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.
Mary O'Connell has served on the NMSU faculty since 1985. She is a Regents Professor and Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. She has led NSF funded faculty mentoring efforts at NMSU with attention towards faculty diversity. Her philosophy of mentoring pre-tenure is "to listen more and talk less."
Outstanding Mentor Award
Most Distinguished Member
Henrietta Williams Pichon is an assistant professor in Educational Leadership and Administration (ELA). Her teaching focus is higher education administration and her research focus is the access and persistence of historically underrepresented groups in higher education.
As a faculty member in ELA, she has focused her professional development time on events that will make her a better teacher, scholar, and university citizen. Several that stand out are Team Mentoring; OCIP (online teaching); Teaching workshops on teaching difficult/sensitive topics, flipped classrooms, and so on; Managing diversity (with Prudence Carter, Stanford); and Writing groups.
She is especially thankful for the work in the writing groups because after receiving feedback on a manuscript, she was able to get three publications from it.
The Truly Innovative Teaching Award, formerly the Teaching Academy Innovation Award, was established as an endowed award in 2014 through a gift of Elise “Pookie” and Michael Sautter. Harry and Jenny Truly were Pookie’s parents, who supported, praised, and encouraged both Pookie and Michael’s work as educators.
Alla Kammerdiner wins this award for her work to make student learning a richer, more joyful experience. Since Spring 2014, she has been teaching Engineering Economy using the innovative paradigm of game-based learning. Her course is set up as a semester-long game in which students learn engineering economy by investing and managing their virtual money in teams. Her students say it is "an exciting challenge to analyze data and try to out-maneuver the other teams."
Truly Innovative Teaching Award
Satya Rao is a professor, undergraduate program coordinator, and graduate public health certificate program coordinator in the Department of Public Health Sciences. In addition to teaching, she is involved in research and service initiatives focused on violence, mental health, and suicide in communities of color, rural, and border communities. Her work also explores the relationship between childhood trauma and suicide. She co-founded the Southern New Mexico Suicide Prevention and Survivors' Support Coalition in 2011 to raise awareness, educate, and support families dealing with suicide. She has served as chair of the New Mexico Injury Prevention Coalition and as Co-President of New Mexico Public Health Association.
Outstanding Workshop Award
Yuliana Zaikman is a second-year PhD student in the Psychology Department. She teaches Sexual Behavior and Introduction to Psychology both in-person and online. Her courses employ the use of Team-Based Learning as well as the application of course concepts to popular media such as Harry Potter novels and The Big Bang Theory. This past year, she participated in several Academy workshops including Teaching Students Through Writing. She also led two workshops of her own on Team-Based Learning and on using media to make your course come alive. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching TV.
Most Distinguished Graduate Member
Jean Conway has worked quarter-time at the Teaching Academy this year, bringing her NMSU service to a quarter century. Jean has served NMSU since 1990, beginning in the Center for Educational Development (CED), continuing through the transition to the Teaching Academy. She served as interim director of the CED for seven years and and as associate director of the Teaching Academy for 12 years.