HSU’s 2019-20 Outstanding Faculty Honored

Since 1964, Humboldt State has honored outstanding faculty. William Fisher, Department of Economics, Kishan Lara-Cooper, Department of Child Development, and Cutcha Risling Baldy, Department of Native American Studies, are the recipients of the 2019-20 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

William Fisher, Department of Economics, Excellence in Teaching Award – Lecturer, has been praised for being an exciting, enthusiastic, and challenging instructor.


Fisher has worked for HSU for 7 years, teaching a number of different Economics courses, and consistently receives outstanding student evaluations. Students speak of his passion, dedication, and clarity. They admire how approachable he is and how he is always willing to help. And they appreciate his command of the subject matter, broad knowledge, and ability to engage everyone in the learning experience. “Honestly, the lectures were phenomenal,” wrote one student. Fisher also earns praise from his colleagues. “I find Will to be an engaging lecturer who is extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter and is able to portray the course content in an interesting and exciting manner,” says Beth Wilson, Department of Economics Chair.

Professor Kishan Lara-Cooper, Department of Child Development, Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, has been teaching in the Department of Child Development since 2010.


Her teaching evaluation scores and comments by students and colleagues speak to her dedication and impact she has on students’ lives. One colleague wrote of a guest lecture in his course: “She had rapport with the students, she was able to almost immediately get the students to engage in dynamic back-and-forth interactions with her, and she effectively wove together the personal and the academic, the experiential and the intellectual. The result was a true learning experience for the students.” She has a passion for teaching, which shows in her ability to explain difficult material and effectively engage students with the gentle guidance one looks for in a college professor. Many current and former students have also said she is the most influential professor they had had during their college education. It’s also clear that Dr. Lara-Cooper brings something extra to the classroom by virtue of her Native American heritage. A former student said, “She’s not only a role model for me but a role model for the whole of the Native community.”


Since 2016, Professor Cutcha Risling Baldy, Department of Native American Studies, Outstanding Service Award recipient, has established an impressive record of community service on- and off-campus. She has served as Chair for the Native American Studies department, a member of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) Career Curriculum Committee, a member of the General Education & All University Requirements Curriculum and Assessment Committee, and a CAHSS representative for the Humboldt State Enrollment Plan Recruitment Council. For over a decade she has also served as the volunteer Executive Director of the Native Women’s Collective a non-profit organization that supports the continued revitalization of Native American arts and culture. She is an affiliated faculty with the Environmental Studies Program and the Environment & Community Graduate program. She has taught several Native American Studies courses ranging from entry level general education courses to upper division courses, leaving a lasting influence on her students. One student said, “…if it were not for [Dr. Risling Baldy] I would no longer be in this program” and described how her dedication and compassion “is never-ending for her students.” She’s generous with her time and knowledge as well. One colleague wrote: “She never hoards her knowledge or resources—instead, Dr. Baldy actively distributes the fruits of her labor: her social and professional connections, her skills, her publications, her visions, her voice, her hope.”