Steamboat Springs A local Colorado Mountain College associate professor of mathematics has been named faculty member of the year for the seven CMC campuses spread across the north central portion of the state.
Stephen Craig, who started a pre-engineering program at CMC's Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs, received the award during a noon ceremony Thursday in front of his peers and CMC President Dr. Bob Spuhler. Staff, faculty and students at the Alpine Campus nominated Craig.
"I came here to become part of the faculty at one of the best small colleges anywhere," Craig said. "In terms of this award, it's about what we've accomplished as a group."
Alpine Campus Dean Kerry Hart said students often turn to Craig for advice.
"This award reflects well on Stephen, the math program and CMC," Hart said. "It's an honor and a source of pride."
The Alpine Campus selected Diane Wallace as its adjunct, or part-time, faculty of the year. Wallace began teaching English as a second language at CMC in 2003. She has a master's degree in education from the University of Washington and speaks both French and Spanish.
Craig asked Spuhler to hand his award to Assistant Campus Dean of Instruction Anita "AJ" Janis, so that she could present it to him.
Craig attended the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in applied mathematics, along with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering. He developed an engineering program at CMC that is now part of a transfer agreement with the University of Colorado.
"Steve has taken the initiative to talk to four-year colleges to ensure a pathway to a degree" in engineering, Janis said.
Jen le Roux, associate professor of developmental studies, said Craig sets high standards for himself and his students. She praised his ability to envision the future and improve educational quality through the two-year engineering program.
Craig said the Alpine Campus has a diverse student body, and every year, a group of students make noteworthy academic strides.
"Watching their growth has been very rewarding," he said.
Student Brandon Andersen submitted a written recommendation on behalf of Craig: "He refuses to believe that any of us can't make it as engineers and is always there to provide support to the students in any way he can 24/7. Stephen is the reason I am still at CMC and is also the reason I am so interested in my education. I am lucky to have him as a teacher."
Craig also helps with student activities at the Alpine Campus. He helped design a room for this year's Halloween haunted house, one of the fund-raising activities for the astronomy club. He also helped with the campus-based biodiesel program. He runs a CMC broomball league and has been a faculty advisor for the EFFORT (Engineers for Finding Optional Resource Technologies) club. Under his guidance, EFFORT visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) near Denver.
One of Craig's more unusual activities is putting together CMC race teams for the Kinetic Sculpture Challenge, a Boulder-based event in which teams compete using their handcrafted vehicles to race across land and water. The "sculptures" refer to the nonmotorized engineering hybrids that the teams design. He has participated in this race most years since 1990.