CWU News

CWU Board of Trustees Recognizes 2021 Distinguished Professors

Central Washington University’s Board of Trustees has honored four members of the university faculty as 2021 Distinguished Professors. 

The annual award ceremony, which started in 1977, recognizes CWU faculty who have excelled in teaching, research/artistic accomplishment, and public service. The honorees’ names will appear on a continuing plaque on campus, and they each will receive a monetary award. 

This year’s winners are: 

  • Christopher Schedler — Distinguished Professor in Teaching 
  • Robert Holtfreter — Distinguished Professor in Research/Artistic Accomplishment
  • Susan Kaspari — Distinguished Professor for Service
  • Robert Shaffer Claridge — Distinguished Non-Tenure Track Faculty Teaching 

“Each of these distinguished educators brings a passion for teaching, research, and service, and we are proud to recognize their achievements,” Provost Michelle DenBeste said. “These four individuals exemplify the dedication and talent of the faculty we’re so fortunate to have at Central Washington University.”

Distinguished Professor in Teaching

Christopher Schedler, English — Schedler has presented 30 different courses during his 18 years at Central, and his teaching embraces both graduate and undergraduate, face-to-face, hybrid and online courses — not only in his areas of expertise, but also in other areas that he has researched in order to meet student needs.  

He is a respected and dedicated mentor who has directed 14 master’s theses and served on 23 graduate theses/exam committees and four undergraduate honors committees. He also has been crucial in mentoring students for the annual SOURCE research conference. 

In addition, Schedler helped pave the way for many faculty members to be able to teach online during the pandemic while serving as director of Multimodal Learning for several years. His expertise in online teaching goes far beyond CWU, and he often shares his knowledge and experience at regional and national conferences. 

Distinguished Professor in Research/Artistic Accomplishment

Robert Holtfreter, Business — Holtfreter is a locally, regionally, and nationally recognized scholar, specializing in the area of cyber fraud who has been teaching in the College of Business for 30 years. 

His research credentials are extensive, with 112 double-blind peer-reviewed articles in numerous academic professional journals; four editorial-reviewed journal articles; 50 research-related conference proceedings and panel presentations; and 27 book chapters. 

The impact of Holtfreter’s research is widely regarded around the country, and he is considered a leading authority around the world in the identity theft/cyber security-related research areas. As a result, he is also in high demand as a speaker, serving on the editorial review boards of 21 academic and professional journals. 

He also received a Distinguished Professor award from CWU in 2010.

Distinguished Professor for Service

Susan Kaspari, Geological Sciences — Kaspari has been a faculty member in the Geological Sciences Department and the Environmental Studies program at CWU since 2009. She was chosen for this year’s service award because of her efforts as an advocate for sustainability on campus, in the community, and through her research. 

Kaspari’s service has led to changes that have made CWU a greener campus, with a burgeoning culture of sustainability. She has spearheaded numerous efforts on campus that have both improved sustainable practices and created a community of faculty, students, and staff. She chaired the CWU Sustainability Council from 2018-20 and helped organize the regular Sustainability Cafes, where members of the CWU community work to implement sustainability projects across campus. 

In addition, she has worked to put CWU on the map as a sustainability-minded institution through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that helps colleges and universities track and improve their sustainability practices.

Distinguished Non-Tenure Track Faculty Teaching

Robert Shaffer Claridge, Law and Justice — Claridge has contributed to the Law and Justice Department in countless ways since coming to Central in 2014, first as a lecturer and then as a senior lecturer. 

He was selected because of his dedication to teaching, the inventiveness of his methods, the consistently high evaluations and appreciation he receives from students, and the many contributions he has made to both the Law and Justice and the Family and Consumer Sciences programs.

Among his accomplishments, Claridge has developed six new courses, revived and advised the Mock Trial Club, and regularly mentored award-winning presentations at the SOURCE research conference. The practicing lawyer in Ellensburg also stands out among non-tenure track faculty at Central for the breadth of courses he covers — 23 unique courses over six years, all without inherited syllabi or materials. 

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518.