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The NMSU Teaching Academy supports Vision 2020 by seeking to improve student learning by providing professional development to NMSU educators in teaching, leadership, and mentoring. The Academy helps NMSU educators develop extraordinary teaching lives embedded in stellar careers.

Honorary Member

Dr. Esther Devall came to NMSU as a faculty member in 1991. Esther received the Roush Award for Teaching Excellence in 1997, and the College of ACES Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000. As a researcher, Esther brought in over $13 million in federal and state grants. She received the Distinguished Research Award from ACES in 2010. Since 2010, Esther has served as the department head of two departments: the academic and extension departments of Family and Consumer Sciences. During that time, she has also chaired the Department Head Academy, a program at the Teaching Academy that helps department heads lead and manage. As part of her legacy to NMSU, Esther has left a significant planned gift to the Teaching Academy. By doing so, Esther has helped ensure that the Academy is woven into the fabric that is NMSU.

Most Distinguished Graduate Member

Tara Young is a first year PhD student in the Psychology Department who teaches Social Psychology and Introductory Psychology. She conducts research on behavioral health decision making and gender equality. Some of her favorite Teaching Academy memories this year were participating in an intensive summer workshop that focused on team-based learning, which she now uses in her classes, a book club on evidence-based instructional practices, and the Publish & Flourish scholarly writing program.

Most Distinguished Member

Dr. Mary Prentice returned to her faculty position last August after serving for four years as department head of Educational Leadership and Administration. Mary is a Teaching Academy Fellow, and a co-facilitator of regular workshops on diversity. In 2009, she won the Outstanding Workshop Award for her workshop on co-creating the syllabus with students. Mary has been a dedicated Teaching Academy attendee ever since coming to NMSU in 2002. Since that time, she has amassed more than 500 hours of Teaching Academy credit. Mary says she turned to the Teaching Academy for support and mentorship in strengthening her teaching and leadership skills. Over the past year, she has attended OCIP’s three-week Summer Institute for Online Course Development, completed a two-week Quality Matters peer reviewer certification, and finished OCIP’s One Year Plus online teaching program.

Outstanding Mentor

Dr. Mónica Torres has worked in higher education for thirty-five years. She’s been at NMSU since 2002—as a faculty member and department head at the Las Cruces campus—and as DACC’s chief academic officer. Mónica is a Teaching Academy Fellow and has served in several capacities this year: as presenter and mentor for the Advancing Leaders Program; as panel member for the Department Head Academy; and as facilitator for workshops on diversity and equity. She has had a profound impact on the faculty she has mentored over the years.

Outstanding Workshop

Dr. Michèle Shuster is an associate professor in the biology department. She regularly uses active learning approaches in her teaching, including classroom flipping and case studies. Her scholarly work helps K-8 teachers and postdocs design and implement case studies for their teaching. She has received the NMSU Roush and Westhafer awards for excellence in teaching. She also won the 2008 award for the outstanding workshop on clickers. Michèle is a Teaching Academy Fellow who regularly presents workshops at the Academy. The winning workshop was entitled, Active Learning: What is it, how do you implement it, and why would you want to?

Truly Innovative Teaching

Last fall Dr. Gerri Elise McCulloh taught two technical writing classes. The student response to those classes was so positive, she had more than 100 students on the wait list for her spring class. Because Gerri wants students to help solve problems where they work, play, live, and learn, her classes require research and writing about the NMSU environment. In the past, students chose to explore issues such as bike paths, bike sharing, recycling, campus safety, irrigation, and storm water runoff. As one student put it, "The concepts have helped me to expand as a thinker, writer, and researcher.  I can definitely say that this class will stay with me at a cellular level, if not deeper.”

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