The Metropolitan State University of Denver Faculty Senate announced the 2022 Teaching Excellence Award winners at its May 4 meeting. The awards originated in 2004-05 as a way to recognize MSU Denver faculty members who go above and beyond in the pursuit of student success. The award originally recognized tenured and tenure-track faculty members, but the affiliate-faculty category was added in 2005-06, and the honor was extended to Category II members in 2015-16. In addition to recognition, winners receive $1,500.  

Faculty members are selected based on extensive criteria, including: 

  • Exhibiting knowledge of their subject matter. 
  • Showing enthusiasm for their subject matter and for imparting that enthusiasm to students. 
  • Maintaining rigorous academic standards.
  • Having a positive impact on students’ learning and professional development. 
  • Showing a commitment to teaching. 
  • Cultivating accessibility and open rapport with students.

The 2021-22 winners are:

Affiliate faculty — Harry Chiang, Ph.D., Department of Psychological Sciences 

Chiang has worked at MSU Denver for nine years. He has taught numerous courses in the clinical/counseling and developmental areas of Psychology and has shown versatility by taking on new classes as needs arise. In class, he connects with students through discussion and regularly helps them access campus resources when he sees a student in need. His students say his passion for teaching and his constant engagement make his classes so enjoyable. One student even said Chiang was a big reason he furthered his education in graduate school. 

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“I love helping students at MSU (Denver) to develop a lifelong passion for learning and to teach how everyone can learn to use the laws and principles of psychology to directly improve important facets of their lives, relationships and general well-being,” Chiang said.

Category II faculty — Claire Critchlow, Human Services and Counseling  

Critchlow has worked at MSU Denver for a year as a clinical director and Human Services instructor. She continually educates herself on current field research while also developing her research interests. Critchlow is always willing to invest extra time and energy into tailoring her academic approach to ensure that she is best meeting the individual needs of students. Her students say Critchlow made them feel heard, respected and welcomed in class and that she is always prepared. 

“In the short time I’ve been here at MSU (Denver), I have adored my time in the classroom,” Critchlow said. “The thing I love most about working at MSU (Denver) is how diverse our student body is. It has been such a pleasure to witness students across all genders, ages and cultures sharing their experiences with each other. Whether students are right out of high school or pursuing a second career later in life, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see relationships develop across these differing, intersecting identities.”


Tenure track faculty — Steve Krizman, Department of Journalism and Media Production

Krizman has taught at MSU Denver for 11 years, five of which have been as a tenure-track professor. He is an important member of the JMP team and is committed to teaching students how to be successful in public relations and journalism. He has worked with affiliate faculty members to help develop their courses while maintaining rigorous academic standards for his classes. His students give glowing reviews, saying Krizman’s courses are the best they have ever taken, that they gain real-world knowledge and that they even learned more about themselves through classroom discussions and activities. 

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“I love my students’ spunk,” Krizman said. “Every one of them has busy lives, and they’re working their education into the mix. I especially love finding out about their outside passions. I’ve had athletes in all sports, X Games types, actors, musicians and even a drag racer. In all my years in newspapers and public relations, I’ve never stepped into rooms as diverse as my classrooms. My students have taught me what it takes to ensure inclusion and equity.” 

Tenured faculty — Mark Koester, Ph.D., Department of Mathematics and Statistics 

For over 12 years, Koester has taught preservice math and statistics educators. He understands students’ struggles with math and creates a safe space to engage all students through individual and group work. His teaching is grounded in constructivist learning principles, with activities designed for students to actively engage in making connections to previous knowledge. His students say that even if math is not their best subject, Koester keeps them interested through engaging teaching methods and helps them understand the content on a deeper level to ensure that they understand the material rather than just memorizing the content.  

“I enjoy MSU Denver students’ passion for learning, ability to juggle multiple roles in their lives, and their positive attitude and good humor,” Koester said. “Specifically, I enjoy the preservice teachers’ willingness to change their beliefs about learning math and their wanting to learn new ways to teach to support all their future students.” 

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Congratulations to these outstanding educators who are helping students persist and succeed. They will be formally recognized at the 2023 Roadrunners Who Soar Awards.