Best Teachers

Photos by Joe A. Mendoza

Each year, our Alumni Association recognizes outstanding CSU educators with Best Teacher Awards. We congratulate this year’s recipients, who were nominated by students and alumni and were selected by a committee of students, faculty and staff.

Renee Harmon, portrait


Instructor, School of Global Environmental Sustainability

Harmon teaches in SoGES and assists in the Africa Center. In 2017, she completed a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies at CSU. Her research focuses on sustainability education and literacy, adult education, online education, and nontraditional teaching and learning methods. She developed the CSU Sustainability Literacy Assessment, which allows the University to compare its sustainability performance to other institutions worldwide.

Stephanie Malin, portrait


Assistant professor, Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts; adjunct assistant professor, Colorado School of Public Health

Malin specializes in environmental and natural resources sociology. She focuses on community-level outcomes of natural resource development, including the influences of environmental justice, social mobilization, poverty, and the political economy of energy development. Her research and teaching explore how these variables intersect in rural communities across the American West and the Northeast.

John Straayer at State Capitol


Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts

Straayer, now retired, has been one of CSU’s best-known professors. He spent 51 years teaching political science and astutely observing Colorado politics. For 37 years, he oversaw the university’s Legislative Internship Program, which introduced more than 1,000 students to Colorado lawmakers and the legislative process. Among Straayer’s protégés are U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and former Gov. Bill Ritter. CSU recently honored him with creation of the Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership.

Frank Smith, in the classroom


Director of graduate programs, College of Business

Smith came to CSU in 2013 and has built a long career in teaching, business, and service to his country. He is a pilot and Gulf War veteran, and he built a successful optics business before embarking on his teaching career.

He founded the Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge at CSU; his teams have won regional titles at the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Susan Opp


Associate professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts

Opp’s teaching, research, and community service focus on questions of local sustainability, economic development, and urban affairs. Her research has appeared in a number of academic and professional outlets, including Urban
Affairs Review, Journal of Urban Affairs, Economic Development Quarterly, and Local Environment, to name a few.

Dean Hendrickson


Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Hendrickson is an acclaimed equine surgeon who has applied his knowledge of minimally invasive surgery in horses to other large animals, ranging from dolphins to elephants. He teaches CSU veterinary students and treats patients at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He also has served as hospital director and as associate dean for CSU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program.

Know an outstanding educator? Nominate through the CSU Alumni Association – Best Teacher Awards