Western Colorado University is proud to announce the faculty members who were recently awarded tenure and emeritus status by the Board of Trustees.
Faculty members who will become tenured on July 1 include:
Dr. Abel Chavez
Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability
A founding member of the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) program, Dr. Chavez is well respected for his problem-based approach to classroom pedagogy and mentoring relationships with MEM students. Dr. Chavez has served in many roles at Western, including on the Faculty Senate, adviser to the Hispanic Leadership Program and, most recently, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
Dr. Brian Bernhardt
Assistant Professor of Politics & Government
Since arriving at Western in 2013, Dr. Bernhardt has brought his own brand of energetic and engaging instruction to every classroom he teaches, including many of the Political Science courses he has added to the program. In addition to his development of the Western Mock Trial program, Dr. Bernhardt is active in advising students, supporting the Politics Club and serving on the Sustainability Action Committee.
Dr. Corrie Knapp
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability
In her service as a mentor for students in the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) program, Dr. Knapp works to make sure her mentees have the right skill set for the real world, resulting in an impressive 95% career placement rate. Dr. Knapp has built a thriving research culture at Western, authoring or co-authoring 11 peer-reviewed publications and raising thousands of dollars in external funding.
Dr. James Harriss
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Over his time at Western, Dr. Harriss has reinvigorated the Finance program by overhauling the curriculum and creating new classes, including the launch of a new Outdoor Industry MBA program. His focus on transforming the program has substantially increased enrollment and led to external success: students coached by Dr. Harriss recently took first place in the Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge. It’s all part of his dedication to preparing students for real-world opportunities by using real-world examples.
Dr. Elizabeth Petrie
Moncrief Chair in Petroleum Geology
Dr. Petrie isn’t just a thoughtful and professional educator to students at Western. She continuously engages in important professional development that helps raise the international reputation of the university. Through the four courses she developed and countless others she has taught, Dr. Petrie creates an interactive and engaging learning environment for all in the Geology program.
Faculty members awarded emeritus status include:
Dr. Susan Coykendall
Professor of Psychology
One of the highly regarded professors on campus for more than two decades, Dr. Coykendall is the foundation of the Psychology Department at Western, one of the more popular programs at the university. One of the more sought after letter-of-recommendation writers for graduating students, Dr. Coykendall was awarded a 2019 Distinguished Mountaineer Award for her professional service and commitment to Western.
Dr. Pete Gauss
Professor of Biology
After becoming the first Thornton Chair in Biology at Western, Dr. Gauss has gone on to become an integral part of education, research and culture at Western. He is a three-time winner of the Alumni Award for Excellence and a recipient of the Noice-Wilson Excellence in Teaching Award, in addition to his 12 peer-reviewed publications as a researcher. Outside of the lab and classroom, Dr. Gauss served on the Football Chain Gang for over 25 years.
Dr. Mark Todd
Professor of English
Creative Writing at Western wouldn’t be where it is today without the contributions of Dr. Todd. In addition to founding the Graduate Program in Creative Writing, he has taught students an astonishing array of subject matter related to the written word. The recipient of the Karen Chamberlain Lifetime Achievement Award for Colorado Poetry, Dr. Todd has helped establish Western as a destination for new generations of writers.
This group of faculty is a fraction of those who make positive contributions to the academic and individual culture at Western. Together, they represent the best of what Western has to offer.