Group photo of Davidson and the Shoutout winners.

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout series highlights theexcellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. Each person nominated exemplifies MSU Denver’s core values of community, access, diversity, respect and excellence (CADRE). Winners are recognized at the monthly President’s Cabinet meeting.

Student-employee winner

Denny Palacios, teaching assistant in the Political Science Department 

Nominated by Sheila Rucki, Ph.D., professor of Political Science, who wrote:  

“Denny’s work in my class has been transformative. She is my TA for PSC 3050, Political Theory. The challenge for many students in that class is developing confidence in their own voice. Prior to Denny coming on, I would try to facilitate a classroom environment conducive to critical discussion but too often students would be hesitant to engage. In her TA role, Denny established coffee hours at Dazbog for informal chats and drop-in hours on Zoom to provide lower-stress opportunities for students to test ideas and talk through difficult material. I have seen a dramatic improvement not only in class discussions but in the variety and creativity of the written work produced by this class. Students are learning more and, perhaps more important, developing confidence in themselves. 

If our mission is students, students, students, Denny exemplifies how the strategic deployment of resources can make that a reality.” 

Staff winner 

Metza Templeton, systems specialist in the Registrar’s Office 

Nominated by Shaun Schafer, interim deputy provost and assistant vice president, and Stephen Barela, office manager in the School of Hospitality 

Schafer wrote: “Metza tackles the challenges of manually entering our course schedules for the University each semester and works with AHEC in rooming courses then and for finals.

This past fall, she went above and beyond in preparing the spring 2024 schedule. The loss of West and Central Classroom buildings in the middle of the spring semester for HVAC work will cost us 68 classrooms. When academic departments came up short in the number of courses that needed to be moved to complete the schedule, Metza did all of the heavy lifting to make it possible to hang on to face-to-face courses. In a two-day time span, she relocated 100 course sections and found space for more than 50 course sections that did not have rooms. Thanks to Metza, we had our spring schedule in place in time for students to start enrolling for spring 2024. She did exemplary work.”  

When prompted to discuss which of the CADRE (community, access, diversity, respect and excellence) values Templeton best exemplifies, Schafer wrote, “Metza put ‘Access’ in action in October. She ensured there would be space for all courses despite losing 68 classrooms in the middle of the semester. She generated excellent results in a very short span of time.”

Barela wrote: “I’m the office manager and a new staff member with MSU Denver’s School of Hospitality. My first project was to create the fall 2023 course schedule. Metza was flexible in scheduling a one-on-one training course. During our training, she patiently and clearly answered all of my questions and ensured that I understood the process of entering the department class schedules into Banner. Before our session ended, she extended an offer to contact her using Teams in a video call at any point that I encountered an obstacle. Metza’s patience, support and guidance enabled me to efficiently and accurately enter the fall 2023 courses into Banner. Metza is an exemplary leader. She embodies the MSU Denver mission, vision and core values. She is an example of how one person can have a positive impact in cultivating a collaborative work environment, one where interdepartmental relationships are built and maintained. The level of service she provides demonstrates what it truly means to meet our students where they’re at, ensuring that all students can be successful in achieving their academic goals! She is an inspiration and a model of professionalism.” 

Faculty winner

Elsa Dias, Ph.D., professor of Political Science  

Nominated by Katie Kirby, student of Political Science, who wrote:  

“As an online student and in my first semester at MSU Denver, I have had the privilege of being in Dr. Dias’ American National Government course. Despite my being an online student, Dr. Dias has been as personable as one may expect in an in-person classroom setting. Her approach to teaching goes beyond the traditional norm of online education because she takes each assignment submission as an opportunity for personalized feedback and guidance. Dr. Dias’ teaching style includes in-depth and thought-provoking assignments that have only fueled my passion for Political Science. Her dedication to imparting knowledge and encouraging critical thinking has not only increased my understanding but also contributed to the growth of my love of the subject. In conclusion, Dr. Elsa Dias is an amazing professor, and her commitment to her students’ success and depth of knowledge is obvious to anyone. I am extremely grateful for her guidance and support and the impact she has made on my academic journey.”