Faculty Research, Awards

Faculty Awarded for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research

Each year, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences rewards faculty members for exceptional teaching, service and research. This year’s awardees are

  • Karen Barton (Assistant Professor of Geography) and Priscilla Falcón (Professor of Hispanic Studies) for Excellence in Teaching
  • Kenneth Chan (Assistant Professor of Film Studies) for  the College Scholar Award
  • Lee Anne Peck (Associate Professor of Journalism) for Excellence in Advising and Service

HSS faculty members Karen Barton and Priscilla Falcón were also awarded one of the top university-wide honors, the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Undergraduate Education. This award honors faculty who are innovative in their teaching, provide students with supplemental education beyond the usual scope of classroom experience, are readily available to advise and guide students, and are exceptionally supportive of their students.


Faculty Awarded for Promoting Diversity in the Classroom

HSS’s Diversity Advisory Board advises the College on matters of diversity within and outside of the classroom. The board has also developed a faculty award to recognize promotion of diversity in the classroom. Faculty members are nominated by their students. Awardees must foster a sense of inclusiveness in their courses, encouraging students to speak freely and recognizing the value of a wide spectrum of interpretations and points of view on any given issue. Awardees are also expected to demonstrate a facility with engaging their students around issues of race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, class and ability.

The Advisory Board received twenty-three nominations this year. From the nominations, they chose to give the Diversity in the Classroom Award to Professor Nick Syrett (History). Professors Travis Boyce (Africana Studies) and Genie Canales (Hispanic Studies) received honorable mentions.

Syrett’s student nominator commented that he “puts students at ease in his classroom,” and is “the definition of inclusive teaching philosophies and practices. He encourages all students to speak in class and finds value in every comment that is made.” Syrett is also known for incorporating issues of diversity into his courses; for example, says his nominator, he “discussed the injustices women encounter throughout the history of America. Through the passion that Dr. Syrett spoke with, it was clear that he advocates for women’s rights and focuses on educating students about women’s issues.”

Syrett majored in Women’s and Gender Studies as an undergraduate at Columbia University and then went on to receive his PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan.  His primary focus is American history since the 19th century, and he has taught courses on topics such as immigration, slavery, sex and sexuality, marriage and queer history. This year, he also taught a senior seminar titled, “Gender, Race and Crime.”


Hispanic Studies Department Awarded for Excellence in Teaching and Confluencia Joins JSTOR

This spring, the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) presented the Hispanic Studies Department’s master’s degree in Foreign Language: Spanish Teaching an Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education.   Criteria for this award include “increasing the diversity of applicants to graduate programs,” and “demonstrating success in enhancing the quality of the entering class.”

The innovative master’s program “equips teachers with in-depth knowledge of all facets of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the latest methodologies for teaching Spanish in secondary schools.” The program is largely conducted during the summer to enable working teachers to succeed without having to sacrifice their careers or take time off. Classes include intensive language and pedagogy workshops, the opportunity to participate in study abroad, and courses that explore literature, culture and history. The regional focus of classes (Spain, Latin America and Mexico/Hispanic United States) rotates on a three-year basis.


In addition to the many other things Hispanic Studies has to celebrate this year, Confluencia, the bilingual, peer-reviewed journal of Hispanic culture housed in the department, has been officially added to JSTOR. A not–for–profit digital archive, JSTOR selects journals for inclusion based on a rigorous set of criteria, and it makes these journals (and other publications) accessible on a global scale, guaranteeing Confluencia the ability to reach and influence an international audience.


For HSS award criteria, see http://hss.unco.edu/college_awards.html

For Committees within the college, including the Diversity Advisory Board, see
http://hss.unco.edu/committees.html