Team Academy

Tara Gray

Tara Gray, Ph.D., serves as Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Director of the Teaching Academy. She became the founding director of the Teaching Academy in January 2003. Her tenure home is the Department of Criminal Justice, where she served for ten years. Before that, Tara taught economics for ten years and wrote her dissertation on the question, “Do prisons pay?” At the Academy, Tara sets the direction in terms of programming; leads one-time and multi-session workshops; leads and builds spirit among the team; manages the budget; and fund-raises. Tara studies scholarly writing, directing effective teaching centers, and collaborative faculty development programs. She has published 50 scholarly works and four books, including Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar Tara has won ten awards for teaching, scholarship, and service, both on campus and nationally. She has presented workshops to more than 10,000 educators in 120 venues, 35 states, and in Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Kenya, 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

Oana Cimpean

Oana Cimpean, Ph.D., joined the Teaching Academy in 2022 as the Associate Director. Oana earned a doctorate in French Studies from Louisiana State University. Her dissertation analyzed the conflict between literature and political commitments. She taught French for many years both at LSU and at the University of Arkansas, where she also coordinated the introductory and intermediate French program. She worked in faculty development at the University of South Florida for six years. There she designed and facilitated training programs for faculty and teaching assistants on topics including the science of learning, leadership skills, critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, and experiential learning. Oana likes to cook, make jewelry, visit art museums, and hear her son and husband talk about whales or mythical creatures in the background. You can reach Oana at 575.646.1788 or

Dr. Shihua Brazil

Shihua Brazill, Ph.D., holds a PhD degree in Higher Education as well as a graduate certificate in College Teaching. She has over 15 years of experience in higher education as a faculty member and faculty developer. Her expertise extends to digital learning, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), faculty development programming and instructional design, making her a valuable resource in the pursuit of teaching excellence, learning, and scholarship. Dr. Brazill has been actively involved in leading faculty development programs, with a particular focus on online teaching, UDL, accessibility, inclusive pedagogy, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), faculty learning communities, and faculty mentoring programs. Additionally, she has designed and taught the multicultural education curriculum at Montana State University. Dr. Brazill has published on faculty development, instructional design, multicultural education, and social justice. She is a foodie and tea drinker!

Dr. Chris Bickford

Chris Bickford, Ph.D., joined the Teaching Academy in 2024 as an Instructional Consultant, Lead after working in STEM roles at Kenyon College and the California Institute of Technology. At Kenyon, Chris was an associate professor of biology and his research and publications focused on plant physiological ecology. More recently, at Caltech, he was a STEM Writing Specialist in the Hixon Writing Center. In both these roles, Chris focused on undergraduate STEM teaching, scientific writing, and writing pedagogy. In addition, he brings experience teaching in multiple modalities (face-to-face, hybrid, online) and welcomes the opportunity to work with faculty developing or refining their courses. A graduate of the University of New Mexico (Ph.D., Biology), Chris conducted his field work at Los Alamos National Lab and is delighted to be back in New Mexico and in close proximity to the Gila wilderness area. He enjoys walking, backpacking with his family, and generally being outdoors whenever possible. Chris can be reached at


Theresa Remacle, M.A.,  joined the Teaching Academy in 2021, where she serves as an Educational Specialist. One of her main responsibilities is running the P&T workshop series, a valuable resource for faculty members aiming for promotion and tenure. In addition to her job, Theresa is currently working towards a PhD in Higher Education Administration, with a particular focus on feminism and gender studies. This academic pursuit reflects her passion for shaping education through a socially aware lens. Theresa has a husband, two daughters, and a Jack Russell terrier named Sam. You can reach Theresa at 575.646.2072 or

Kelly Anrendes

Kelly Ahrendes, B.S., joined the Teaching Academy in 2023 as the Event Planner, Sr. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management from New Mexico State University in 2004. He has worked in resorts and hotels all over the country in many different roles. Most recently, he spent six years working with Sodexo at NMSU as the Crimson Concierge. He brings his customer service and planning expertise to the role with the Teaching Academy, working to ensure smooth events for all participants, whether online or in person. When not working, Kelly loves spending time at home.

Pete Carrera

Pete Carreras, A.S., joined the Teaching Academy in 2021, where he serves as Administrative Assistant, Sr. In that capacity, he provides administrative and technical support for the Teaching Academy, works with nine databases, and performs duties seen and unseen that make events seem to run effortlessly. Pete earned an Associate of Applied Science in Information Computer Technology as well as an Associate of Business Office Technology. He is currently working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration. Pete was born and raised in NM. Immediately after high school, he served a five-year stint with the United States Marine Corps., and has most recently served as a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist with the Department of Workforce Solutions for three years. You can reach Pete at 575.646.2204 or