Published: April 27, 2018
Recipients of the 2018 BFA Excellence Awards.

The annual Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) Excellence Awards took place yesterday, April 26, at the University Memorial Center, recognizing faculty members for outstanding work and concerted effort in advancing the mission of the university and the academy at large.

The Excellence Awards are given in three categories. Excellence in Leadership and Service recognizes the importance of leadership and service as indispensable features of faculty responsibilities; Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work recognizes the importance of research, scholarly and creative work as integral parts of faculty achievements; and Excellence in Teaching and Pedagogy recognizes the importance of teaching and mentoring students as significant components of faculty duties.

This year, there also was a winner of the BFA Lifetime Leadership and Service Award, William Kaempfer.

Read excerpts below from the 2018 BFA awards book.

BFA Lifetime Leadership and Service Award

William Kaempfer, Academic Affairs

William KaempferBill Kaempfer joined the Boulder faculty as an assistant professor in 1981, and for the next 15 years he was primarily a professor of economics, serving as chair of Economics from 1995 to 1997. At that time he began what would become 20 years of leadership in campus administration, most recently, since 2013, as senior vice provost.

It is not too much to say that for many years Bill has been the principal link between the faculty and the administration at CU. No other administrator has so faithfully remained in touch with faculty life, with faculty ethos, with faculty concerns and sensibilities.

Excellence in Leadership and Service Award

Arturo Aldama, Ethnic Studies

Arturo AldamaProfessor Aldama serves as both the associate chair of the Ethnic Studies department as well as chair of the Ethnic Studies Undergraduate Committee. He joined the faculty in 2003 and is known as a highly respected scholar in Latinx studies. Among his many distinguished service and leadership activities, his nominators highlight his vital role in establishing a doctoral program in Ethnic Studies at CU Boulder, which is one of only a few in the country, as well as his work with Boulder Valley Schools in enhancing the curriculum regarding Latinx history.

His impact at CU is described as going “well beyond the norm of service” and notes, “His service especially benefits the students we most want to attract and retain at CU—those who hail from underrepresented communities and those who are dedicated to building a more just and equitable society.”

James Green, Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences

James GreenProfessor Green has had a wide range of service, including both inside and outside of CU Boulder. He was not only the Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences (APS) chair from 2004 to 2007, but he also served as the director of CASA (Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy). While leading CASA, he played a strong role in securing funding for the center and for CU Boulder’s participation in the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope project, among others.

One nominator hopes his “legacy will be remembered as the ‘golden age’ of CASA and he will be recalled as the CASA director who modeled a culture of service.”

Matthew McQueen, Integrative Physiology

Matthew McQueenProfessor McQueen has served on more than 36 ad hoc and standing committees during the 10-plus years he has been at CU Boulder. In their letters of support, his colleagues point to many areas in which his service has gone above and beyond expectations. Especially notable were his efforts in 2012 to create and support the Undergraduate Certificate in Public Health that involved establishing a steering committee of faculty across ten different units. Dr. McQueen serves as the Director of the certificate program that currently boasts 375 enrolled students.

One nominator said, “Through his cross-campus service activities, Matt McQueen has helped to promote a greater sense of campus community. His leadership efforts allow him to shape the direction and focus of various academic units on campus.”

Karen Ramirez, Miramontes Arts & Sciences Program

Karen RamirezProfessor Ramirez has worked in a number of departments and programs during her eighteen years at CU and she is currently the director of the CU Dialogues Program, senior instructor in CU Engage and interim co-director for the Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program (MASP). She has served on many committees, including co-chairing the All Students Committee as part of CU’s Foundations of Excellence initiative. She also serves on the Provost’s Faculty Communications Committee and served as BFA representative and chair of the BFA Administrative Services and Technology Committee.

Ramirez's nominators noted her work “transcends the typical categories of academia. She successfully weaves together the tripartite division of scholarship, teaching, and service.” Her work is described as having two “essential strands,” including her commitment as a teacher and her dedication to making CU more equitable and inclusive

Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work Award

Donna Goldstein, Anthropology

Donna GoldsteinProfessor Goldstein is a cultural anthropologist who has been a faculty member at CU Boulder since 1994. Her research covers race, class and poverty, and medical anthropology. Unlike many cultural anthropologists who commit a life’s work to studying a large single community, Professor Goldstein has analyzed a range of sites, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

Her award-winning book, Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown, is considered a classic text for this field. A colleague says of the book, “It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Donna’s ethnographic study” and notes that it represents a “radical rethinking” of previous thinking on the topic. She has also had significant impact on her students. Professor Goldstein was the founding director of CU’s Latin American Studies Center (2014–17). 

David Shneer, Religious Studies/History/Program in Jewish Studies

David ShneerProfessor Shneer’s research in the field of Jewish studies and Soviet history has earned him a reputation for being not only “an original, insightful scholar” but also for “almost single-handedly redefining the parameters and public face of what historical scholarship can be.”

Professor Shneer takes his research, scholarly and creative work to a high level. A colleague notes he’s someone “who is constantly opening up new areas of inquiry, challenging inherited disciplinary boundaries, and reimagining the very nature of scholarship itself. Jewish studies is a richer, more dynamic, and more creative area of inquiry because of his work.”

