Congratulations to Associate Professor of Sociology Lori Peek, who received the 2014-15 Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award in the Tenure-Track/Tenured Faculty Category at Colorado State University (CSU). This prestigious award recognizes faculty members who are instrumental in students becoming lifelong learners, critical and creative thinkers, outstanding communicators, successful in their careers, and engaged and caring citizens in their various communities. This award was established by CSU alumnus Dennis Repp, and thanks to his generous contribution, Peek will receive a $10,000 cash award in recognition of her teaching and mentoring efforts.
Dozens of current and former students wrote letters on Peek’s behalf for this award. One nomination letter said: “I will never forget the day I met Dr. Lori Peek when she committed to our Contemporary Race and Ethnic Relations class that she would know each one of our names. That gesture was just the first of many which demonstrated her genuine passion, commitment, and care for all of her students.” Another student wrote, “Part of why this class is a favorite is because of the professor. Dr. Lori Peek may be the most enthusiastic and energetic teacher I have ever had in my 16+ years of education. I have never had a teacher individualize her teaching in a classroom of more than 120 students, but she managed to learn everyone’s name, and does so every semester. Apart from how great Dr. Peek is, the bottom line is that the class makes you learn.” Many of the letters focused on how the classes students took inspired them to make a difference in the world: “I was fortunate to have Lori as my professor for two classes while I attended CSU. I immediately noticed she was unlike any teacher I have had. Her positive energy and contagious smile created a learning environment that students enjoyed. She had a passion and knowledge for what she was teaching; making it evident that she truly loved her job. It was refreshing to see someone with a love for teaching so much that it rubbed off on me. She inspired me to be a teacher myself. I often try to model actions Lori did that made me love coming to her class every day.”
Dr. Peek has been recognized numerous times for her research and teaching. In 2009, she received the Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth. Her first book, Behind the Backlash, was also selected for two major book awards. At Colorado State University, she has received the Greek Life Professor of the Year Award, the Alumni Association’s Best Teacher Award, the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Waterpik Excellence in Education Award from CSU Athletics.