Teaching Academy Fellows extend the reach of the Academy staff by regularly teaching short courses. We thank them deeply.
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 a 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 instructors to include undergraduate learning assistants (PLAs) as partners in teaching. Michaela teaches a short course about teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines.
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.”
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. James co-teaches TBL workshops for the Teaching Academy.
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 now co-teaches Team Mentoring for Faculty New to NMSU.
Niki Mott is an English instructor with NMSU and DACC. Her first career was in journalism, with newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Denver Post. She returned to school to become an educator when she felt public schools were not engaging her sons, who were “different learners.” Since earning an M.Ed. in Missouri and an M.A. at NMSU, her quest to learn methods for effectively engaging a variety of learners led her to the Teaching Academy, where she focuses on Team-based Learning, active learning, equity, and diversity among many other strategies offered at her “second home.” A facilitator-trainee with Speaking Circles International, founded by Lee Glickstein, she continues her focus on engaging and connecting with each student. At the Academy, she teaches the short course, How to Teach and Speak with Ease and Impact.
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 and two awards for teaching outstanding workshops from the Teaching Academy. 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 in the STEM disciplines.
Dr. David Smith is the director of assessment for NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. He began this appointment in 2015 after serving for 21 years on the faculty of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Throughout his teaching career, David was a leading proponent of classroom assessment on the NMSU campus and a mentor to numerous graduate student and faculty instructors. He received the NMSU Teaching Academy Innovation Award in 2009 and Best Workshop Award in 2011. As director of assessment, David provides resources, support, and feedback for faculty and staff across campus in their efforts to improve the learning and the overall experience of our students. He has also served as a member of the statewide steering committee for the reform of general education and is currently chair of the General Education Course Certification Committee (GECCC). As a fellow, David facilitates occasional book discussion groups and teaches a short course on Using Assessment to Document and Improve Learning (and Teaching!).
Dr. Mónica Torres is the vice president for 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 & Tenure Workshop, Writing Across the Curriculum Seminar, Teaching Scholars, Department Head Academy, and Advancing Leaders. As a fellow, she co-teaches various short courses on diversity and equity issues in higher education.
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 between graduate students and faculty entitled, Getting the Edge in Academe—A Ph.D. is Not Enough. This short course provides a forum for professional interactions between successful faculty 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.
Dr. Patti Wojahn serves as department head of Interdisciplinary Studies after 15 years in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program in the Department of English, where she still leads campus-wide efforts related to Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing in the Disciplines. For seven years, she served as writing program administrator overseeing NMSU’s general education writing program, designing curriculum and teaching writing instructors. In 2015, she earned the College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Outreach, based primarily on her work in the Borderlands Writing Project, a National Writing Project site that engages K–12 teachers with college-level instructors with an eye to improving all as writers as well as teachers of writing. At the Teaching Academy, she facilitates Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, a course based on a book by the same name.