The Student Affairs Faculty of the Year Award recognizes a superb faculty member that demonstrates outstanding engagement with students and contributions to the Division of Student Affairs. Faculty members are often recognized for their research and academic achievements. This unique award recognizes faculty members that are committed to providing quality student services and support, promoting inclusive excellence and diversity, modeling and developing outstanding student leadership, fostering intellectual growth, and encouraging involvement in campus, local, national and global communities.
This year, Student Affairs honors faculty member Cecilia Valenzuela of the department of Ethnic Studies. Professor Valenzuela is recognized for her passion and devotion to student development, diversity and social justice both within and outside the classroom. Among her noteworthy work is her development of the CUnity program, which creates support systems between students, and her involvement in the Hallett Diversity and Spectrum program.
Cecelia’s nomination comes from Vicki Vanderwerf, Area Coordinator for Housing & Dining Services. In the words of Vicki, “When [Professor Valenzuela] hears stories of students having negative experiences at CU because of what they believe in or how they identify, she not only listens to them, but she takes action to ensure we are taking the necessary steps as a University to create a welcoming campus for all of our students that is a great place to live, work, and study.” In regards to Cecelia’s work within her classroom, Vicki said, “Professor Valenzuala is helping our students at CU go out into the world with a larger perspective of what it means to be a member of society….” Students of Professor Valenzuela also express the life-changing revelations about themselves and other cultures her classes have encouraged. Her passionate student focus, especially for first generation and underrepresented students, has helped create a more inclusive and diverse campus environment.
2012’s outstanding list of nominees included Karen Jacobs (English), Leticia Sanchez (Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program), Anca Radulescu (Mathematics), Brad Bernthal (Law School-Silison Flatirons Center), Mike Hannigan (Mechanical Engineering), Kendra Gale (Buckingham RAP), Rick Rogers (Sociology), and Serge Campeau (Behavioral Neuroscience).