Best Teacher Awards


The awardees and their nominators are invited to the Best Teacher Awards banquet March 25, where the award recipients are honored. Registration is required and will open mid-February.


The Best Teacher Awards program recognizes faculty who have made a significant impact on their students. Past nominations have included reasons faculty have changed the lives of their nominators, as well as stories about the importance of the preparation, support, guidance, and academic challenge that a Colorado State teacher has provided.

Each year, nominations are submitted by students, faculty, and alumni, and are reviewed by the selection committee. Comprised of students, alumni, and faculty and staff, the selection committee selects up to six award recipients.

Nominations for the 2020 awards are now closed. 

Nomination Guidelines

Nominations are now closed for the 2020 awards. If you have questions about the program, please contact the Alumni Association at (970) 491-6533 or

Nominated teachers/professors must be current Colorado State University faculty/staff members. Selections are based on complete nomination forms that demonstrate the specific examples of how the teacher/professor influences students inside the classroom and beyond, and how the teacher/professor demonstrates a commitment to CSU.

Additionally, please note:

  1. Past Best Teacher Award recipients are not eligible. See a list of past recipients.
  2. Incomplete and/or vague nominations will NOT be considered.
  3. The quality of nominations will take precedence over the quantity of nominations for a particular teacher/professor.
  4. Nominations may be shared with nominees (after awards program has taken place), relevant departments, and/or the media.

Contact the Alumni Association at (800) 286-2586 or

Jon Firooz

College of Business, Department of Marketing

Jon Firooz (B.S., ’96) is a lecturer in the College of Business at Colorado State University. He received a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in mathematics from CSU. Mr. Firooz teaches undergraduate courses in sales management and marketing strategy, and graduate courses in business systems and processes. He has held several executive positions in marketing, corporate development, and R&D at Hewlett-Packard and other organizations. Mr. Firooz has been awarded several U.S. patents and was recognized on multiple occasions for being in the top 1 percent of all managers within Hewlett-Packard. After serving at HP, he spent four years working in the water industry as vice president of marketing for a local scientific instrumentation manufacturer.

“He is humble in his teaching and mentorship despite his vast expertise and wisdom that he has to offer. I have seen Jon go above and beyond for his students in ways that I have not seen from any other professors.”

– Sydney Correll (’19)

Michael Humphrey

College of Liberal Arts, Department of Journalism and Media Communication

Michael Humphrey (Ph.D., ’17) is a journalist, digital storytelling researcher, and teacher. At Colorado State University, he teaches digital storytelling and audience engagement and entrepreneurial journalism and analytics, and researches how life stories emerge on social media. He was recently named a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing at Wolfson College, and will spend time there applying the writing of Hannah Arendt and Adriana Cavarero to key questions of social media and self. Before receiving his M.A. from New York University and Ph.D. from CSU, Dr. Humphrey wrote stories for The Kansas City Star and founded 1000 Stories, a life-story writing program sponsored by Kansas City metro-area libraries. His writing has also appeared in Salon, National Catholic Reporter, True/Slant, The New Yorker, and others.

“He is dedicated to building meaningful relationships with students, and he works tirelessly to make sure every one of them succeeds.”

– Sydney Paul (’20)

Dawn Mallette

College of Health and Human Sciences, School of Education

Dawn Mallette (Ph.D., ’00) is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Center of Education Preparation at Colorado State University. She coordinates the Family and Consumer Sciences program, advises all FCS students, teaches two courses, and supervises student teachers. She also teaches a general teacher education methods course and coordinates a Professional Development School at Poudre High School as part of the CEP program. Dr. Mallette also serves as associate director for Online Degrees and Distance Programs in the School of Education. Her research and service interests focus on teacher preparation, teacher professional development, and curriculum development. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her strong commitment to teaching and her profession, including the Superior Faculty Service award and the 2017 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America National Distinguished Service Award.

“Not only has Dawn inspired us to be great teachers, she has inspired us to spread the love of education to everyone. I could not have asked for a better person to walk into my life to help me choose a career and build the passion I now have for Family and Consumer Sciences.”

– Kelsey Mauch

Matthew Rhodes

College of Natural Sciences, Department of Psychology

Matthew Rhodes received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Florida State University in 2004. After completing postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis, he joined the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University in 2006. Dr. Rhodes’ research focuses on memory, metacognition, and evidence-based approaches to learning and training, all of which he attempts to translate into the classroom. Dr. Rhodes has published numerous scholarly articles and serves on the editorial board of four major journals in his field, including as associate editor at Memory and Cognition. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, and has received several awards for teaching and student mentoring. Dr. Rhodes has also authored a recent book on learning, A Guide to Effective Studying and Learning: Practical Strategies from the Science of Learning (2019; Oxford University Press), with Drs. Anne Cleary and Edward DeLosh.

“Dr. Rhodes’ accomplishments as a teacher and mentor are indisputable; however, it is his sincerity that distinguishes him from other professors. His selfless dedication to the achievement of undergraduate students sets him apart.”

– Addison Babineau (’18)

Christopher Snow

Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

As an MIT chemistry student originally interested in molecular nanotechnology, Christopher Snow became a dedicated undergraduate researcher in computational structural biology research. He completed a Ph.D. in biophysics at Stanford University in 2006 where he was a Howard Hughes Fellow studying the biophysics of protein folding. Before arriving at Colorado State University, Dr. Snow was a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow and a KAUST Research Fellow in the laboratory of recent Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold. Dr. Snow also spent time at Caltech developing software for computational protein engineering, designing libraries of cellulase enzymes, and studying protein recombination using crystallography. Since coming to Colorado State in 2011, Dr. Snow has continued to pioneer computational protein engineering methods and research in the use of engineered protein crystals as molecularly precise scaffolds for diverse application areas.

“It is difficult to summarize all that Dr. Snow does for his students – his giving seems incalculable. Perhaps, however, what distinguishes Dr. Snow most is not what he does, but how much he cares.”

– Peter Meyer (’20)

Allison White

College of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science

Allison White has taught in Colorado State University’s Department of Political Science as a special assistant professor for the past four years. She studied politics as an undergraduate at Occidental College and social sciences as a master’s student at University of Chicago, and received her Ph.D. in government from University of Texas at Austin. Dr. White teaches classes ranging from authoritarianism around the world to Russian politics and research methods. Since last year, she also serves as the assistant director of international studies, an interdisciplinary program within the College of Liberal Arts. In collaboration with The Institute for Learning and Teaching,  Dr. White will begin co-facilitating a course for faculty called Entering Mentoring, designed to train faculty mentors in the principles of effective mentorship.

“Dr. White puts her heart and soul into each class, asks students if they need more time in office hours to better understand the topic at hand, and creates the healthiest, safest, and most amazing environment for a student who battles the everyday challenges that college throws at them.”

– Anthony Laurita (’19)