mentors GSSE student venture teams, and has facilitated a Business Ethics Boot Camp for incoming freshmen to the College.

“The Monfort Professorships support excellence in teaching and research and allow us to invest in our most promising faculty at a critical point in their careers,” Frank added. “Drs. Martin and Hentges are both exceptional scholars who are pursuing important, innovative ideas through their scholarship and research, and our goal through these professorships is to help them reach the next stage of excellence in their work. We are deeply grateful to the Monfort Family Foundation for providing the funds to make this possible.”