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Award-winning excellence: Sue Barnd

Teaching Excellence Award winner talks about how education runs in the family – and preschooler pandemonium.

By Cory Phare

August 1, 2018

Sue BarndLast week, we kicked off a series profiling our Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award winners with Christopher Keelan’s story.

Today, we’re showcasing Sue Barnd, professor of K-12 physical education and TEA winner for tenured faculty members who’ll also be presenting at the Center for Faculty Excellence’s upcoming Teaching Effectiveness Institute on Aug. 16.

What does it mean to you to win the Teaching Excellence Award? 

It’s quite the recognition. I look at it as a testament to our students being great; they really push me to be a better teacher every day. With so many other great faculty members at MSU Denver, it’s truly an honor to be selected.

Could you tell me about your background and what drew you into teaching?

It’s in my blood – my mother was a teacher, and it’s something I always wanted to do; the passion has always been there. I did my undergraduate and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where I taught in the physical-education teacher-preparation program and also was coaching women’s fast-pitch softball. When I finished coaching, I moved to Colorado and have been here since – about 18 years.

What inspires you? 

The stories I hear from students and the impact they’re making. I love to hear them talk about the great jobs and how they’re helping other teachers in their craft; they’re really high-quality individuals. They inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing and putting out the great product of an MSU Denver education.

What’s one day on campus you’ll never forget? 

Ha – there was one class that worked with preschoolers from the AHEC Early Learning Center. We didn’t realize on previous Fridays they were able to come to the large gyms in the PE Events Center and just run around.

The first time my class worked with them, we brought them into the big three gym spaces, opened the doors, and they took off – think about 60-plus 3- and 4-year-olds let loose with all that energy!

After that, we realized they needed more structure, that we’d need to put them in rank and file to go in in an organized manner. The kids sure had fun, though!

It’s nighttime, and you’re reflecting on a successful day. What happened?

I’m thinking about the students who’ve challenged me: They asked good questions, prodded and have that energy from learning. By no means the information I give them will be the be-all and end-all; when they think and challenge themselves as well to create a learning environment – that’s a good day.

What does it mean to you to be a Roadrunner?

It’s a special title – we serve a diverse population of students, and it’s so important for them to represent all elements of that in schools as teachers. It really is a team effort here at MSU Denver: Whether it’s major-based or general education courses or any of the multiple people that help our students succeed, everyone has a hand in the final product; there are a lot of good people here.

Barnd will be one of the presenters at the Center for Faculty Excellence’s Teaching Effectiveness Institute taking place Aug. 16, where faculty members have regular opportunities to reinvigorate their practices and learn about support resources available at MSU Denver.

Her session, “5-5-5: First 5 minutes, 5 class periods, 5 months,” will focus on how to connect with students throughout the semester.

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