Teaching Academy Fellows

Michaela Burkardt

Dr. Michaela Burkardt is a college professor of physics. Her teaching includes introductory physics for majors in the physical sciences and in life sciences. She has been recognized with three outstanding faculty awards from the College of Arts and Sciences. From 2009-2010, Michaela worked as faculty developer at the Teaching Academy focusing on promoting evidence-based teaching in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). She also advocates for including undergraduate learning assistants (PLAs) as partners in teaching.Michaela is available to carry out classroom visitations and she teaches a short course about teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines.

Steven Elias

Dr. Steven Elias is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Professor in the College of Business at New Mexico State University. Although Steve is interested in several areas of organizational behavior, his primary teaching and research interests revolve around leadership, managerial influence, social power, self-efficacy, and job attitudes. At the Teaching Academy, Steve thoroughly enjoys serving on the Advancing Leaders Program committee, as well as co-presenting on the Strengths Finder theory to the cohorts of the Advancing Leaders Program.

Laura Madson

Dr. Laura Madson joined the faculty of the Psychology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences in August 1996. Shortly thereafter, she learned about team-based learning at the Teaching Academy. Laura has been a dyed-in-the-wool practitioner of team-based learning ever since. She now teaches 300-400 Introduction to Psychology students every academic year using team-based learning, has written a textbook specifically for use in her team-based learning Intro Psych classes, and co-teaches regular workshops on team-based learning for the Teaching Academy. She also offers occasional book discussion groups on provocative publications in higher education. Laura is delighted to serve as a Teaching Academy Fellow because, in her words, “Everything useful that I know about teaching I learned at the Teaching Academy.”

James McAteer

Dr. James McAteer is a professor in the Astronomy Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. He carries out research in studies of the Sun and its influence on Earth, funded by NASA and NSF. Like many others, he had no prior background in teaching when he started on his first lecture course at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, in 2008. Upon realizing he knew little about the research in effective teaching, he came to NMSU in 2010 with a new and open mind to focus on how students learn, rather than how professors teach. James completed the Teaching Scholars course and a Team-Based Learning (TBL) course; as a result he began to incorporate clickers, you-you’all-us and teamwork in his astronomy courses at all levels. In 2012, James threw himself headfirst into adopting TBL into one of his classes. With this approach he won a NSF-Career award in 2013 that focused on developing the TBL environment to maximize student learning in classes with a large diversity of student backgrounds and expectations. He has completed 185 hours of Teaching Academy events. James co-teaches a TBL class.

Martha Mitchell

Dr. Martha C. Mitchell is a Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering in the College of Engineering at NMSU. Martha has served as Department Head of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. She is currently the Diversity Director for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics. She was the principal investigator for an NSF ADVANCE PAID grant that disseminated the initiatives from the NSF ADVANCE grant at NMSU to New Mexico Tech, the University of New Mexico, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 2015, Martha received the Teaching Academy Outstanding Mentor Award for her work mentoring faculty at NMSU. She has served as a mentor in the Teaching Academy’s one-on-one and Advancing Leaders mentoring programs for multiple years and is currently leading two sections of Team Mentoring for Faculty.

Marcel Montanez

Dr. Marcel Montañez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences where he is also the Associate Department Head. Marcel is a Marriage and Family Therapist and provides interventions for a variety of mental health diagnoses in his private practice. He teaches courses in research methods, human development and Marriage and Family Therapy.  At the Teaching Academy, Marcel helps university leaders develop essential leadership skills and knowledge by providing experiential workshops on a variety of topics. Marcel provides guidance to leaders at the Academy in dealing with difficult people by co-presenting a workshop annually on Rapid Fire Responses. He leads activities where horses help leaders shape competence in communicating, making decisions and understanding relational hierarchies. Marcel also works closely with the Teaching Academy’s Advancing Leaders (ALP) cohort to develop their leadership and mentoring goals.


Dr. Bernadette Montoya began her role as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at NMSU in 2011. As the Vice President, she oversees a variety of system wide student services serving students at the very early stages of recruitment through graduation. Bernadette is an accomplished speaker and facilitator, and her work in this area reflects her growing expertise in educational leadership. She is a frequent presenter and panelist, and is a consistent voice for the importance of student affairs in higher education. She has served as master of ceremonies for the Annual Leadership Conference of the Leadership Chair Academy, and facilitated numerous presentations on leadership development for regional, national, and international audiences. At the Academy, Bernadette offers leadership workshops and co-presents on the Strengths Finder theory to the cohort members of the Advancing Leaders Program.

Mary Prentice

Dr. Mary Prentice is Associate Professor in Educational Leadership and Administration (ELA) in the College of Education at NMSU. Since her first year at NMSU, Mary has participated in Teaching Academy events. Mary has participated in the Teaching Academy’s Scholarly Writing Retreat, the Department Head Academy, Advancing Leaders, Writing Across the Curriculum as well as Publish & Flourish programs. She has also been a workshop presenter, a facilitator for participants in the Tenure and Promotion Workshops, and a mentor for new faculty members through the Team Mentoring program. Mary is currently serving her second term on the Teaching Academy Board. In recent years, she has also turned to the Teaching Academy to further her understanding of diversity issues and institutional marginalization of specific populations through presentations and trainings by Peggy McIntosh, Jane Elliott, and Prudence Carter, to name a few. She co-teaches various short courses on diversity and equity issues in higher education.

Michele Shuster

Dr. Michèle Shuster is an associate professor in the biology department. Michèle regularly uses innovative approaches in her teaching, including classroom flipping and case studies, and her scholarly activities help K-8 teachers and postdocs design and implement case studies for their own teaching. She has been honored to receive the NMSU Roush and Westhafer awards for excellence in teaching. Michèle offers workshops at the Academy on using case studies in the classroom and other innovative student-centered teaching strategies as well as on effectively describing your teaching activities and their impact. She is also available to carry out classroom visitations.

Monica Torres

Dr. Mónica Torres is the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) at Doña Ana Community College. She officially began in the position in December 2014 after serving in the interim role for a year and a half. Mónica’s research and teaching interests include race, class, and gender in the U.S; documentary film theory; and cultural criticism. She has been involved with the Teaching Academy for much of her career at NMSU as a participant and a presenter. Mónica has served as a workshop leader, panel member, and mentor for several programs organized or sponsored by the Academy including the Promotion and Tenure Workshop, Writing Across the Curriculum Seminar, Teaching Scholars, Department Head Academy, and Advancing Leaders. She also co-teaches various short courses on diversity and equity issues in higher education.

Graciela Unguez

Dr. Graciela Unguez is a Professor in the Department of Biology whose research interests focus on studying mechanisms responsible for the formation and plasticity of neural circuits underlying animal behavior. Since 2014, with support from the NIH-funded NMSU RISE to the Postdoctorate Program, she has spurred networking groups among graduate students and between graduate students and faculty entitled, Getting the Edge in Academe—A Ph.D. is Not Enough. These workshops provide forums for professional interactions between successful scientists and protégés at NMSU to help students progress professionally by actively sharing information on funding, publication, networking, written and oral communication and job/postdoc opportunities.