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New Mexico State University

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NMSU faculty, staff honored at 2012 fall convocation

Top faculty and staff achievements were celebrated today at New Mexico State University's fall convocation ceremony. Convocation takes place each fall and spring as a way to begin the semester with a focus on excellence.


Faculty members honored at convocation show their awards.
Honorees include, from left, Campus Health Center Dr. Diane Kruis, Professor Shuguang Deng, Assistant Professor Manal Hamzeh, Professor Harriet Linkin, Campus Health Center Executive Director Lori McKee, Assistant Professor Hongmei Luo, Assistant Professor Kathleen Cronin, Professor Michele Nishiguchi, Associate Professor Stephen Rice, Director of aerospace engineering and special projects Crystal Michelle Lay and Assistant Professor Cathy Kinzer. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

"Convocation is an important opportunity to honor the achievements of our faculty and staff," said Executive Vice President and Provost Wendy K. Wilkins. "Today's honorees are leading some of the best work being done at NMSU in research, community outreach and student support. We appreciate the creativity, dedication and hard work they bring to our campus community."

Shuguang Deng, professor of chemical engineering, was awarded the 2012 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. Deng joined the faculty at NMSU in 2003. He has developed internationally known research programs in hydrogen fuel cells, nanostructured materials and biofuels.

Receiving the Dennis W. Darnall Faculty Achievement Award was Michele Nishiguchi, professor of biology. The award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated remarkable, broad-based accomplishments in teaching, research and service to the profession, the university and the community. As a distinguished and internationally esteemed research scientist and an inspiring teacher and mentor to students and faculty alike, Nishiguchi has become one of the most respected scholars at NMSU.

Four faculty members were selected for the University Research Council Early Career Awards for Exceptional Achievements in Creative Scholarly Activity. They are Cathy Kinzer, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Hongmei Luo, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Stephen Rice, associate professor of psychology; and Carmen Gimenez Smith, assistant professor of English.

The awards are presented by the University Research Council to junior NMSU faculty and staff in recognition of exceptional research and/or other creative scholarly efforts at NMSU.

Two faculty members - Kathleen Cronin, assistant professor in special education and communication disorders, and Manal Hamzeh, assistant professor of Women's Studies - were selected for the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award. Named for Patricia Christmore, former accounting department head, this annual award recognizes and rewards superb junior tenure-track faculty members for excellence in teaching.

Selected for the Excellence in Academic Advising Award were Harriet Linkin, professor of English and director of undergraduate studies in English, and Crystal Michelle Lay, director of aerospace engineering and special projects. The Excellence in Academic Advising Award recognizes faculty and professional academic advisers for their outstanding achievement and service to NMSU students. Candidates are nominated by students.

The NMSU Campus Health Center was chosen for the Outcomes Assessment Committee II, Best Practices Award. The center was selected for its study "Tuberculosis Evaluation and Care." The purpose of the study was to ensure that patients infected with tuberculosis receive appropriate evaluation, plan and care. TB screening is required for all international students, and students in majors related to health care and education. The study was a valuable assessment in improving the quality of care provided at the Campus Health Center.

The Outcomes Assessment Committee for Co-curriculum, Administration and Operations presents the Best Practices Award for assessment annually to a department or unit that exemplifies the spirit of assessment outside the classroom.