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Boulder celebrates faculty achievements in teaching

First celebration of award-winners could become annual event

Noah Finkelstein, Mary Ann Shea, Diane Sieber
Photo/Caroline Seib
Mary Ann Shea, center, co-hosted the first Celebration of Teaching event at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Friday, March 12. The Faculty Teaching Excellence Program and the Office of Academic Affairs sponsored the event to celebrate faculty for their excellent teaching abilities and commitment to students. Among those attending: Noah Finkelstein, associate professor of physics education research, and Diane Sieber, associate professor of humanities (see related story).
Elspeth Dusinberre
Photo/Caroline Seib
Professor Elspeth Dusinberre, of the classics department, addresses her fellow honored faculty members at the CU Boulder Teaching Celebration on Friday, March 12. Dusinberre, who received an outstanding faculty graduate advising award, said real learning happens through communication and experience.
Alyssa Reese
Photo/Caroline Seib
Student Alyssa Reese speaks to faculty honorees about her experience as an undergraduate. She said great teachers teach passionately about their subjects in order to instill a similar kind of fire within their students.
There's no shortage of honors given to University of Colorado faculty members who excel at teaching. Occasions for those educators to gather and acknowledge one another's achievements are in far shorter supply.

To take a step toward changing that, leaders at the University of Colorado at Boulder last week hosted the first Celebration of Teaching on the campus. Mary Ann Shea, director of the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program and President's Teaching Scholars Program, and Jeffrey Cox, professor of English and humanities and associate vice chancellor for faculty affairs, say they hope it's just the first in an annual series of events.

The Friday, March 12, event at Norlin Library recognized the 110 CU-Boulder faculty members who received any sort of teaching award during the 2008-2009 academic year. Event co-host Stein Sture, interim provost, spoke, as did Alyssa Reese, a senior in studio arts and ecology and evolutionary biology, and Elspeth Dusinberre, associate professor of classics.

Of the 110 award winners, about 50 attended. "We know how difficult it is to get faculty to go to anything, so this went really well," Cox said, noting that an additional 25 to 30 faculty and students also attended. "We wanted to celebrate the people who'd won awards and remind everyone how important teaching is to the university."

— Jay Dedrick  


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