Gary Ketzenbarger takes top collegewide honors

Gary Ketzenbarger and Carrie Hauser

Gary Ketzenbarger, associate professor of speech and theater and director of the college’s theater program, receives the full-time Faculty of the Year award for all of CMC’s 11 locations, from CMC President and CEO Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser. Photo Cicely Kohler

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – It was standing room only recently in Associate Professor Gary Ketzenbarger’s classroom at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley.

That’s because a cadre of college administrators and guests interrupted Ketzenbarger and the dozen or so students in his Theatre Script Analysis class for a special announcement.

“We have a surprise,” said Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of the college, smiling and holding a small statue as she approached the professor at the front of the class while the guests filed into the back of the room.

As the room erupted into applause, she presented him with this year’s coveted collegewide full-time Faculty of the Year award.

Each year, the students, staff and faculty of Colorado Mountain College nominate one outstanding full-time and one adjunct faculty member from each of the college’s seven campuses and the online learning department. From those honorees, senior administrators then select a collegewide award recipient in each of the two categories, representing the span of the college’s 12,000 square miles.

Sharing the credit

Ketzenbarger began thanking the faculty and administration that he said allowed him to receive collegewide accolades.

“I couldn’t find a better faculty and administration,” he said. “They’re priceless. And I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Mr. Brad Moore,” the theater program’s technical director and program manager. “He’s instrumental. He’s more than a colleague. He works incredibly hard, and I have to share this with him.”

Adrian Fielder, instructional chair at Colorado Mountain College in Carbondale, nominated Ketzenbarger for the award, citing the associate professor’s unique leadership abilities as key to his effectiveness with students.

“As a thespian, Gary demonstrates the vital importance of putting our learning into practice, by working right alongside our students in mounting our theater productions each year.” Fielder said. “As a teacher, Gary’s knowledge and passion for his subject matter are contagious.”

Ironically, Ketzenbarger sees it the other way around.

“I want to share this with my students,” Ketzenbarger said, when he accepted the award. “If I didn’t have good students, I couldn’t be a good teacher. Students make the teacher.

“There are so many more people I’m thankful for,” Ketzenbarger continued, citing his wife, Kelly, who also performs in some of the college’s productions and was among the day’s surprise classroom guests. He also expressed gratitude to President Hauser; Daryl Yarrow, the college’s vice president for online learning and interim campus dean; and Jane Szucs, dean of academic affairs at Spring Valley.

“Colleagues make honors like this happen,” he said.

Colorado Mountain College Faculty of the Year for 2014

Every year employees and students at each of Colorado Mountain College’s campuses can nominate adjunct and full-time faculty members for the Faculty of the Year Award. From those campus-level honorees, senior administrators then select a collegewide award recipient in each of those two categories.

Honorees for 2014 are:

Collegewide and Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Spring Valley full time: Gary Ketzenbarger; theater

Collegewide adjunct: to be announced

Aspen adjunct: Linda Loeschen; fitness

Breckenridge and Dillon full time: Robert Cartelli; business

Breckenridge and Dillon adjunct: Jeremy Deem; history, outdoor studies, sustainability studies

Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Spring Valley adjunct: Phil Halliwell; science

Edwards full time: Liz Owen; emergency medicine and paramedics

Edwards adjunct: Randy Simmonds; psychology

Leadville and Buena Vista full-time: Jason Gusaas; ski area operations

Leadville and Buena Vista adjunct: Jenna Nale; biology