Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week awards highlight the excellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. Nominations are still being accepted and encouraged, especially for faculty and student employees as the Early Bird needs more nominations in these categories. This week, we celebrate three members of our University community who inspire students and their colleagues.

Alfred Tatum, Ph.D.“Around every corner of the Auraria campus are bright, innovative and gracious Roadrunners working to better the community,” said Provost Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., professor for the School of Education and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This week’s winners have been key collaborators in reimagining possible at MSU Denver.” 

Faculty winner - Hsiu-Ping Liu, Ph.D., associate professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Advanced STEM Education

Nominated by Provost Tatum, who wrote: 

Hsiu-Ping Liu, Ph.D.“Dr. Liu has published more than 50 refereed articles.Her research interests focus on freshwater mollusks and she holds a Ph.D. in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder.Her primary research interests are in the areas of evolutionary biology, population genetics and conservation genetics. Dr. Liu runs a STEM camp during the summers for middle school students. She has recently received a $1 million National Science Foundation grant and is in the process of applying for another NSF grant.” 

Hsiu-Ping, it is incredible what you have been able to accomplish for the Roadrunner community while managing your classroom and continuing your research. We are so grateful to have someone as talented and driven as you are leading students. You are a rock star! 


Staff winner – Kim Starr, chief budgeting officer, Academic Affairs

Nominated by Provost Tatum, who wrote: 

MSU Denver mascot Rowdy in celebratory pose in front of Tivoli.
Since we couldn’t find a photo of you, here’s one of Rowdy cheering you on.

“Kim Starr’s support of the Provost’s Office and Academic Affairs writ large has been executed with expertise, timeliness, and integrity and deserves high praise. Her 12 years with MSU Denver have made her a font of knowledge, and she has been of great assistance as I learned about the University. She is quick to help staff and faculty with budget questions and her fiscal knowledge of the University is sought by many. She will be greatly missed upon her retirement in May 2022.” 

Also nominated by Elizabeth Parmelee, Ph.D., associate vice president of Undergraduate Studies, who wrote: 

I have worked with Kim for years now and cannot think of a time when she wasn’t patient and kind in helping me work through my always complicated budget issues, taking the time to explain complicated Banner reports, and offering to help me out or even fix mistakes I had made along the way. She is one of those ‘behind the scenes’ people who quietly works her magic for us all — and often we don’t even know it!” 

Also nominated by Matt Griswold, Ed.D., associate vice president of Online Learning, who wrote: 

“Kim always provides clear guidance, has an eye for building up the expertise of others, and brings deep institutional knowledge when generating ideas and solving problems. Kim helped establish a solid financial foundation for Office of Online Learning from the start and has continued to advise us as we’ve grown. We feel a simultaneous sense of regret losing her as an advisor and excitement she gets to pursue her passions to the fullest.” 

Also nominated by Shaun Schafer, Ph.D., associate vice president for  Curriculum, Academic Effectiveness, and Policy Development in Journalism and Media Production, who wrote: 

“Kim is indispensable and indefatigable. She has been a wonderful guide in the world of budgets and a great colleague. She has always lived up to the notion that there is no such thing as a dumb question, even when I have asked pretty obvious ones. I count on her.” 

Lastly, nominated by Ann Sanders, executive assistant to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, who wrote: 

“Kim and I started within a month of each other 12 years ago. She has led the Academic Affairs team through some tricky budget years. Kim has been a great leader and a supportive and helpful colleague; I will miss her immensely when she retires in May.” 

Kim, thank you for your service to the Roadrunner community. You will be dearly missed, but the positive impact you’ve had on MSU Denver will continue to influence students and your coworkers long after you leave. We wish you all the best and a happy retirement. 


Student-employee winner – Jennie Fleurant, former student coordinator at the Welcome Desk

Nominated by Tatum, who wrote: 

MSU Denver mascot Rowdy in celebratory pose.
Since we couldn’t find a photo of you, here’s one of Rowdy cheering you on.

“Jennie Fleurant is an emerging water scholar who, until March 11, was serving as the Student Coordinator at the Welcome Desk in the Jordan Student Success Building. She was always quick to assist and was always very helpful to those she would meet. She left her position to finish the semester and prepare for graduate school at the Colorado School of Mines to expand her research focus that emerged while conducting undergraduate research at MSU Denver.” 

Jennie, your strong work ethic and academic curiosity will take you far in life. We are so grateful you’ve allowed MSU Denver to be a part of your journey, and we can’t wait to see how you soar to new heights in this next chapter of your education.  


To nominate outstanding employees for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week award, please complete the form on the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week webpage. 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.