The Teaching Academy helps NMSU educators develop extraordinary teaching lives embedded in exceptional careers.
The Academy helps create an educational environment committed to the success of faculty, staff and students by providing professional development to NMSU educators in teaching, scholarship, leadership, and mentoring.
Sandra Lujan served the Teaching Academy tirelessly for 20 years and still manages our budgets. She is our go-to person for all things finance. No one knows better than Sandra the mysterious inner workings of finance. Sandra is the ultimate team player and helps out in every way imaginable whether or not it is in her job description. For twenty years, Sandra kept the Teaching Academy running smoothly by operating the unseen gears. For Sandra, there is no bureaucratic mountain too high or red tape too long.
While at the Teaching Academy, Sandra earned two degrees, with the support of her two sons. She earned her Associates and Bachelors of Business Administration with minors in both Management and Marketing. Sandra was a Crimson Scholar and was awarded a stole from the Hispanic Faculty and Staff Caucus for her excellence in Academics and Leadership. She is currently a graduate student earning her Master's in Business Administration.
Nina Dropcho received her Master of Science degree in Biology from NMSU in May 2017 under the mentorship of Brook Milligan. She studied the population ecology and morphology of crown conchs, exposing a unique biosis between the conchs and algae. Nina reports that, at the Academy, Publish & Flourish has been her #1 most valuable course, which is why she took it twice! She also liked Writing Groups and 7 Easy Ways to Engage Your Students. She says, "Writing Across the Curriculum changed my teaching."
Nina has treasured the Teaching Academy since she started at NMSU in 2015. She believes that the Academy is a gem on our campus, and that more grad students should take advantage of its many skill-enhancing workshops.
Dr. René Guillaume is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration. His teaching interests include Higher Education Law and Qualitative Research Methods. His research interests include social justice in education, racial and ethnic identity development, and faculty teaching, life, and culture. A few years ago he interned at the Academy studying faculty teaching, life and culture. Last year, he completed many workshops on teaching, including Teaching in a Diverse Classroom. This year, he focused his professional development on scholarship and logged 140 hours at the Teaching Academy. He participated in workshops such as the Scholarly Writing Retreat and Establishing and Maintaining the Quote-Unquote "Write" Habit.
Dr. Laura Madson joined the faculty of the Psychology Department in August 1996. She is a Teaching Academy Fellow for facilitating team-based learning workshops as well as book discussion groups on various provocative topics. Laura has mentored many faculty members at NMSU and has herself benefited from the wisdom of several wonderful mentors and tries to exemplify those characteristics in her relationships with protégés. Her protégé Moire Prescott wrote, “Laura is an amazing mentor first and foremost because she listens and listens well, validating my experience as normal and understandable, and encouraging me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other…She also specializes in what you might call “just-in-time mentoring,” where she is somehow able to tell me exactly what I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it…Most of all, Laura has made me feel cared about with her listening, her understanding, her knowledge, and her wisdom.”
Truly Innovative Teaching
Dr. Mark Walker holds the Richard L. Hedden Chair of Advanced Philosophical Studies in the philosophy department where he teaches courses in ethics, philosophy of science, and epistemology. The Socratic Note Taking technique is designed to have students engage with the assigned readings before class using a question/answer format. In several classroom experiments, it was found that Socratic Note Taking improves student comprehension of reading material by more than a letter grade as compared with quizzing. The technique shows particular promise with the weakest students whose quiz scores improved by nearly 30%. As one philosophy student put it: “Socratic Note Taking allowed us to come to into class each day fully prepared, having read and comprehended all our assigned reading. I have adopted it as a useful method in other classes based on my overwhelmingly positive experience in Dr. Walker’s class.”