The Betty Coffey Award honors the memory of an outstanding teacher and pioneering professor at Montana State University. Betty Coffey taught computer science in the College of Engineering from 1977 until her death in 1984, and was distinguished as the first woman ever to achieve tenure in the college. The award was created in 1986, and recognizes her considerable contributions to faculty development, teaching excellence and women's equity
Each year the Women's & Gender Studies Committee seeks nominations of faculty and staff who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in incorporating women's perspectives into the curriculum or developing academic programs that contribute to the elimination of persistent barriers to women's success at MSU. The award winner is honored at both the Women's & Gender Studies reception and the university's spring convocation.
Between 1986 and 2011, sixteen women have been recognized with Coffey Awards, including faculty from the Colleges of Letters & Science, Agriculture, Nursing and Engineering. Several award winners have received the award for creating innovative courses that introduce students to women's issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Other winners have been the instigators of important programs on campus that provide opportunities for women students to gain access to traditionally male disciplines and to broaden their educational and career opportunities.
1986, Paula Petrik, History & Philosophy
1988, Lynda Sexson, History & Philosophy
1998, Melody Zajdel, English
1999, Adele Pittendrigh, Letters & Science
2000, Mary Murphy, History & Philosophy
2001, Sharon Hapner, Cell Biology & Neuroscience
2002, Michelle Maskiell, History & Philosophy
2003, Joan Henson, Microbiology
2004, Christian Sarver, VOICE Center
2005, Wendy Stock, Agricultural Economics & Economics
2006, Kay Chafey, Nursing
2007, Christiana Stoddard, Agricultural Economics & Economic
2008 Heidi Sherick, College of Engineering
2009 Susan Kollin, English
2010 Jessi Smith, Psychology
2011 Leah Schmalzbauer, Sociology & Anthropology
2012 Sara Rushing, Political Science
2013 Bethany Letiecq, health and human development
Give to the Betty Coffey Award Fund
The Betty Coffey Award was initiated through generous memorial gifts from friends and colleagues. Now we seek to raise the award fund to fully endowed status, ensuring that those who contribute to the significant advancement of women at Montana State University will continue to be honored by this annual recognition. To learn more, click here.