Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award

Our faculty awards recognize outstanding experienced and new faculty at the graduate and undergraduate levels who demonstrate teaching excellence, as well as leadership and scholarship in their discipline.

The recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award will be selected from the year's Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. 

  • Top Candidates are presented to the Academic Awards Committee
  • The University Provost grants final approval
  • The award may, but will not necessarily, be awarded annually to one faculty member per academic school
  • Open to part-time and full-time faculty members
  • Award recipients will be honored during Commencement weekend, and should we have an in-person celebration, one-night accommodations and individual travel expenses to attend Commencement will be paid for by the University
  • Award recipients receive a crystal trophy 
  • Award recipients are not required to travel to Commencement to accept the award

Ms. Natascha Gast

School of Arts, Humanities, and Education

Natascha Gast  joined the University’s Department of English and Literature in 2007 as an adjunct faculty member and became a full-time instructor in 2009. Natascha is the sequence lead for all American literature courses and the course lead for classes such as “American Poetry from Bradstreet to Bukowski” and “Effective Business Communication.” 

Before joining the University, she was a developmental editor of industrial trade publications and taught at the American University in Cairo, where she was also the Writing Center Coordinator. Natascha has developed materials and services as well as supervised tutors for two online writing labs. She has two bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy from Louisiana State University and received a master’s degree in English with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Connecticut. 

Since 2014, Natascha has been an advisor for the R.E.A.D. Book Club, guiding the club from limited member participation to become a thriving organization. This student organization has achieved the highest chapter standing every year, including receiving the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award in 2021. Natascha works closely with R.E.A.D. Book Club officers and her co-advisor. She has worked on many service projects and collaborations with other student organizations. Natascha has also helped with guest author visits, virtual field trips, presentations and monthly book discussions.

Natascha's teaching philosophy is to promote lifelong learning and success in all areas. She seeks to instill critical thinking, communication skills and digital literacy in her students through the study of writing and literature. To this end, her professional research and presentations have focused on the use of technology in course design, assignments, and discussions. 

When not teaching, reading or researching, Natascha enjoys the outdoors around her home in Colorado. She also continues to travel the world.