Colorado State University - Pueblo honors outstanding faculty and staff at luncheon

Colorado State University - Pueblo honors outstanding faculty and staff at luncheon

PUEBLOOutstanding faculty and staff leaders at Colorado State University – Pueblo were honored at a recognition luncheon held on Tuesday, April 16.  College Assistance Migrant Program Coordinator Victoria Obregon was recognized as the 2013 Outstanding Professional Employee, while College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) Administrative Assistant Sandy Obrin was named the Outstanding Classified Employee. Dr. Sue Pettit, professor of teacher education, earned the top faculty honor for Excellence in Teaching. The Students of Concern Team earned the Outstanding Team Award.

Also honored at the luncheon were recent retirees of the University and individuals who achieved a service milestone for employment during the past academic year from five to 35 years. A moment of silence also was observed for staff members who died within the last academic year. Barbara Denny and Linda Ford were honored by the University Retirees Association of Pueblo for their work as long-time officers of the organization.  

Outstanding Professional Staff

Three finalists for the 2013 Outstanding Professional Staff Award were selected from a pool of nominees by a campus-wide committee appointed by the President. The 2013 Outstanding Professional Staff Award was presented to Victoria Obregon, coordinator of the College Assistance Migrant Program, which provides tutoring and mentorship to students who are children of migratory or seasonal farmworkers. Obregon joined CSU-Pueblo in 2009 and serves the students of CSU-Pueblo in several areas.  She is the co-advisor for the MECha student organization, is a member of the Ballet Folklorico performance group, initiated a bilingual New Parent and Student Orientation session, and assisted in coordinating the Summer Migrant Youth Leadership conference this past summer.  She actively recruits students from all over the region to attend CSU-Pueblo under this umbrella program.

Other finalists for the Professional Employee Award were Kristyn White-Davis, undergrad academic advisor for the Hasan School of Business, and Michelle Gjerde, director of the Career Center . 

Outstanding Classified Staff

The Outstanding Classified Employees were selected from among 9 nominees by a panel of community leaders: Dave Feamster, Little Caesar’s Pizza; Phyllis Sanchez, founder & CEO, Belmont Senior Care Assisted Living Community, and Yvette Fransua assistant administrator of primary care, St. Mary Corwin Hospital.

The Outstanding Classified Employee for 2013 was presented to Sandra Obrin,  administrative assistant in CSM, for her commitment to the betterment of CSU Pueblo over the last 16 years, as well as her ability to go beyond what is expected of her. CSM Interim Dean David Lehmpuhl specifically cited her ability to communicate effectively with students, staff, faculty, and community, her use of new problem solving techniques to promote efficiency in the work place, and her continued fulfillment of goals even after undergoing a double knee replacement. Her work studies contend that she has a caring and fun attitude, going out of her way to decorate the office, as well as nurture her student employees.  She also is an outstandingly organized event planner as evidenced by her coordination of the annual Research Symposium. 

The first and second runner-up for the Outstanding Classified Employee Award were Charlatte Cesar , program assistant II in Residence Life and Housing,, and E.J. Armijo, General Labor I, Physical Plant

Students’ Choice Awards

Representatives from Associated Students’ Government, announced the recipients of the Students’ Choice Awards. ASG accepted nominations by students for a faculty and staff member they felt contributed the most to their experiences at CSU-Pueblo. Tanya Baird, interim executive assistant to the provost, earned the top staff honors, while Assistant Music Professor Dr. Zahari Metchkov was the students’ choice as the top faculty member.

Faculty Awards

Because of her leadership in online education, the difference she has made in teaching literacy methods to future teachers, her work in reforming our clinical teaching program, and the quality of teaching she exhibits in every class, Sue Pettit, associate professor of teacher education, earned the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching.  Nominators described her as an outstanding classroom teacher and thus an exceptional “teacher of teachers,” Her teaching utilizes student-centered strategies, and she integrates technology in effective and engaging ways in all her courses from the use of wikis and students’ phones to interactive white boards. Among her most recent accomplishments, she completely revised the literacy program at CSU-Pueblo utilizing an advisory group of local K-6 literacy teachers and education faculty. Since assuming responsibility for the literacy program, licensure exam scores in literacy have increased and now often exceed the average scores of the national sample. She has led a reform of the way teachers are prepared at CSU-Pueblo as part of a national movement to improve the “clinical” preparation of teachers and engagement by cooperating teaching in area districts. As a result of this honor, Pettit also will be recognized by the CSU System Board of Governors later this spring.

