Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty members publish research in some of the world’s most prestigious academic journals and share their knowledge at conferences around the globe. They also spend time developing valuable partnerships, working with colleagues across the country and world, creating new and exciting learning opportunities for students of all ages and securing vital funding to drive research and innovation. 

Congratulations to the following faculty members and programs for all their recent success: 

Building valuable partnerships 

In June, Aaron Brown, Ph.D., professor, and Devi Kalla, Ph.D., assistant professor, from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program hosted visiting faculty members and students from the Fachhochschule Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, who presented a seminar on automobile design. Brown will now visit Dortmund in September to present a seminar on Sustainable Systems Engineering and will visit the Water Technology program in SRH Heidelberg in Germany as an invited researcher hosted by the German government.   

Seth Mallet, Ph.D., assistant professor, Geotechnical Engineering, traveled to Tokyo this summer as an invited researcher examining new methods in geotechnology engineering. 

Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the Writing Center, is coordinating an effort to create an interdisciplinary minor in Disabilities Studies. 

This past spring, the Department of World Languages launched a new Language Services program providing campus constituents with access to professional resources for projects requiring written translation and/or real-time interpreting. This initiative is aimed at enhancing cross-cultural communication and promoting inclusivity within our diverse economic community and is facilitated with the support of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The multipronged approach brings opportunities to upgrade existing language skills, document proficiency by earning a globally acknowledged micro-credential or start on the road to bilingualism. In alignment with the Hispanic-serving mission of the University, emphasis is given to the English-Spanish language pairing: Translating/interpreting projects from English to Spanish and vice versa can be fully funded upon request. 

The Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute hosted 25 career-exploration sessions with 375 fifth-grade students through Denver Public Schools’ Elementary School Outreach Summer Connections program. The six-week program combines literacy, math and science. Students engaged in hands-on enrichment experiences in STEM, art and Spark Career Exploration. After a brief introduction to manufacturing, students created paper rockets and conducted a competition to see whose rocket would fly the farthest. 

Faculty Citings 

Several School of Hospitality faculty members presented at the recent conference of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education.  

Eric Olson, Ph.D., interim dean 

Co-presented with Lisa Young, DePaul University 

“So You Want to Be a Department Chair Director? Opportunities for Leadership Career Paths” 

Smita Singh, MBA, assistant professor in the School of Hospitality

Co-presented with Xingyi Zhang, University of North Texas, and Jing Li, Texas Tech University 

“Understanding the Effects of Value Co-Creation Strategies on Event Attendees’ Citizenship Behaviors: The Roles of Sense of Empowerment, Psychological Ownership and Previous Experience” 

Jangwoo Jo, Ph.D., assistant professor

Co-presented with Hyun-woo Joung, University of Mississippi, and James Taylor, University of Mississippi 

“Impact of Restaurant Sustainability Attributes of Menu Labels on Restaurant Green Image and Customer Attributes” 

Godwin-Charles Ogbeide, Ph.D., professor

“ChatGPT: Concerns and recommendations for hospitality and tourism education” 

Kiyan Shafieizadeh, Ph.D., assistant professor

Presentation and Best Paper Award  

Co-presented with Chen-Wei Willie Tao, Oklahoma State University, and Kyongsik Sung, Oklahoma State University 

“Tourists’ Motivation and Experience for Attending Native American Festivals: The role of food and tribal tradition” 

Christopher Eastment, teaching assistant

Smita Singh, Ph.D., lecturer

“Challenges and Benefits of Using Metaverse Technologies: Insights from tourism, hospitality and event professionals” 

Jangwoo Jo, Ph.D., assistant professor

“Menu Analysis: An attempt to combine Data Envelopment Analysis and Activity-based Costing” 

Several faculty members also presented papers and work at the annual American Society of Engineering Education conference in Baltimore in June. Faculty members whose work was accepted for presentation and publication are:  

