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Congrats to our Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week winners

These exceptional faculty, staff and student employees are shining examples of dedication, innovation and excellence.

By Lindsey Coulter

December 3, 2020

Nominations continue to roll in for Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week awards, highlighting the excellent and important work happening at all levels of the University. This week, we celebrate three members of our University community who inspire students and their colleagues.

“This week’s winners are community-builders and collaborators,” said Michael Benitez, Ph.D., vice president of Diversity and Inclusion, who selected this week’s winners. “I was very impressed by the ways they serve students and fellow employees as well as the genuine passion they bring to their work.”

Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D.Faculty winner – Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D., associate professor, Chicana/o Studies

Nominated by Benitez, who wrote:

“Dr. Chalane Lechuga goes above and beyond to support and meet the needs of students, going out of her way to be flexible and agile in order to assure student success. This is especially the case during this difficult time of COVID-19, where she has had to tend to student challenges – and many of the students she supports identify not only as BIPOC but first-gen and low-income as well. 

“In addition, her work to advance diversity is extensive. She coordinates the Tenure Track Supper Club, conducts faculty diversity research and analysis, authored the Ensuring a Diverse Faculty at MSU Denver resolution passed by Faculty Senate and served as chair for the Castro Distinguished Professorship – among many other committees and service undertakings that eventually impact our students.”

Chalane, your efforts to serve students and make MSU Denver a more diverse and inclusive community are recognized and deeply appreciated. Thank you for working so hard to honor the University’s mission.

Tisha TownsendStaff/administrator winner – Tisha Townsend, TRIO SSS scholar advisor

Nominated by Eric Silva, collections advisor, who wrote:

“Tisha coordinates the Microaggressions training, which includes scheduling facilitators, promoting trainings and working with departments to tailor presentations to meet their needs. As an advisor, her work goes well above and beyond her day-to-day responsibilities. Tisha’s dedication to building a more equitable campus knows no bounds, and her leadership of the Microaggressions Awareness Campaign exemplifies this. Tisha regularly recruits colleagues and offers them the opportunity to join the campaign and learn the facilitation techniques to successfully navigate a challenging and deeply personal topic. Her commitment to advocating on behalf of marginalized voices is well-respected across campus, and her work is having a lasting effect on all faculty, staff and students who attend.”

Tisha, as MSU Denver strives to become an anti-racist institution, providing opportunities for education, reflections and meaningful growth is key. Thank you for your commitment and leadership of the Microaggressions Awareness Campaign and to building a more equitable campus community.

Tanner SmithStudent-employee winner – Tanner Smith, student employee, School of Education

Nominated by Anna Joseph, director of trauma-informed practices, School of Education, who wrote:

“I was immediately impressed by Tanner. During his first semester with us, he would go out of his way to make sure he knew everyone’s name and role at the SOE. Tanner is eager to offer his help in any way he can, from organizing materials to helping with literature reviews for grants. Tanner has been important in making projects and components of the SOE run smoothly. He gets things done quickly and to a high degree of quality. His positive energy is infectious, and I always leave our interactions with a big smile on my face because of it. The SOE and MSU Denver are lucky he is a part of the community. Thank you, Tanner!”

Also nominated by Ofelia Schepers, Ph.D., assistant professor, SOE, who wrote:

“I had the opportunity to engage with Tanner a few times prior to our departure from in-person life at MSU Denver. In the past couple of months, we have asked him and a few others to gather literature around a few key areas. He was meticulous about gathering the data but more importantly was excited to engage with the content. His excitement translated into work that went above and beyond what was expected. His annotations of the citations showed that he read enough of the work that he was better able to categorize it, exceeding what was asked of him. His enthusiasm about the task, coupled with his ability to pick it up quickly as well as his attention to necessary detail, has made his contributions to our team invaluable.”

And nominated by Kathryn Young, who wrote:

“Tanner is the best work-study student ever! I work on the trauma-informed practices (TIP) program in the School of Education, and we needed some help finding literature for upcoming grants. Initially, we had him work on finding literature about whiteness, and he turned up more than 100 recent studies in a matter of weeks. Then, we asked him to look into microaggressions – 100 more articles. Then, I asked him to move to a team working on TIP literature, and he returned 100 more articles! Literature-review work is sometimes difficult for graduate students, but Tanner jumped right in. He spent 10 hours a week finding articles for the project and sent weekly updates on his progress. His speed at this work made for so many articles that we finally had to ask him to stop so we could catch up. I deeply appreciate the professionalism and intellectual desire Tanner brought to this work and now have so much work to do!”

Tanner, congratulations. You have set a Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week record for most nominations for a single employee – and possibly a literature-gathering record as well. It sounds like you have found the ideal work-study position for your skills and academic interest. Thank you for being such an asset to your team and to the University.

To nominate outstanding employees for the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week award, please complete the form on the Roadrunner Shoutout of the Week webpage. Tell us how your nominee is making an impact through great teaching, service to students or innovation. Winners will be selected each week and profiled in the Early Bird on Thursdays. Winners will also get a shoutout on social media.

Topics: Award, Excellence, Roadrunner Shoutout

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