Faculty & Staff

UCCS campusClick on a faculty or staff member's name to view bio and UCCSTeach courses.

Tom Christensen, PhD, Co-Director 

Pat McGuire, PhD, Co-Director 

Robert Gagnon, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher 

April Lanotte, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher 

Vickie Newkirk, Program Coordinator 

Curtis Turner, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher 

James Burkhart, PhD, Professor 

Raphael Sassower, PhD, Professor 

Rinaldo Schinazi, PhD, Professor 


Tom Christensen

Tom Christensen, PhD, Co-Director

Dr. Tom Christensen is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Energy Science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He is serving as co-Chair of the Department and Co-Director of the UCCSTeach program. Tom has taught a wide variety of courses and has won both the college and campus-wide teaching awards. His research interests are in experimental surface and thin film physics. He conducts workshops and short courses on a variety of topics in vacuum and thin film technology.

UCCSTeach courses: UTLS 3040 - Research Methods

Learn more about Dr. Tom Christensen


Pat McGuire

Pat McGuire, PhD, Co-Director

In addition to co-directing the UCCSTeach program, Pat currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education (Math and Technology Education). Prior to joining the UCCS faculty, Pat worked as a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Virginia. He also worked as a high school math teacher in the Pittsburgh area. His primary research interests include curriculum and instruction in early childhood and secondary mathematics education, instructional technology in mathematics learning environments, and intelligent tutoring systems.

UCCSTeach courses: UTED 3020 - Classroom Interactions

Learn more about Dr. Pat McGuire


Bobby Gagnon

Robert Gagnon, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher

Robert "Bobby" Gagnon has a diverse education background. He has a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Space Studies from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and his thesis was focused on Project-Based Learning. He has eight years in the classroom in elementary education, which helps him bring a unique perspective to the UCCSTeach program. He has teaching experience at the elementary, middle, high school, and university levels, including being an adjunct professor for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Regis University, and Colorado State University, Pueblo. Mr. Gagnon's broad experience includes serving as a Space Education Specialist at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs.  During this time, Mr. Gagnon created two Master's level science content courses for educators. He was program director of the Space Foundation's Teacher Liaison program, which has over 250 educators from 43 different states. He has provided trainings in educational content and concept all over the country.

UCCSTeach courses: UTED 1010 - Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching, UTED 4710 - Project-Based Instruction, UTED 4730 - Apprentice Teaching/Seminar


April Lanotte

April Lanotte, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher

April Lanotte returns to Colorado and UCCS after spending two years as an Einstein Educational Fellow at NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. With a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Space Studies emphasis from UCCS, and a Master’s degree in English Literature with a non-fiction science writing emphasis from Colorado State University, April brings a diversity of experiences to UCCSTeach. In addition to teaching at UCCS, April continues to support education at NASA-Langley Research Center and writes curriculum for the Challenger Center for Space Studies. During her 15+ years of experience in K-12 and higher education, April has worked to help everyone see that they, too, are a part of the exciting math and science that is happening all around them. Classroom teaching experiences in Calexico, CA; inner-city Pittsburgh, PA; Simla, CO; and Colorado Springs has shaped her interest in giving students of all backgrounds access to cutting edge science and technology, and for helping students bridge the transition between their K-12 educational experiences and a successful college career.

UCCSTeach courses: UTED 1010 - Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching, UTED 1020 - Step 2: Inquiry-Based Lesson Design,  UTED 3020 - Classroom Interactions, UTED 4720 - Reading in the Content Area


Vickie Newkirk

Vickie Newkirk, Program Coordinator

Vickie Newkirk is the UCCSTeach Program Coordinator with the College of Education and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Vickie spent the past 11 years working in administration at the middle school level and prior to that worked as a legal office administrator in Arizona for 20 years. Vickie combines her legal background and administrative work with her love for education in the Program Coordinator position to continue to build the UCCSTeach Program. She looks forward to taking on the challenge of making the UCCSTeach Program one of the best and considers it an awesome opportunity to be part of developing the next generation of secondary math and science teachers. Vickie earned her BS in Information Technology in 2004 from the University of Phoenix, Southern Colorado Campus.



Curtis Turner

Curtis Turner, Senior Instructor/Master Teacher

Curtis Turner has worked in education for the past 20 years at basically all levels Pre k – Community College. Curtis holds Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Science from West Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado @ Denver in Educational Leadership. He worked for six years as a full time Math and Science teacher at the middle and high school levels. Curtis then served for nine years as Principal in a small K-12 school district in rural Colorado. Most recently he served as an academic Dean for Lamar Community College but has continued to teach classes while working as an administrator. Curtis has developed district level curriculum in math, science and literacy and has done extensive curriculum work in Developmental Mathematics for the State of Colorado Community College System (CCCS). In May of 2012 he completed a temporary appointment to the Mathematics Core Implementation Team for CCCS. Curtis is passionate about education and in particular mathematics education. He has seen first-hand the struggles of the first year teacher who is ill-prepared and has a strong desire to impact pre-service preparation for math and science teachers in the state of Colorado.

UCCSTeach courses: UTED 1010 - Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching, UTED 1020 - Step 2: Inquiry-Based Lesson Design, UTED 2010 - Knowing and Learning, UTLS 3040 - Research Methods, UTED 4710 - Project-Based Instruction

Affiliated Faculty

James BurkhartJames Burkhart, PhD, Professor

James Burkhart is the director of the Western Regional Radon Training Center established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is also the director of the Radon Measurements Lab. The Radon Measurements Lab has been self-supporting and has provided UCCS with over $40,000 in revenue which is available to the department for special projects. Burkhart's involvement with radon has led to his giving dozens of talks for the public, real estate professionals and schools. Also, a special course was taught for school officials through Continuing Education. Burkhart is responsible for curriculum development and teaching courses for public health officials, radon professionals (measurement labs and contractors) and the general public.

UCCSTeach courses: UTLS 3040 - Research Methods


Dr SassowerRaphael Sassower, PhD, Professor

Raphael Sassower received his MA and PhD from Boston University and his BAs in economics and philosophy from Lake Forest College. His areas of prime interest are postmodern technoscience as applied to all the sciences and cultural studies. He has published in the areas of economic and medical theory and methodology, science and technology, postmodernism, education, aesthetics, and Popperian philosophy.

UCCSTeach courses: UTLS 3030 - Perspectives on Science & Mathematics 


Dr SchinazziRinaldo Schinazi, PhD, Professor

Dr. Schinazi is a professor in the Department of Mathematics at UCCS. Dr. Schinazi has taught a variety of courses in mathematics and currently teaches Functions and Modeling (UTLS - 3480) offered through the UCCSTeach Program. His research interests, scholarly publications and grants focus on using probability models to investigate questions in population biology.

UCCSTeach courses: UTLS 3480 - Functions & Modeling


For more information about UCCS Teach, contact Program Coordinator Vickie Newkirk at vnewkirk@uccs.edu or 719-255-3446.