Tara Gray, Ph.D., became the founding director of the Teaching Academy in January 2003. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, where she served full time for ten years after teaching economics for the previous ten years. Tara has won seven awards for teaching and service both on campus and nationally. She studies ways that educators can improve their teaching and research by working collaboratively. To this end, she teaches a half-dozen short courses in which participants collaborate: Publish & Flourish, Teaching Portfolios, Tenure Portfolios, Teaching Scholars, Peer Coaching: Teachers Helping Teachers, and Team Mentoring for Faculty New to NMSU. She has presented workshops to more than 8,000 educators in more than 100 colleges and universities, 35 states and in Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Tara’s work is her play, but she also treasures spending time with friends and family as well as teaching parenting to women at Doña Ana County Detention Center. You can reach Tara at 575.646.1013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Jackson, Ph.D., joined the Academy team in 2015 as associate director for teaching. She designs, develops, and delivers workshops on a variety of teaching and learning topics. She also orchestrates the workshop schedule that provides faculty, staff, and graduate students with multiple opportunities to engage with pedagogical topics and transformative teaching practices. Prior to NMSU, she earned her Ph.D. in language education and taught Spanish at UT Austin. She has also taught English as a Second Language at UT El Paso and Harvard University. Her passion for teaching inspired her to seek employment at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UT Austin where she crafted professional development opportunities for graduate student instructors and faculty. In her free time, Michelle reads voraciously and volunteers as a Certified BBQ Judge with the Kansas City Barbecue Society. You can reach Michelle at 575.646.1788 or at email@example.com.
Shawn Werner, M.A., joined the Teaching Academy in 2012 as associate director for leadership and mentoring. From 2008–2011, she worked as a program specialist for the NSF ADVANCE-PAID grant at NMSU. This grant disseminated the ADVANCE mentoring program, department head training program, and promotion and tenure workshops across the state. She is now responsible for continuing the work of ADVANCE at the Teaching Academy through the coordination of Advancing Leaders, the one-on-one Mentoring Program, the Department Head Academy, and Promotion and Tenure Training. She has also served as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Communication Studies at NMSU since 2007. She teaches organizational communication, small group communication, persuasion and conflict management. When she is not spending time with her family, Shawn enjoys reading, writing, and watching live music. You can reach Shawn at 575.646.2583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean Conway, M.A., works quarter-time collaborating with the associate director for leadership and mentoring, who is temporarily working three-quarters time. Jean has served NMSU since 1990, first 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 as associate director of the Teaching Academy for 12 years. Jean has a passion for everything bicycles and bonsai. She can often be found tending to her bonsai or cycling century rides, 100 miles at a stretch. You can reach Jean at 575.646.2496 or at email@example.com.
Sandra Lujan, B.B.A., is business manager for the Teaching Academy and Instructional Innovation and Quality, joining the staff in 1995. She is the main contact for special events, which include contracting guest speakers and handling their reimbursements. She keeps us all on the straight and narrow by tending accounts, making sure billing is accurate and timely, and handling paperwork and personnel processes. Sandra is a proud Aggie, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in general business with minors in management and marketing. When she is not spending time with her family and friends, Sandra makes beaded jewelry and volunteers for cancer fundraisers. She can be reached at 575.646.1591 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gail “Sandy” Katayanagi, B.A., started working as the administrative assistant for the Teaching Academy and Instructional Innovation and Quality in April 2015. Previously, she worked seven years for the Business and Information Systems Division at Doña Ana Community College. She earned her BA in radio and TV at San Francisco State when she was working for Levi Strauss and Company. Sandy performs the myriad unseen tasks that make events run smoothly and seem effortless. Sandy is an art aficionado and has an avid interest in music, photography and Aggie basketball. You can reach Sandy at 575.646.2204 or at email@example.com.
Teaching Academy Fellows
Michèle Shuster, Ph.D., is a Teaching Academy fellow and an associate professor of biology. Her disciplinary scholarship focuses on undergraduate biology education and K–8 STEM teacher professional development. Her teaching includes introductory biology for majors and non-majors, as well as upper division cancer and medical microbiology courses. She has won two NMSU teaching awards, and a NMSU Teaching Academy outstanding workshop award. She has facilitated professional development workshops at NMSU, Utah State University, Connecticut College, the American Society for Microbiology and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Michèle loves to cook and try new recipes—luckily she also likes to do Turbofire and T25 workouts! The best way to reach Michèle is via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
David E. Smith, Ph.D., is a Teaching Academy fellow and an associate professor of physical chemistry in NMSU’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. He primarily teaches general chemistry and is actively involved in developing and evaluating formative assessment techniques for use in large classes. He also trains and mentors graduate teaching assistants at the Teaching Academy. He was the recipient of the NMSU Teaching Academy Innovation Award as well as the Outstanding Workshop Award, both related to the use of classroom remote response devices (“clickers”). David likes mathematical puzzles and games, riding his mountain bike, and escaping to the mountains when it gets hot. The best way to reach David is via e-mail: email@example.com.