Katharine Suding, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Katharine SudingProfessor Suding is a faculty member of both the EBIO department and a fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). She describes herself as a “community ecologist—working at the interface of ecosystem, landscape and population ecology.” As the lead principal investigator of CU’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at Niwot Ridge, she was in charge of the renewal request for the project’s mega-grant, which was approved in 2017 for a second five-year cycle. There are only 26 LTER grants funded nationwide, so this feat places CU as among the ecology elite.

A colleague from the University of New Mexico, writes of her skills: “Her blend of fundamental research tied to pressing environmental challenges is a rare talent among today’s academic ecologists.”

Kenneth Wright, Integrative Physiology

Kenneth WrightProfessor Wright has been a member of the CU Boulder faculty since 2002. His research focuses on how everyday events (light exposure, caffeine, shift work, etc.) disrupt sleep and circadian rhythms and how these things impact our health.

A colleague from UT Austin described him as having “peerless international reputation as an innovative and inventive pioneer.” He is also known by his colleagues as having an impressive level of productivity and has published almost 90 papers since coming to CU, including publications in national journals. His impact at CU was also noted in that he is currently PI on five grants that total over $18 million in direct costs. His personal efforts have played a role in recruiting graduate, undergraduates, as well as other faculty. 

Paul Youngquist, English

Paul YoungquistProfessor Youngquist started his academic career as a scholar of English Romanticism and quickly made a name for himself by publishing books that upended traditional views on historic authors such as William Blake. He has also explored the mindsets from that time period on the role bodily deformity played in determining social norms. Professor Youngquist has examined new ways of viewing issues around race, the slave trade in the West Indies, and Black Romanticism.

A colleague praises his work, saying “Youngquist looks to these enslaved peoples’ acts of creative resistance as a means of wresting from a dehumanizing system dignity, agency, and beauty.”

Excellence in Teaching and Pedagogy Award

Nichole Barger, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Nichole BargerProfessor Barger was praised for her commitment toward advancing the teaching mission at the university. She had successfully adapted her classroom teaching methods to include evidence-based best practices for student learning, such as the development of learning goals and flipped classrooms. Not only does she apply best practices, she trains colleagues across the university and graduate students in her department on applying them.

A graduate student said, “Nichole has had one of the greatest impacts on how I teach, mentor, and do science. Taking her pedagogy seminars, and benefitting from her careful and thoughtful mentorship as I designed and taught my own courses, has transformed both how I teach and how I value teaching. These experiences … allowed me to develop skills that I know will serve me well in the future.”

Jeanne Clelland, Mathematics

Jeanne ClellandProfessor Clelland has been teaching at CU Boulder since 1998. She is internationally known for her efforts to make advanced mathematics more accessible, and enjoyable, to all levels. One former student said: “The most valuable lesson I received from Professor Clelland … involved the sheer joy of mathematics, of asking—and answering—questions nobody had asked before.”

Professor Clelland has also been instrumental in her department for facilitating major reforms to undergraduate curriculum, including a shift to active learning. A recurring theme in many of Professor Clelland’s letters of support is her passion for teaching and getting students excited about, in her words, “the beauty, simplicity, and the power of mathematics.”

Elizabeth Dutro, School of Education

Elizabeth DutroAccording to a colleague, Professor Dutro is known among her colleagues as a “master teacher.” She has won awards related to her efforts to integrate research, theory and classroom practice. She served as the program chair for Literacy Studies, is a member of on the Dean’s Advisory Committee and is on the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Professor Dutro is also known for her mentorship abilities and her efforts in the School of Education to recruit and retain students of color and first-generation students at CU.

One of her former graduate students said: “Elizabeth grounds her choices as an educator in her vision to make schools spaces where children experience literacy as personally meaningful and where they will gain access to the valued forms of literacy, all while feeling deeply loved and supported. Similarly, Elizabeth makes her own college classroom a space where she treats her own students in this same way: with high standards for scholarship but with the kind of unconditional encouragement that makes the sometimes challenging journey of being a student feel accessible and joyful.”

Andrea Feldman, Program for Writing and Rhetoric

Andrea FeldmanSince 1999, Dr. Feldman has been helping CU students not only to improve their writing skills but to see themselves as writers as well. One student states: “She pushed my perception of what a writing course could teach and ultimately spurred me to be a better writer and a better student.”

Feldman has also been PWR’s coordinator for CU’s International Student Services for four years. Mary Kraus, vice provost for undergraduate education, points out that in this capacity, Dr. Feldman plays a critical role in increasing numbers of international students at CU and in training other faculty on how to teach English as a Second Language courses.

Marcia Yonemoto, History

Marcia YonemotoA valued member of CU’s History Department since 1995, Professor Yonemoto brings together an emphasis on innovative technology, the development of effective writing tools, and a variety of creative efforts to cultivate student engagement.

Two former students state: “That she effectively designs lectures which maintain a high level of cognitive engagement among students is notable. That she further inspires a general atmosphere of positivity among students who feel motivated to attend class and perform to the best of their abilities reflects an ideal that is not often seen in the classroom. Her competency in utilizing a variety of pedagogical techniques with particular emphasis on student input and small group discussion worked brilliantly to create a classroom environment which successfully fostered active student learning and engagement.”