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University of Denver Announces 2024 Faculty Awards

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Joy Hamilton

Publications and Research Writing Manager

DU is honoring six professors for accomplishments in research, scholarship, teaching and service.

News  •
Mary Reed

The University of Denver has awarded six professors for outstanding scholarship, instruction and service. The 2024 recipients were selected based on nominations from colleagues, students and community partners.

Distinguished University Professor Award

Paul Rullkoetter Headshot

Paul Rullkoetter

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science 

The Distinguished University Professor Award, considered the highest faculty honor presented at DU, is given to a faculty member who has gained international distinction in their field of research. 

Paul Rullkoetter joined the University of Denver in 1998 and, over the span of more than 25 years, has greatly contributed to the field of orthopaedic biomechanics, most notably in the area of joint replacement implants. Using computational models, his designs for joint implants have greatly improved patient outcomes and quality of life. 

“In a landscape where over 754,000 knee replacements and 450,000 hip replacements are conducted annually in the United States, Dr. Rullkoetter’s meticulous considerations of patient, surgical and implant design factors have redefined best practices and significantly contributed to the field,” said Michelle Sabick, dean of the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Rullkoetter has published 93 peer-reviewed journal articles, and his work has been cited 4,949 times, indicating his widespread influence and recognition in the field. Having secured $11 million in grants and contracts, his work has greatly supported DU’s Center for Orthopaedic Biomechanics through strategic development, state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality personnel. 

Distinguished Teaching Award

Lina Reznicek-Parrado headshot

Lina Reznicek-Parrado

Department of Spanish Language, Literary and Cultural Studies
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 

The Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes excellence in instruction and influence on the experience of students.  

Lina Reznicek-Parrado started at DU in the fall of 2018 with the task of implementing DU’s first-ever Spanish for Heritage and Bilingual Students program, resulting in the first Spanish for Heritage Speakers course in 2019. The program has grown significantly, now offering four sections per year as part of the Spanish minor and major programs. While benefitting heritage students' academic trajectories with Spanish, this new curricular experience provides an opportunity for students to reimagine their personal identities as Spanish speakers, according to Alejandro Cerón, associate professor in the department of anthropology. 

Reznicek-Parrado’s teaching and support have led some students  to pursue a Spanish major, with some remarking at how her courses, specifically the Spanish for Heritage Speakers class, have given them a sense of belonging. 

“I don’t know if I can paraphrase all the good things I have to say about these courses—I feel triumphant in what I have been able to do in such a short time, and I know this is only the beginning,” said a second-year transfer student about Reznicek-Parrado’s courses. “In fact, I am considering adding Spanish as a major here at DU because I have just opened up the door to a world that I thought was inaccessible to me.”

In addition to teaching, Reznicek-Parrado has worked collaboratively around campus and has helped develop various programs, including the Spanish Language Media Production Microcredential, which offers Spanish major and minors a 10-week paid, community-engaged internship experience honing skills in Spanish media, community organizing, immigration policy and other professional fields that highlight the role of Spanish as a vital local language, which is in demand in Denver and Colorado. 

Distinguished Scholar Award

Jesse Owen in front of books.

Jesse Owen

Morgridge College of Education

The Distinguished Scholar Award recognizes significant achievement in scholarship through publications and impact in the classroom. 

Peers use words like “luminary,” “world-renowned,” “paradigm-shifting” and “transformative” when describing Jesse Owen’s work in the field of counseling psychology as it relates to multiculturalism. His work on understanding a therapist’s multicultural orientation has shed light on the importance of culturally responsive healthcare through his development of what is called “cultural humility,” or the understanding that people bring various beliefs, values and biases that should be acknowledged for better treatment. He has worked in the space of microaggressions, mental health and wellness, psychiatric disorders and couples communication. 

Owen joined DU in 2014 as an alum of Morgridge College of Education’s Counseling Psychology program. He has participated (e.g., PI, Co-I, methodological consultant) on $33,167,500 in external research funding and has been cited nearly 15,000 times. He’s the recipient of numerous American Psychological Association awards and has published over 200 peer-revised journal articles, including 58 with graduate students. 