  • Seth Mallet, Ph.D., assistant professor, Geotechnical Engineering,
  • Jeno Balogh, Ph.D., professor, Civil Engineering Technology
  • ZsuZsa Balogh, Ph.D., professor and program coordinator, Civil Engineering Technology
  • Aaron Brown, Ph.D., professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology

Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the Writing Center, co-edited “Disruptive Stories: Amplifying Voices from the Writing Center Margins” with Sohui Lee, Ph.D., of California State University Channel Islands, and Julie Prebel, Ph.D., of Occidental College, which is under contract with University Press of Colorado. The collection presents a range of stories and research articles focused on experiences that have generally been unheard or unacknowledged, particularly part-time and non-tenure-track WCAs, working in community colleges and non-U.S. writing-center administrators. The book is noteworthy for its activist editing strategy that disrupts traditional publishing practices to be more intentionally and radically inclusive. 

Jessica Ritter, MSSW, Ph.D., professor of Social Work, will publish her new textbook “Introduction to Social Work: Social Workers Effecting Change in Our World.” The text presents a comprehensive and current overview of social work to help guide students as they begin their exploration of the field. Ritter’s goal is to provide an intro-level Social Work text that is engaging and inspiring for students to read, teaches them the most important foundational concepts of the social-work discipline and introduces them to the wide array of career paths in social work. Select chapters were authored by Julie Clockston, DSW, LCSW, assistant professor; Kristen Atkinson, Ph.D., assistant professor; and Jess Retrum, MSSW, Ph.D., professor and chair, within the MSU Denver Social Work Department. 

Funding and grants

Engineering and Engineering Technology 

The Sustainable Systems Engineering program within the Engineering and Engineering Technology Department was selected for funding under the Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Water Conservation Board 2024 Seed Grant program. The project, “Streamflow Forecasting in Colorado by Artificial Intelligence, Remote Sensing and Data Mining for a Sustainable Future,” will be led by faculty members Mohammad Valipour, Ph.D., assistant professor, and CO-PI Aaron Brown. 

Additionally, a group of Sustainable Systems Engineering students mentored by Brown secured $500,000 in funding to help actualize their concept of an agrivoltaics project on campus. This project will require support from the Auraria Higher Education Center to move forward, but the funding amount is a remarkable achievement for a student group. 

Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute 

The Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute’s Industry 4.0 Center of Excellence at Auraria has received $135,000 from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade Advanced Industries Collaborative Infrastructure. Funding will support the purchase of four software applications and required computers to establish demonstration capabilities, generating a new revenue stream for the University. 

Additionally, AMSI has received a Jumpstart a Revolution grant of $39,000 through the Colorado Workforce Development Council Trade Association to design a program that will use a combination of higher education, self-directed online training, on-the-job training and industry-recognized credentials to upskill a new workforce for advanced manufacturing. 

Department of Social Work 

Dawn Matera Bassett, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Social Work, secured an award from Colorado Access of over $60,000 to fund Social Work students interested in pursuing a career in behavioral health. Colorado suffers from an extreme lack of mental- and behavioral-health workers, resulting in hard-to-access care and poor outcomes in communities across the state and disproportionately negative outcomes for historically underserved populations. This partnership with Colorado Access will offer financial relief for many MSU Denver students, making the decision to pursue post-secondary social-work education easier and empowering students to follow their interest in these critical careers. 

How to submit your achievement for consideration 

  • Navigate to the Service Request Form and select “Share your story: Early Bird and/or RED.”   
  • Fill in your contact information and all details regarding your grant or recently published material in the “Project/Story/Issue Description and Goals” section, including:
    • The name of your paper or presentation
    • Names, titles and higher-education institutions of all authors
    • The name of the book, journal or conference in which it was presented
    • Any relevant links or attachments that could be helpful    

Thank you for all your hard work, and the Early Bird looks forward to giving you a much-deserved round of applause.