Each year the CSU Alumni Association recognizes outstanding university educators with Best Teacher Awards.
Teachers are nominated by students and alumni, and final selections are made by a committee that includes faculty, students and members of the Alumni Association.
This year’s awards dinner is set for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Lory Student Center Theatre. Tickets and information are available online or by calling the Office of CSU Events at 491-4601.
School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
College of Liberal Arts
Denise Favela Apodaca received her B.A. in piano performance from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master’s in piano performance and a second master’s in piano pedagogy from Northwestern University. She graduated with honors from both universities.
She has been on numerous faculties and has performed throughout the U.S. both as a soloist and as a chamber artist. Apodaca has been an adjudicator for several music teachers’ associations and has given workshops on piano technology, piano pedagogy, performance, music education, Latin American music and early childhood music. She currently serves on the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County and was a member of the executive committee for Beet Street in Fort Collins.
Apodaca is currently Piano Proficiency Coordinator, teaches Piano Skills for Music Therapists, Piano Skills for Music Educators, and Music Appreciation at CSU.
College of Liberal Arts
Ray Black is an assistant professor of ethnic studies focusing on African American studies; he has been at CSU for just over two years.
He is interested in the African American experience in the U.S., with a primary academic focus on representations of black life in the slave narratives and other 19th century documents, and how these depictions use literary irony and the folkloric trickster to conceal various modes of survival.
His current research is on how current students of color succeed in higher education. Black has taught early childhood education (Head Start), been a coordinator for a non-profit program seeking to keep young men of color in high school, and led campaigns for reform-minded school board candidates. He follows the lesson of one of his teachers: “All students are flowers. Some take longer to bloom.”
Food Science and Human Nutrition
College of Health and Human Sciences
Marisa Bunning is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU.
Her teaching, research and outreach efforts are focused on improving food safety all along the food chain. Current projects include best practices for growing and handling fruits and vegetables to ensure safety; consumer food preparation practices; and local food system issues.
One of her favorite parts of her job is mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in the development and delivery of outreach education materials. She is a collaborator with Colorado Integrated Center of Excellence in Food Safety, the Western Regional Food Safety Training Center, and currently serves as the co-leader of the Animals, People and the Environment concentration in the Colorado School of Public Health.
Dr. Bunning is a member of the CSU Extension Food Systems Team and the One Health Food Systems Working Group.
Foreign Language and Literature
College of Liberal Arts
Chuchang Chiu is the senior teaching appointee for the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures at CSU.
She grew up in Taiwan and received a B.A. in journalism from Chengchi University in Taiwan in 1979. Chiu’s graduate study focused on mass communication. She received a master’s from the University of Minnesota, and taught at Colorado College and the Foreign Language Center in Colorado Springs in the 1980s. She also held various positions at Hewlett Packard in Oregon in the ’90s.
Chiu has been teaching all levels of Chinese courses at CSU since 2003 and is the advisor of the Chinese Club.
Chiu previously received the CSU APACC Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012, and the CSU College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007.
Tod R. Clapp, (B.S. ’96, M.S. ’99, Ph.D. ’04)
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Tod Clapp received his B.S. in biology, his master’s anatomy and his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, all from CSU.
Clapp is an assistant professor of biomedical sciences for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He has received numerous awards including: the Water Pik and CSU Athletic Department Excellence in Education Award; the Outstanding Academic Advising Award in Graduate Education, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and the Lisa Marie Craft Memorial Graduate Scholarship for exhibiting career promise in teaching. Clapp has served as honor’s thesis adviser and committee member for numerous students, and he is a member of the Teaching Academy of the Consortium of West Region Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, the American Association of Clinical Anatomy, and the Association for Chemoreception Sciences.
College of Agricultural Sciences
Temple Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a professor of animal science at CSU.
Livestock handling facilities she has designed are located throughout the world. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed. Her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling.
Grandin has also developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. Other areas of research are: cattle temperament, environmental enrichment for pigs, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility, training procedures, and effective stunning methods for cattle and pigs at meat plants.
She obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in animal science at Arizona State University. Grandin received her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989. Today she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at CSU and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling, and animal welfare. She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 Hours, CNN Larry King Live, PrimeTime Live, 60 Minutes and the Today Show. She has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, the New York Times book review, and Discover magazine.
In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people. She has also authored more than 400 articles in both scientific journals and livestock periodicals on animal handling, welfare and facility design.
She is the author of “Thinking in Pictures”, “Livestock Handling and Transport,” “Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals,” “The Autistic Brain” and “Humane Livestock Handling.” Her books “Animals in Translation” and “Animals Make Us Human” were both on the New York Times bestseller list. Her life story has also been made into an HBO movie titled “Temple Grandin,” which starred Claire Danes and won seven Emmy awards and a Golden Globe.