Story by Ciara Tate of the Metro Post-Telegraph, and published as a special feature of The Metropolitan.
Shaun T. Schafer, Ph.D., and chair of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communications, received the CPS Outstanding Teaching Award on Sept. 12, at the College of Professional Studies breakfast at St. Cajetan’s. Schafer’s nomination came from fellow colleagues, and the award was presented by interim CPS Dean Jenn Capps.
“It was a surprise to me,” Schafer said. “I did not know that I was nominated, much less that I had won.”
MSU Denver journalism major Adam Barnhardt said Schafer has been an impactful adviser to him. Barnhardt added that he specifically requests Schafer when plotting his next steps at Metro.
“Though I have never had a class with him,” Barnhardt said, “I’ve actively gone to his public appearances and met with him for advice. I was shocked to find out that he was actively reading the work I did with the campus magazine after I told him I’d become a writer there. That level of attention is admirable.”
Punctuating his achievement, earlier in the year Schafer received the Educator of the Year award from the Society of Professional Journalists, complementing his 2014 Instructor of the Year Award from First Year Success.
Communications/broadcast major Nathan Matoush said Schafer is a very passionate individual who has the ability to carry that passion and dignity over to young aspiring student journalists.
At 18, Schafer landed his first reporting job at the Kansas City Business Journal. Later, he caught on with the Tulsa World in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He had years of experience as a reporter under his belt before starting a career as a journalism professor. The University of Oklahoma alumnus began teaching in 2004 at rival Oklahoma State University.
Schafer began his teaching career at MSU Denver in the fall of 2008. He started as an adjunct professor, and 11 years later sits as the chair for the Journalism and Technical Communication department.
Schafer said Capps told him that colleagues had written several “impassioned” nominating letters.
“I am feeling quite flattered,” he said.