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NMSU faculty and staff honored at 2011 Fall Convocation

New Mexico State University faculty and staff members were welcomed back on campus today at the 2011 Fall Convocation ceremony. The event, held every January and August, also notes university accomplishments and singles out faculty and staff members for special awards.



2011 NMSU Fall Convocation award recipients pose for a group portrait following the ceremony. Left to right: Awardees pictured are Karla Thompson, Wesley Eaton, Norice Lee, Ryan Herbon, Cindy Pierard, Sonya Cooper, Satyajayant "Jay" Misra, Jeffrey Arterburn, Aishah Ortega, James Shearer, Amy Lanasa, Sue Forster-Cox, Michele Shuster, Constance Falk, Shuguang Deng, and Michelle Nishiguchi (standing in for Kathryn Hanley) (NMSU Photo)

"At every convocation we honor the achievements of our outstanding faculty and staff," said Executive Vice President and Provost Wendy K. Wilkins. "This fall, the 14 individuals recognized represent some of the university's best efforts in research, community outreach and student support. We are grateful for their hard work and dedication to NMSU."

Three faculty members were named to the prestigious rank of Regents Professor: Jeffrey Arterburn, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Sonya Cooper, professor of engineering technology; and James Shearer, professor of music.

Constance Falk, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, was named the first M. Eugene Sundt Honors Professor. For this newly established award, a selection committee appointed by the dean of the Honors College will recommend a faculty member to hold the professorship every two years. Sundt Honors Professors receive funding to develop, plan and teach a Sundt Honors Seminar. Falk began her career at NMSU in 1988. Her work focuses on agricultural sustainability.

Michèle Shuster, an assistant professor of biology, was awarded the 2011 Westhafer Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Westhafer Awards are given in alternating years for excellence in teaching and excellence in research and creative activity. Shuster began teaching at NMSU as an adjunct professor in 2002.

Receiving the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award were Aishah Ortega, an assistant professor with the Special Education and Communication Disorders Department, and Amy Lanasa, an assistant professor of creative media. The annual award recognizes superb junior tenure-track faculty members for excellence in teaching.

The award for Excellence in Academic Advising went to Sue Forster-Cox, an associate professor of health science, and Karla Thompson, director of the Counseling & Student Development Center at NMSU-Carlsbad. Students lauded both women for going above-and-beyond to provide them with guidance and support.

Kathryn Hanley, associate professor of biology, and Shuguang Deng, a chemical engineering professor, received the University Research Council Distinguished Career Award. Hanley has helped to design a vaccine for the dengue virus that is now in Phase II clinical trials. Deng's current research focuses on advanced materials for sustainable energy and clean water applications.

The University Research Council Junior Career Award went to Satyajayant Misra, an assistant professor of computer science. His research interests include algorithm and protocol design for security, privacy, reliability and efficient energy harvesting in wireless networks.

Two staff members with the College of Engineering's Manufacturing, Technology and Engineering Center (M-TEC) received the University Research Council Junior Career for Team Award. Ryan Herbon is a senior engineer at M-TEC and an instructor for the Engineering and Technology Department. Wesley Eaton is a project manager and engineer at M-TEC. Eaton and Herbon are NMSU alumni.

The Outcomes Assessment Committee II Best Practices Award was given to the NMSU Library. The award is presented to a department or unit that exemplifies the spirit of assessment outside the classroom. The library won for its work in re-evaluating modifications it had made in use of space in order to determine if the changes were beneficial.