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Professor Receives 2020 International Individual Educator Award for Excellence

Release Date: October 23, 2020

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Colorado State University Pueblo’s Alegria Ribadeneira, Ph.D. professor, director of world languages, assistant chair for English and world languages was awarded the 2020 International Individual Educator Award for Excellence by Open Education Global.

“I am still in shock with this being a global organization,” said Ribadeneira. “The truth is that everything I do, I do for our students. They inspire me every day! I want them to have a voice in the world and feel empowered. I want them to know that they have so much to contribute to the world. I also love my colleagues and I enjoy helping them embrace approaches and technologies that will innovate their teaching and benefit their students. I am a lucky person that I get to do what I love.”

Open Education Global is a member-based, global, non-profit supporting the development and use of OER around the world whose purpose is to expand access to education enabling every person on earth to access and contribute, to improve the quality of education; make education more affordable, and foster collaboration and sharing through co-creation of education materials and the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute them.

The award honors innovative teachers and professors from around the world who have published and/or used a significant body of open educational resources (OER) over a sustained period of at least one year in his/her teaching practice, as well as an individual whose open course materials and professional practices have been recognized as having an impact, and influencing peers to share more openly.

Ribadeneira’s nominator, Jonathan Poritz, Ph.D. associate professor of mathematics spoke highly of this honor. “Some of the educators I respect the most from across the entire globe are involved in the open education movement,” said Poritz. “From among this stellar group, our very own Alegria was chosen by the OE Global organization as the unique recipient of the individual Educator Award. I could not be more thrilled for her and the University,” added Poritz. 

OER are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. 

In acknowledging Ribadeneira and her contributions, she was cited for making a difference at CSU Pueblo, and around the region, because of her work for students and the leadership she shows in her approaches to teaching.

“The openly available products of Dr. Ribadeneira’s student’s efforts energize the students and give them a feeling of the power of their own stories, and awareness that these stories can be valuable for their education and not something to be ashamed of, or to be papered over, in a kind of self-censorship to fit with the dominant American culture,” said Poritz.

Ribadeneira was also attributed to finding ways to make the varied living experiences and complex cultural backgrounds of CSU Pueblo’s diverse student body into an asset in their learning and commitment to their education. She achieved this by giving students voice and agency in their work in her classes, including producing student-authored textbooks.

Professor Ribadeneira’s affinity for sharing her pedagogical knowledge and experience across campus with all of her colleagues have made profound contributions to the learning environment at CSU-Pueblo, explained Mohamed Abdelrahman, Ph.D. provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at CSU Pueblo.  “Dr. Ribedeneira is a humble individual who has become a beacon of knowledge with a pedagogy that focuses on finding ways to empower students and help them find their voice through their work in her classes,” said Abdelrahman.

Instructors across the state and nation have also benefited from Ribadeneirs’s philosophies through workshops she has conducted on teaching concepts and strategies at the state and national level, including her work with the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA.

Given Ribadeneira’s growing reputation, locally, nationally and now globally, earlier this year she was named the recipient of the 2020 Colorado Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT) to one K-16 World Language teacher. She also received the 2020 Post-Secondary Excellence in Teaching Award from the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching, which represents nine states.

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