Announcing the 2020 Faculty Awards
Celebrating DU’s outstanding professors
This year, the University of Denver is honoring six professors for their outstanding research and scholarship, commitment to their students and exceptional teaching. The 2020 award winners were selected based on nominations from colleagues and students.
Distinguished University Professor Award
The 2020 Distinguished University Professor is Anne DePrince. A psychology professor in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, she has played a valuable role in her nearly two decades at DU. DePrince served as chair of the psychology department for several years and currently is director of DU’s Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL).
DePrince was nominated by her colleagues, who called her “an internationally recognized scholar, a trailblazing researcher conducting cutting-edge community engaged research and an exemplary leader.” Her research focuses on violence against women and children, and her work has been featured in more than 100 publications, including nine edited books, 69 peer-reviewed articles and 35 book chapters, commentaries and technical reports.
DePrince’s colleagues hail her work for its “transformative effect within the research community, including the advancement of theory and a fundamental change in the way we understand the benefits and risks of talking about trauma in research contexts.”
This honor is awarded based on scholarly productivity, national and international distinction in a field of research, and work that makes a positive impact on society.
University Lecturer Award
Carl Raschke, professor and graduate advisor in the Department of Religious Studies, has been named the 2020 University Lecturer. His expertise is in the field of philosophy of religion with a focus on political theology. He is co-founder and senior editor of The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.
In nominating Raschke, a colleague writes that he has been “tireless in his efforts to create a harmonious synergy between his scholarship and his teaching, developing new courses on a regular basis and infusing his regularly taught courses with new material, as well as mentoring our students — and our junior faculty — individually.”
Raschke’s impact reaches far beyond DU’s classroom and even the United States. A colleague at a university in Europe writes, “Raschke continuously displays an ingenious instinct for the most pressing questions of the day, making him a noteworthy public intellectual. This is true in Europe, where he is one of the most respected American intellectuals. … Carl Raschke is undoubtedly one of the greatest scholars in philosophy of religions alive today, both in the United State and beyond.”
This award honors superlative creative and scholarly work.
Distinguished Scholar Award
Anna Sher, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been named the 2020 Distinguished Scholar. She joined DU in 2003 in a joint position with Denver Botanic Gardens, where she was director of research. She now is at DU full time as a tenured professor and chair of the Sustainability Council.
Sher’s research focuses on restoration ecology and the biology of invasive species. She specifically focuses on Tamarix, a tree with many negative effects on ecosystems. Sher is author on more than 48 peer-reviewed scientific publications and lead writer on a variety of book chapters. She also has authored two of the most well-known textbooks in ecology and conservation biology.
A letter nominating Sher for the award notes that she is “an incredibility valuable role model for women scientists at the University of Denver.” The letter adds that Sher has been “instrumental in strengthening the ecology and evolutionary biology research program at the University of Denver. … Her enthusiasm and collaborative research efforts have helped to bring lab groups together to create a dynamic research environment.”
This award recognizes unusually significant and meritorious achievement in professional scholarship, as evidenced by publications and their enhancing effect on classroom teaching.
Distinguished Teaching Award
Steven Iona, teaching professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has earned the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award. He joined the University of Denver in 2002 and primarily teaches physics classes for pre-med, biology and chemistry majors. Before joining DU, he was a high school science and mathematics teacher in the Adams 12 Five Star School District in the Denver area.
His colleagues praise his teaching style, noting that he makes a big lecture hall with dozens of students feel welcoming and engaging. One wrote, “he has a strong rapport with students — even calling them by name (in a class of 80+!). Although he is relaxed and calm, he uses every minute of classtime intentionally and purposefully.”
In recommendation letters, former students express their appreciation for his excitement for teaching and the passion he brings to class. One former student describes how Iona “cares about the progress and academic enrichment of each of his students. … He is a fair, knowledgeable and passionate professor.” Another student notes that Iona “embodies benevolence, dedication and excellence, and that’s what makes him so special.”
This award recognizes excellent teaching that has constructively influenced students.
Faculty Service Award
Annette Stott from the School of Art and Art History has earned the 2020 Faculty Service Award. She is currently in her third year as director of the DU-Iliff Joint Doctoral Program in the Study of Religion, and she holds many leadership positions, including art history graduate advisor and chair of the art history admissions committee.
Stott teaches the history of American art with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. She has a particular interest in women in art and the intersection of American religions and art.
In a nomination letter, a colleague calls her “a pillar of public good who actively engages all members of the community” and “a scholar dedicated to the University, its students and faculty.”
This award is given to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding service to the University, the community or the profession.
Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award
Kyle Fleming, an adjunct faculty member at the Lamont School of Music, has earned the 2020 Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award. He is conductor of the Lamont Men’s Choir with a 20-year background as an educator, singer and conductor. He also has spent the past two decades in service as a church worship pastor and music director. He is currently associate director of worship arts at Broomfield United Methodist Church.
A colleague writes that Fleming is “a dynamic leader on and off the podium, full of passion and drive. His artistry is backed by rock solid skills as a conductor and singer, and excellent scholarship. … He is driven solely by his desire to see what is best for our individual students and our choral program, and is a supportive and engaging colleague.”
His students, meanwhile, say “his infectious passion for inspiring young musicians to achieve excellence as individuals and as ensemble members is to be emulated throughout the entire profession of teaching, regardless of subject.” He also “has a gift for making learning fun and engaging for students of all levels without compromising the integrity of his behavioral and conceptual objectives.”
This award recognizes excellence in teaching by an adjunct faculty member.