Team Academy

Tara Gray, Ph.D., became the first director of the Teaching Academy in January 2003. Her tenure home is the Department of Criminal Justice, where she served for ten years after teaching economics for ten years and writing her dissertation on the question, “Do prisons pay?” Tara sets the direction of the Academy in terms of programming; leads one-time and multi-session workshops, hosts outside speakers; builds spirit among the Academy staff; manages the budget; and fundraises. She studies scholarly writing, directing effective teaching centers, teaching for active learning, and collaborative faculty development programs. She has published 40 articles 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, 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 tgray@nmsu.edu.

Morgan Iommi, Ph.D., joined the Teaching Academy in 2018 as associate director for teaching and learning. She leads workshops and book groups that explore topics such as motivating students to enhance learning and principles for universal design. Morgan also assists faculty and staff in designing, developing, and delivering their own workshops on a variety of teaching and learning topics. Morgan comes to NMSU most recently from the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of Iowa, where she provided professional development for graduate students and post-docs. Morgan’s Ph.D. work was completed at The Ohio State University in communication studies, with a dissertation on motivational factors influencing instructor involvement in teaching development. She also earned a specialization in college and university teaching, while serving as a graduate teaching fellow who provided professional development for graduate students in The Ohio State School of Communication. If you have an idea for a workshop at the Teaching Academy, or a question about teaching and learning, you can reach Morgan at 575.646.1788 or miommi@nmsu.edu.

Shawn Werner, associate director for leadership and mentoring

Shawn Werner, M.A., joined the NMSU 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 faculty leadership and mentoring programs: Advancing Leaders, the Department Head Academy, the one-on-one Mentoring Program, and Promotion and Tenure workshops. Shawn is a certified mediator, StrengthsFinder coach, and trainer in Crucial Conversations® and she facilitates meetings, workshops, book clubs, and team-building retreats for the Academy and other units. Shawn has also served as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Communication Studies at NMSU since 2006. Courses she has taught include organizational communication, small group communication, communication theory, 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 swerner@nmsu.edu.

Emily Green joined our team in 2019 as the new Administrative Assistant for both the Teaching Academy and Instructional Innovation and Quality (IIQ). She performs the myriad unseen tasks that make events run smoothly and seem effortless. Emily was selected from a competitive pool of candidates and comes to us with an background in customer service and office management. She is also a recent NMSU graduate, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from NMSU in 2018. During her time studying Psychology at NMSU, Emily worked with Dr. Michael Hout as a research assistant collecting data. She also worked under Dr. Hout on her honor’s thesis focused on visual search and memory.
Emily is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces and resides here with her family. In her spare time, Emily enjoys reading, running, and watching her favorite television show, Game of Thrones. You can reach Emily at 646-2204 or teaching @nmsu.edu. teaching@nmsu.edu.