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Professor honored as newest Distinguished Faculty recipient

It's no wonder Sarah Swedberg, PhD, was named the 2020 Distinguished Faculty. The professor of history has taught thousands of students during her 20-year tenure at Colorado Mesa University, and has contributed to numerous publications, presented at an array of conferences, earned grants and fellowships, and regularly serves the campus community and community at large. 

“Each year I am impressed by the talent, work and dedication of our Distinguished Faculty nominees. This year is no exception,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “I’d like to extend my congratulations to Dr. Swedberg for this well-deserved honor.” 

Swedberg is a scholar of the early American republic. Her research focuses on anxiety of the first generation of American citizens as they worked to create governments. Throughout the years, she’s contributed to the field in the form of journal articles, book reviews, encyclopedia articles and blog posts. Her articles include “Teaching Colonial American History”, “Teaching Women’s History: I Offered Social history, They Took Away Heroes”, and “The Popular Culture of Depression in the Early American Republic.” Her book, Liberty and Insanity in the Age of the American Revolution, is due to be published in 2021. 

"Dr. Swedberg and I arrived at CMU in the same year, and I have always enjoyed our conversations, particularly about her fascinating research on the early U.S. republic,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Kurt Haas, PhD. “I'm thrilled that we have this chance to honor her." 

Swedberg’s research has been aided by a number of fellowships such as the Howard H. Peckham Fellowship on Revolutionary America at the Clements Library and the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellowship. 

She has not only been committed to teaching but also to serving the campus community and community at large. Swedberg served on the faculty senate, salary and benefits committee, faculty effort allocation working group and has served on the CMU diversity working group. She was also a pioneering leader for LGBTQ students, serving as an early advisor to what is now the Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) and creating the essential learning course, Introduction to LGBTQ Studies. She devotes much of her time to community service, including having served as a board member for Western Equality, KWSI-LP and Colorado West Pride. More recently she served as a founding member of the Jeff Basinger Leadership Scholarship committee that established the first scholarship for LGBTQ students attending CMU. 

"Although I didn’t see many students like me reflected in my daily experiences, I had the opportunity to explore history in a way that reflected me - brown, queer and female," said alumna Jennifer Montoya, '03. "Sarah Swedberg helped me feel accepted, visible, valued and heard at Mesa State College." 

The Distinguished Faculty award is a peer honor chosen by a secret committee. Recommendations for nominees come from fellow faculty members. It is highly competitive, according to Haas, and is growing as CMU adds more and more stand-out professors. Other nominees for the 2020 award included Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Scott Bevill, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology Eriek Hansen, PhD, Professor of Music and Director of Bands Calvin Hofer, DMA, Professor of Criminal Justice John Reece, PhD, Associate Professor of History Adam T. Rosenbaum, PhD, and Assistant Professor of History Timothy Winegard, PhD. 


Written by Katlin Birdsall