Each year, Colorado State University students and alumni nominate teachers who have inspired them and made an impact on their lives. Six of these influential educators are selected by a committee of faculty, students, and staff to receive the Best Teacher Awards, and this year were honored at a banquet on March 28.

Dan Baker (Ph.D., ’09)

Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

“As a teacher, the most profound moment is crossing paths with former students and hearing about the impact I’ve had on their life and career. Seeing their success, no matter their life’s path, is deeply satisfying.”

Dan Baker has taught more than 5,000 students in his career. He is works to enhance the learning experience through engaging activities, intentional course design, and a supportive classroom environment.

Anna Bernhard M.L.I.S., M.Phil.

Liberal Arts

“I believe in the mission of educating students about information literacy, research, and writing, thereby giving students the tools to continue learning long after graduation.”

An academic librarian with a passion for the way we communicate and process ideas, Anna Bernhard directs CSU’s Stanley G. Wold Resource Center and Library.

Jeff Biegert B.A.

Health & Human Sciences

“My greatest accomplishment in education is seeing my students out in the world working, thriving, innovating, and collaborating in the brewing, fermentation, and food and beverage industries.”

Jeff Biegert spent 21 years refining his craft at New Belgium Brewing. A full-time CSU instructor since 2018, he manages the two on-campus breweries as well as teaching and mentoring student interns.

Paulo R. Borges de Brito (M.S., ’10)


“Like many immigrants and people of color in predominantly white academic spaces, I often felt like I didn’t belong. That has created a drive to do everything I can to connect students in marginalized communities with the best educational resources available.”

Paulo Brito has contributed to two books on sustainable development, and his research is on bioeconomy.

Chris Henle (M.S., ’98; Ph.D., ’01)


“The greatest honor for me as a professor is when former students reach out years after graduation to share how the class I taught or the advice I gave them made a difference in their lives and advanced their career.”

A first-generation college student herself, Chris Henle teaches human resource management and advises the student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Johnny Plastini M.F.A.

Liberal Arts

“I view education as more of a river than a lake. It is always changing, and we as professors are stewards in a long compendium of data transfer.”

Johnny Plastini employs sustainable printmaking, papermaking, and book arts processes to meaningfully link the arts and sciences together. His approach to teaching removes the convention of the professor as an authoritarian and empowers student agency.