Two faculty members, Nancy Lucero, assistant professor, Social Work, and Neb Jaksic, professor, Engineering received Faculty Excellence Awards in Scholarship/Creative Activity.  Jaksic has high standards for scholarship among his engineering students, but practices what he preaches. In the last three years, he was awarded one patent, worked with and inspired colleagues and students in research, and published 14 refereed journal or proceedings papers on research on manufacturing processes, robotics, and engineering education. He also promotes a culture of intellectual exchange and research with colleagues in other departments. Lucero balances her teaching, advising, and service responsibilities with the pursuit of an active research agenda on designing and evaluating the implementation of trauma-informed and culturally-responsive practice models in tribal and urban Indian Child Welfare Services. The research has yielded numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, volume chapters, and national presentations. Her primary interest is identifying the role interpersonal, community, and historical trauma plays in Native caregivers’ involvement with child welfare as well as increasing the understanding of the urban American Indian experience.

The 2013 award for Faculty Excellence in Service was presented to a professor who is “focused on trying to make things better through his actions for CSU-Pueblo and the Pueblo community. Biology Professor Moussa Diawara was honored for years of service to biology department, the College of Science and Math, and more recently, the City of Pueblo and beyond. Diawara has served as chair of the Student Academic Appeals Board for several years and this year extended his expertise in appeals by becoming the first University Grievance Officer, where he facilitated mediation training for campus personnel. He has been an active member of the Pueblo African American Concern Organization for many years, served on the board of the East Side Child Care Center, and shared presentations with a wide range of groups, from the Federal Correctional Facility in Florence to high school students.

The award for Faculty Excellence in Advising/Mentoring was presented to Michael Mincic, for his leadership as an academic advisor to the students in Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management. Since 2006, he has advised the Associated General Contractors student club, building club status and membership by strengthening the officers’ knowledge of shared governance. He advises as many as 50 CET students annually and picked up advisement of 55-60 Construction Management students in 2010. Nominator Sylvester Kalavela says Mincic understands “a student’s occasional need to vent their frustrations to a sympathetic ear” as well as the “importance of building confidence and pride in the students’ achievements and downfalls.”

The following faculty members were honored as the top faculty member(s) in their respective colleges for the 2012-13 academic year:  

  • College of Engineering, Education, and Professional Studies, George Dallam, professor,  Exercise Science, Health Promotion, and Recreation
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kristen Epps, assistant professor, History
  • Hasan School of Business, Brad Gilbreath, associate professor, Human Resources
  • College of Science and Mathematics, Helen Caprioglio, associate professor/department chair, Biology
  • University Library is Beverly Allen, assistant professor, Archivist

Outstanding Team Award

The Outstanding Team Award was presented to the Students of Concern Team -- Marjorie Villani – Committee Chair, Jessica Boynton – Judicial Affairs, Lt. Bill Brown – Sheriff’s Office,

Janice De Boer- Counseling Center, Carolyn Daugherty – Health Center, and Jack Krider – Housing. Nominator Tamra Axworthy lauded the team for serving as a resource to all members of the CSU-Pueblo Community and an avenue for reporting behavior by students that may cause danger to a student, faculty, or staff member. The team created a convenient website that allows people to easily report issues. Once a student of concern is identified, the team formulates a plan and determines what action(s) may be necessary to assist the student then proceed to follow up with the student to get them the resources to help them. The team’s “commitment to students, compassion, focus on safety, and availability” makes them noteworthy. 

Six individuals received special notice for the longevity of their service to the University:  Joe Folda, Athletics, Susan Pena, Custodial Services, and Marta Wallin, Physics, for 25 years; Jim Bowman, External Affairs, and Penny Green, Sociology/Anthropology, for 30 years; and Janet Nichols, Mathematics, for 35 years.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.