An associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver who works to pave the way for students of color to become future teachers has been named the University of Colorado’s Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador.
Margarita Bianco, Ed.D., teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in special education, educational psychology and urban community teacher education at CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development.
During the two-year appointment, CU’s Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador serves as an advocate for K-12 and higher education, for scholarly approaches to teaching and learning, and for establishing environments that promote access and success from all sectors of the diverse population in Colorado and beyond. The ambassador leads presentations and workshops about education and learning to audiences including state lawmakers, the CU Board of Regents, educators, the media and the general public.
“Dr. Bianco exemplifies the highest quality that CU faculty members bring to educating our students and serving communities with outreach across Colorado,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “She’ll make an outstanding advocate for CU and higher education in this public role, which honors the tremendous legacy of Dr. Timmerhaus.”
Bianco joined the CU Denver faculty in 2006. She previously served as an adjunct professor at CU Boulder and worked for more than 20 years as a K-12 classroom teacher in public and private schools in the U.S. and overseas.
She is the founder and executive director of Pathways2Teaching, an innovative pre-collegiate program that encourages high school students of color to enter the teacher workforce as a way of addressing educational inequity.
“I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go to college,” Bianco said. “It is because of professors like Dr. Timmerhaus who demonstrated unwavering dedication to their students that I am where I am in my own career trajectory – and why I share the same passion for teaching, the teaching profession and dedication to my students.
“As the Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador, I am honored to represent the enterprise of teaching and learning at the University of Colorado to communities throughout our state and beyond.”
The Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador award honors the memory of professor Klaus Timmerhaus, a member of the faculty of chemical and biological engineering at CU Boulder from 1953 until his retirement in 1995. Timmerhaus received many honors, including being named to the National Academy of Engineering and being selected to the first group of President’s Teaching Scholars at the university. An active and enthusiastic advocate of teaching, Timmerhaus provided a bequest to support designated faculty members in promoting discussion of education throughout Colorado.
“Klaus was a first-generation student himself while in college," said Mary Ann Shea, director of the President's Teaching Scholars Program. "He was devoted to education for Colorado students. The Ambassador Award honors his legacy and generous gift. Professor Bianco will ably carry on his tradition.”
Faculty from across the four-campus CU system are eligible to be honored with the ambassadorship, which includes a $25,000 award per year for up to two years. Bianco steps into the role served the past two years by CU Boulder’s Noah Finkelstein, Ph.D.
Bianco received the CU Denver campuswide Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. Among her many other honors are the Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award, Council for Learning Disabilities, 2015; the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities Professional of the Year, 2015; the School of Education and Human Development Excellence in Teaching Award, 2012; and the CU faculty recipient of the Rosa Parks Diversity Award, 2011.
Read more: Five questions for Margarita Bianco (2013)