Thomas R. Dunn, an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, has been named a Monfort Professor, one of Colorado State University’s highest honors.
A leading scholar in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer activism and memory, Dunn also has primary responsibility for training and mentoring all of the department’s graduate teaching assistants in the art of public speaking. Dunn has supervised and worked with 94 GTAs to teach more than 13,000 undergraduate students over the past eight years.
He also serves as Master Teacher Initiative coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts, in conjunction with The Institute for Teaching and Learning.
“In his short time in this role, feedback from faculty peers and college administrators has been uniform praise and applause for inaugurating discussions on campus about teaching that faculty actually want to engage in,” wrote his nominator, Meara Faw, an assistant professor of communication studies. “He is an acclaimed teacher, multiple award-winning researcher, highly sought-after advisor of graduate students, a ‘teacher of teachers,’ and exceptional servant of his department, college and discipline.”
In 2015, he was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts.
Dunn’s research focuses on the question of how LGBTQ individuals and communities leverage their shared pasts for social, political and cultural change in the present. For Dunn, this is a question of communication, as he is interested not simply in the historical facts about the queer past, but how those stories, events and memories can be used to facilitate change among various audiences, Faw wrote.
Dunn’s research has been widely acclaimed by his peers, with four top paper awards at national conferences, a top paper award at a regional conference, a journal article of the year award from a regional association, a chapter in an award-winning edited volume, two national association dissertation awards, a national association book award in the area of LGBT studies, and recognition as the 2017 premiere “New Investigator” in the subfield of critical/cultural communication.
Prior to arriving at Colorado State University, Dunn was a lecturer of rhetorical studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Georgia for 2011-12. Dunn earned his B.A. from the University of Richmond in 2002 with dual majors in rhetoric and communication studies and political science. He received his M.A. in communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University in 2005. Dunn earned his Ph.D. in communication from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, along with a Ph.D. Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
Dunn plans to use the Monfort resources to complete an extensive new book project on public memories of the “Pink Triangles” – the nearly 100,000 homosexual men across Europe persecuted by the Nazi Regime between 1933 and 1945. In addition to archival, research and travel support over the next two years, Dunn intends to use the Monfort resources to facilitate a new course and public programming about these forgotten victims and what their stories can tell us about diversity and inclusion, human rights, social justice, and ethical and responsible citizenship in the 21st century.
Monfort Professorships are awarded to faculty who are considered rising stars in their fields. The two-year awards are made possible by the Monfort Family Foundation.