CSU Service 1980 to 2013
Faculty, School of Education
Rich is married to Barbara, a Fort Collins physical therapist and they have one son, Chris, who graduated from CSU in May 2014.
Feller grew up in Cold Spring, New York with his two sisters and brother. He attended public high school where he learned the invaluable relationship between learning and expanding career and life choices.
Inspired by his time in the public school system, Feller’s commitment to the American public school system derives from his belief that it provides access and opportunity for all. By supporting teachers through increased parent involvement, Feller believes the public school system can be strengthened by supporting out of school systems and structures.
Growing up, Feller felt much loved and was consistently encouraged to pursue more education. He is grateful for his family’s support to pursue purpose based commitments. This was especially important, as fewer students went to college from his high school than presently do.
At age 17, he left home for college to pursue opportunities not available to his siblings or cousins. He was fascinated by politics and could see that those who spoke out and had a voice had more influence in society. In college, he learned to be a self-advocate while protesting against the Vietnam War.
Education and Pre-CSU Employment
While growing up, Feller was supported by many. After receiving government grants to help fund his undergraduate and Ph.D. programs, he became passionate about giving students a voice and access to education.
Feller began his education at Westfield State College where he graduated in 1972 with a double major in Elementary Education and Psychology. He remained there for his Masters of Education degree in Administration of Occupational Education in 1973. As a graduate teaching assistant in Massachusetts, Feller worked to move special needs adults from live-in institutions. During this experience, he witnessed significant public efforts connecting learning and work, and found it to be an empowering strategy useful in his future teaching.
Before returning to the university for his Ph.D., Feller spent time working as an elementary, junior high and vocational school counselor.
He received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University in Education and Human Resource Studies in 1978, while also earning his National Counselor Certification and National Career Counselor Certification.
CSU Work History, Research, and Engagement
Dr. Rich Feller was a professor of counseling and career development in the School of Education from 1980 – 2013, where he influenced the field of career counseling with innovative methods. He taught graduate courses in career development, counseling, and organizational performance and change. Having served fast food at McDonald’s to study youth employment, co-produced a video in Sudan on starvation and famine relief, and co-authored a career development program used by more than 20 million students; he enjoyed making classes high energy, experiential, and reflective.
In 1982, while Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University, Feller began working with Richard Bolles, the author of the best seller What Color is Your Parachute? He mapped out his own career, 90 percent of which has come true. Over twenty-five years later, Bolles featured Feller’s plan in his 2007 edition and his work has been featured in all subsequent editions of the book. Feller has become a career counseling expert in his own right, developing a video series entitled Tour of Your Tomorrow, which is now in its third edition and used in over 2,500 organizations and school systems.
Feller is one of twelve University Distinguished Teaching Scholars at CSU and the recipient of the National Career Development Association’s Eminent Career Award. The Rich Feller Leadership Award was created by the Colorado Career Development Association in 2007. The award is given annually and was named after Rich to honor him for his contributions. In 2012-13, he served as the President of the National Career Development Association, the leading career development association in the world.
With many travel and work experiences, Feller has found he loved most every career opportunity, as he viewed them as a way to learn and help others maximize their choices. He appreciates CSU’s role in helping him see the world. He was allowed to take four full sabbaticals and used them to participate in a number of unique study and work experiences. In 1986, Feller participated in the Phi Delta Kappan Study Tour, which took him to the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Japan. The same year, he traveled throughout Africa and Europe through a United Nations funded project. In 1995, Feller was a fellow at the Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs before working in Thailand from 1998-1999 on the Thailand Skills Development Project as a Career Guidance Specialist. His later served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Canberra, Australia.
While working for NASA as a consultant from 2009-11, Feller worked to promote STEM careers and training with advisers and counselors nationwide. Feller currently runs the www.stemcareer.com
website which brokers support to counselors and STEM advocates.
Feller credits his travel experiences to his growth as a teacher, as he was able to bring back larger contexts to the classroom.
Mentors and Valued Colleagues
Feller thanks his School of Education colleagues for giving him the room to travel and to use his creativity on off campus and outreach efforts. Their support and trust in his work allowed him to pursue his research and entrepreneurial efforts.
Tex Anderson originally hired Feller at CSU and gave him lots of room to explore his interests while at the University. Feller is grateful for Anderson’s encouragement and the freedom he gave him to test out ideas.
Feller appreciated the support of Ellie Gilfoyle and Nancy Hartley who gave frequent opportunities and encouragement to participate within university leadership and enact his creativity.
One of the most influential of his colleagues was Joe Vasos, who helped Feller understand how film could distribute ideas beyond campus. Vasos provided tremendous opportunities to package his ideas to reach the larger world. In 1987, Feller accompanied Vasos to the Sudan to produce a United Nations famine relief training video. Recently, Vasos and Feller teamed up to produce a career development DVD, “Making the Most of Your Abilities.”
Grant Sherwood was a positive source of encouragement who taught Feller about the power of Student Affairs and its value to the university experience. Feller utilized those lessons into his role as the Director of Student Affairs in Higher Education Graduate Program at CSU from 1983-1990.
2013 Colorado State University’s Oliver Pennock Distinguished Service Award
2010 Elected President of the National Career Development Association (2012-13)
2009 Eminent Career Award, National Career Development Association
2008 Rich Feller Leadership Award (Established in 2008 by Colorado Career Development
Association…awarded each year at annual Conference)
2007 Outstanding Faculty Award, Academic Advancement Center’s
2007 Sabbatical (Fall Term)
2005 Colorado State University Alumni Association Best Teacher Award
2004 College of Applied Sciences, Outstanding Teacher
2004 Selected as Visiting Professor, Canberra University, AU (Spring 05 term)
2004 Selected as Fellow, National Career Development Association
2003 Selected University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Colorado State University
2001 QwestDex Excellence in Education Award
2000 Sabbatical (Academic Year)
1997 National Career Development Association (President’s Award)
1995 American Spirit Award (Association for Career and Technical Education)
1995 Keizai Koho Center Fellowship (Japan)
1995 Upsilon Nu Chi Visiting Scholar, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
1994 Sabbatical (Academic Year)
1993 National Career Development Association (Merit Award)
1991 Outstanding Contributor’s Award, NOICC
1990 Cliff Houston Distinguished Service Award, CACD
1989 Outstanding Service, American Vocational Association, Guidance Division
1988 Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (Faculty initiate)
1987 American Vocational Association Guidance Division Recognition Plaque
1986 Sabbatical (Academic Year)
1985 Exemplary Guidance Program Award, Colorado Counseling Association
1985 Outstanding Faculty Award, Colorado State University Alumni Association
1985 President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement, Colorado Career Development Association
1985 Research Award, Phi Delta Kappa Chapter
1984 Nominated for “Distinguished Service” Award, Colorado State University
1983 Leadership Fort Collins, Fort Collins, Colorado
1983 Shavanno Leadership Institute, Golden, Colorado (sponsored by Hillsdale College)
1976-78 Education Professional Development Act Fellowship Program, U.S.D.E.
1974 General Electric Career Guidance Fellowship, Boston University
What is Rich doing today?
Feller believes it best to retire into something, not from something. As an advocate for lifelong learning and purpose and its relationship to life satisfaction, he believes he will never retire in the traditional sense. He’s excited take the lessons learned at CSU to offer consulting nationally and internationally. Currently, Feller is working as a Thought Leader for the Life Reimagined Project, helping 39 million AARP members find meaning and purpose in navigating a new phase of aging and career development. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Advisors for YouScience, a Nashville company developing an aptitude-based comprehensive career planning system to empower young adults in career planning.