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Awards / Honors

2011 Best Teacher Award winners

March 28, 2011

CSU's Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Connection are proud to announce the 2011 Best Teacher Award recipients.

Best of the best

The 2011 Best Teacher Award recipients are Katherine Browne, Debbie Crans, Catherine DiCesare, Greg Dickinson, Jennifer Krafchick, and Subhas Karan Venayagamoorthy.

The six teachers were selected from just under 300 nominations.

This year’s Best Teachers will be honored at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.

Best Teacher biographies

Katherine Browne,  Ph.D., professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts.
B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Southern Methodist University.

Professor Browne’s research is inspired by an effort to understand how economic life, moral frameworks, and social identities intersect, particularly in situations of cultural stress and change. These concerns and an interest in public outreach have animated all of Dr. Browne’s major research projects, books, articles, and films, projects that have been supported by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation.

After Hurricane Katrina, the site of Dr. Browne’s research shifted from the French Caribbean to New Orleans where she has studied the adaptations and recovery efforts of an African American kin network. The 155 relatives who evacuated together became the focus of her two-year collaboration with Emmy-winning filmmaker Ginny Martin. Together, they documented the first two years of post-Katrina life for family members and released a documentary film, Still Waiting: Life After Katrina,(2007) that aired on PBS stations nationwide.

Dr. Browne’s research with the kin group continued through Fall 2010 and is the basis for her next book, Black Kin and Belonging on the Bayou: Culture, Katrina, Recovery. Browne has published two books, Creole Economics: Caribbean Cunning Under the French Flag (2004), and Economics and Morality: Anthropological Approaches (2009). Her newest film explores Afro-Creole women entrepreneurs in Martinique: Lifting the Weight of History (2010) (released in a two-DVD set in both French and English-subtitled versions). In March 2011, she was elected president of the Society for Economic Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

Debbie Crans, Ph.D., professor, Department of Chemistry,  College of Natural Sciences.
B.S. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; Ph.D. Harvard University.

Professor Crans has been teaching at CSU since 1987. Her research areas include biological, bioinorganic, and bioorganic chemistries. Her interest is in the fundamental chemistry and biochemistry of vanadium and other transition metal ions as fueled by their applications as metals in medicine and their mechanisms of toxicity.

Among other awards received, in 2009 she was made a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (the first and only person in Colorado); in 2005 she received the CSU Undergraduate Teaching, Research, and Mentoring Award; and in 2004 she was given the first Vanadis Award, which is presented to a research in the area of vanadium science on the basis of innovative research contributions.

She has professional appointments to the Gordon Research Conference Chair of Metals in Medicine and the editorial boards of Inorganic Chemistry, J. Biological Inorganic Chemistry, and New Journal of Chemistry.

Catherine DiCesare, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Art, College of Liberal Arts.
M.A. Syracuse University, Florence, Italy and Syracuse, N.Y.; Ph.D. University of New Mexico.

Professor DiCesare's specialty is Pre-Columbian art history. Her research focuses on sacred images and ritual practices among the Aztecs of central Mexico before and after the conquest. Dr. DiCesare also teaches a variety of classes on western European art, including the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, and periodically takes students to study early Italian Renaissance art on-site for the department's summer study abroad program in Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany.

In 2009, she published Sweeping the Way: Divine Transformation in the Aztec Festival of Ochpaniztli. This study investigated colonial manuscript illustrations of a Pre-Columbian festival known as Ochpaniztli and addresses particularly the many ways in which Christian friars and native Mexicans together tried to represent and understand outlawed ritual practices and images of sacred beings. Her present research continues to focus on Aztec ritual imagery.

Greg Dickinson, Ph.D., associate professor, director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication Studies,  College of Liberal Arts.
B.A. Walla Walla University; M.A. University of California, Davis; Ph.D. University of Southern California.

Professor Dickinson’s research concerns the intersections of rhetoric, place, memory, everyday life, consumer culture, and suburbia. He investigates local, built spaces as a way of understanding everyday practices and to build theory about the materiality and spatiality of rhetoric.

His essays have appeared in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Southern Journal of Communication, and Western Journal of Communication.

Along with Brian Ott and Carole Blair, Prof. Dickinson is editor of Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials.

Dr. Dickinson received the Excellence in Teaching, Mu Sigma Chapter, Lambda Pi Eta in 2009; in 2007 (along with his co-authors Brian L. Ott and Eric Aoki), he won the NCA Visual Communication Division Excellence in Scholarship Award; and in 2005, received the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award.

Jennifer Krafchick, Ph.D. (M.S. ’03, Ph.D. ’07), adjunct assistant professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University Honors Program; College of Applied Human Sciences.
B.S. Drexel University; M.S. and Ph.D. Colorado State University.

Dr. Jen Krafchick currently serves as director of the Campus Corps mentoring program and assistant director of the Center for Couple and Family Therapy. Dr. Krafchick earned her Ph.D. in education and human resource studies with an emphasis in social justice education, her master’s degree in human development and family studies with a specialization in marriage and family therapy, and a graduate certificate in women's studies from CSU. She teaches and conducts research on issues related to mentoring, sexuality, gender, families, and diversity.

Dr. Krafchick is a passionate educator and was recognized with the 2010 Honors Professor of the Year award. She also has served as assistant director at Women’s Programs & Studies coordinating the CSU Victim Assistance Team (VAT) and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Krafchick has operated a private practice as an individual, couple, and family therapist, and has worked as a victims’ advocate with a domestic violence agency.

Subhas Karan Venayagamoorthy,  Ph.D., assistant professor and Borland Chair of Hydraulics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering.
BscEng University of Natal, Durban, South Africa; MScEng University of Natal, Durban, South Africa; Ph.D. Stanford University.

Dr. Karan Venayagamoorthy’s primary research expertise is in the field of environmental fluid mechanics and hydraulics with an emphasis on applying computational simulations to study fundamental fluid flow processes. Some of these include mixing and transport processes in rivers, estuaries, lakes, coastal and open ocean and urban air pollution.

Examples of his recent research projects include modeling the effect of aquaculture wastes on coastal water quality, nonlinear internal waves in the coastal ocean, mixing and dispersion in stratified turbulent flows. Dr. Venayagamoorthy’s work in environmental fluid mechanics has been published in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, Geophysical Research Letters, and Environmental Science and Technology.

Dr. Venayagamoorthy has received many awards and commendations, including Borland Chair of Hydraulics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, CSU. He received the Outstanding Faculty Performance Award, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, CSU. He won the Lorenz G. Straub Award from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for his 2006 Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford University.

In 2009, he became a ASCE ExCEEd Teaching Fellow with the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was also recently nominated and endorsed by the department head of Civil and Environmental Engineering for the 2011 ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Best Teacher Awards event details
  • Thursday, April 7, 2011
  • Lory Student Center North Ballroom
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • $5 for students
  • $15 for Alumni Association members
  • $20 for all others

RSVP by April 1, 2011,  or call (970) 491-6533.

CSU's Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Connection are proud to present this year's Best Teachers.

Contact: Beth Etter
Phone: (970) 491-6533