Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout series has returned from a summer hiatus in a new monthly format to highlight the excellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. Nominations are still accepted and encouraged.  

The Early Bird is especially in need of faculty-member and student-employee recognition.

This month, the series celebrates three inspirational members of the University community who were awarded the honor in person at the latest President’s Cabinet meeting.   


“I’m extremely proud of this month’s winners, who remind me what it looks like to be a part of a diverse and thoughtful community that strives not only for self-improvement but for the betterment of others,” said President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

Faculty winner

Kryss Shane, Ph.D., affiliate professor of Social Work 

Nominated by Brad A. Palmertree, MSW, lecturer in Social Work, who wrote: 

“Kryss is one of the most dedicated (affiliates) I’ve ever known. She has a true passion for teaching. Kryss is incredibly intentional about how she brings students along on their educational journey with her. She is an expert on inclusion and accessibility in the classroom, and she is always willing to help other faculty with their teaching practices, particularly online teaching, which is her specialty. She is also a great resource for how to maximize our use of Canvas to deliver the best experience for online students. She has enriched the Social Work Department with her approach to teaching, and our students are much better off because of her contributions to their learning.”

Staff winner

Susan Benesch, Total Rewards analyst, Human Resources 

Nominated by Daniel Dudley, Total Rewards analyst, HR, who wrote: 

Susan is a wonderful colleague who is an example of our CADRE value of Excellence by her daily dedication to the Total Rewards team and HR Department. Susan’s work has a positive impact toward the University’s strategic goal of being Colorado’s most desired place of employment. For example, during New Employee Orientation (which is a critical part of the onboarding process), she makes sure new employees understand many of the excellent employee benefits we provide as well as making sure the paperwork is processed on time.” 

Also nominated by Ali Hodson, Total Rewards analyst, HR, who wrote: 

“Susan is an absolute joy to work with. Her knowledge and experience help employees make decisions around benefits with ease. Not only is she a benefits expert, but Susan also consistently models our CADRE values and has an infectious positive attitude. We are lucky to have her on the Total Rewards team here at MSU Denver!”

Also nominated by Sarah Beckman, Total Rewards associate analyst, HR, who wrote: 

“Susan is the type of individual to constantly go above and beyond, not only for the team but for everyone at MSU Denver. No matter the time of day, Susan will be there to answer any questions or concerns as well as meet with new hires after (New Employee Orientation) to go over benefits packets and assist them with any concerns. Our wish is that through these nominations we can show Susan just how much she means to our team and all of MSU Denver.”  

Student-employee winner

Benjamin Landis, president of MSU Denver’s Student Veterans of America chapter 

Nominated by Joseph Foster, Ph.D., director of Veteran and Military Student Services, who wrote:

“Ben Landis deserves an enthusiastic shoutout for the contributions he has made to the veteran and military student community at MSU Denver. An Air Force veteran and Electrical Engineering major graduating in December, Ben spent this last summer in St. Louis on an internship with Boeing — an opportunity he secured during an interview at the Student Veterans of America national conference in January. Ben also served as president of MSU Denver’s local SVA chapter this past year. He led an active group of student veterans; put together numerous social, professional development and academic support events throughout the school year; and led the spring Veterans Graduation ceremony in May. He has also been a leader within the Veteran and Military Student Services Center, putting his two years of work-study experience to use mentoring newer employees, supporting the full-time staff and helping with benefit certification and administration for MSU Denver’s nearly 1,100 student veterans and military-affiliated students last year. Ben’s dedicated servant leadership did not end with his military service, and we cannot wait to see the great things he is going to do next!” 

Thank you to this week’s winners for all you do at MSU Denver. To nominate a faculty member or any other member of the University’s employee community for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week award, please complete the form. Tell us how your nominee is making an impact through great teaching, service to students or innovation. Winners will be selected each week and profiled in the Early Bird on Thursdays. Winners will also get a shoutout on social media.