Owen runs the Relationships and Psychotherapy Lab with graduate students, post-docs and visiting professors and has had “tremendous impact in building the capacity of graduate students and early-career scholars to expand multiculturalism and cultural competence in the field,” says Michelle Knight-Manuel, dean of the Morgridge College of Education. 

Faculty Service Award

Angela Parker profile photo

Angela Parker

Department of History
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 

The faculty service award is given to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding service to the University, community or profession. 

Angela Parker is being awarded in recognition of her work collaborating with Indigenous tribes in both teaching and community events, as well as mentoring and supporting Native students. Parker has been at the University of Denver for nearly five years and has made a tremendous impact on the University’s relationship with Native students and tribes as both a researcher of Native American history in the 20th century and a tireless community organizer. Peers say that she spends 40 or more hours a month working with colleagues to support and amplify the concerns of the Native community at DU and our partner communities.

As the lead organizer for Indigenous People’s Day, Parker invites and coordinates visits from members of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations to DU’s campus.  

“This event has made such an impact on the DU community— students, staff, faculty—as well as the larger Denver community who has attended in the last few years,” said Kelley Fayard, an assistant professor in anthropology. 

Susan Schulten, professor of history, says that Parker’s dedication and relationships have helped students understand Colorado history in a wider context. 

“For my students, the lessons of the 19th century are largely learned through documentary evidence: letters, lithographs, journals, diaries, state papers and photographs. But with the visit [that Angela organized] from the members of the Kit Fox Society [part of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation], history came alive for a few hours,” says Schulten. 

Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award

Tim Leddy in front of a mountain and pine trees.

Tim Leddy

Information Technology Program
University College 

The Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award recognizes excellence in teaching by an adjunct faculty member. 

Tim Leddy has been at University College since 2010 and has taught over 100 courses, bringing a wealth of on-the-ground IT experience to students, having worked at organizations like Sprint, General Electric, AT&T and Level 3, just to name a few. Having developed several courses for UCOL, Leddy views teaching as an opportunity to pass knowledge on to the next generation. Here are just a few comments students have to say about taking a class with Professor Leddy.  

  • “The best professor I ever had. After every time I met with him, I felt more passionate.”
  • “One of the best courses—if not the absolute best course—I have taken.”
  • “He is generous with his time. This is what all instructors should aspire to be.” 
  • “He always anticipates students' needs or issues and provides resources and great advice before the students encounter the problem.”

In addition to the unwavering commitment to student success and depth of experience he brings to the classroom, Leddy regularly participates in University College activities, including attending graduation ceremonies and professional development events. 

University Lecturer Award

George DeMartino headshot

George DeMartino

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

The University Lecturer Award is given in recognition of superlative creative and scholarly work.

George DeMartino works in the field of heterodox economic theory and public policy. His first book, “Reconstructing Globalization in an Illiberal Era: Ethics and International Affairs,” presented a justice-centered critique on neoliberalism. Over the past two decades, he has made notable contributions to the field of economics, particularly in professional ethics, and is the co-director of Korbel’s Global Economic Affairs master’s degree program. 

His 2022 book, “The Tragic Science,” which examines the unintended harm caused by economists, has received widespread acclaim in outlets like Science and The New York Review of Books. DeMartino’s scholarship is endorsed by a diverse, well-known set of researchers including Peter Katzenstein, chair at Cornell University; Dani Rodrik, an economist and chair at Harvard University; and Katherine Gibson, author of the seminal book, “The End of Capitalism (As We Know It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy.” DeMartino also presented his previous book, "The Economist’s Oath," at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In addition to far-reaching scholarship, DeMartino has brought his academics into the classroom, teaching students about international trade, ethics and harm in international affairs. 

“George is a marvelous teacher and mentor,” says Frederick Mayer, dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, “a true exemplar of DU’s teacher/scholar model and a dedicated colleague who the Korbel School has regularly called on for administrative leadership.”

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