The title of President’s Teaching Scholar signifies CU’s highest recognition of excellence in and commitment to learning and teaching, as well as active, substantial contributions to scholarly work. CU President Bruce D. Benson solicits annual nominations of faculty for the designation, which is a lifetime appointment.
This year’s class of scholars:
Neupauer’s research focuses on groundwater hydrology, contamination and remediation, all key in the sustainable use and protection of the planet’s largest accessible freshwater source. She uses mathematical models to improve existing models of groundwater management and remediation. Her 30-plus journal publications include 15 in the field’s leading journal, Water Resources Research. On the CU-Boulder faculty since 2005, her many honors include the national Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2006), the national ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award (2006) and the Boulder Faculty Assembly’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2011). She mentors not only her students but junior faculty in her college and across the country.
“Dr. Neupauer is an active and energetic scholar; a caring and inspirational teacher and mentor; and a constructive colleague with a passion for fostering the highest standards of scholarship and pedagogy in the academic environment surrounding her,” wrote Harihar Rajaram in his nominating letter.
A physics education researcher, Otero explores the dynamic nature of the learning environment and its relationship with the evolution of learners’ ideas. Her teaching interests are in the areas of science teacher education, laboratory-based physics classrooms, history and philosophy of physics education, and learning theory. She mentors faculty and K-12 science teachers in the community to help them build learning environments that empower students. At CU since 2001, she serves as executive director of the Colorado Learning Assistant Program and is co-director and co-founder of the Center for STEM Learning. Her many awards include the national Woman Physicist Accomplishment Award and the Boulder Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence (both 2013).
“Valerie is committed to education at all levels,” wrote Steven J. Pollock in his nominating letter. “She cares deeply about students, about science education, and about educational change. And, she puts her energy into action.”