January 13, 2010 by Justin Bannister NMSU NewsCenter
New Mexico State University’s new president Barbara Couture welcomed faculty and staff back to campus today during the 2010 Spring Convocation ceremony held at NMSU’s Atkinson Music Recital Hall. Convocation is held each January and August and is meant to celebrate university accomplishments and inform staff and faculty about the upcoming semester. It is traditional for NMSU to give out various awards during the ceremony.
Jim Shearer, a music professor, was awarded the Dennis W. Darnall Faculty Achievement Award. The honor is presented each year to a faculty member for achievements in teaching and research and for service to the community and the university. The award is named for the late Dennis Darnall, who was known for his work as an NMSU teacher, researcher and administrator, as well as an entrepreneur and civic leader.
Shearer has been a faculty member for 19 years and his playing and scholarship enjoy a high standing in the international music community. Most recently, his new recording, “The Memphis Hang,” has garnered rave reviews, major radio and Internet airplay and was entered into the first round of 2008 Grammy Award consideration. As a teacher, he consistently has the highest teacher evaluations of anyone in the music department. Shearer was also involved in the creation of the NMSU Cultural Series, allowing students and the community access to international touring shows.
Eleven faculty members were recognized for winning the Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award. Named for a former NMSU executive vice president in recognition of his 35 years of teaching improvement in New Mexico, the annual Roush award recognizes NMSU faculty for teaching excellence.
The 2010 Roush award winners are Jerry M. Hawkes, agricultural economics and agricultural business; Christine Eber, anthropology; Diedra Dunlavy, chemistry and biochemistry; Kenneth Martin, finance; Monica R. Brown, special education/communication disorders; Craig Newtson, civil engineering; Mary H. Sizemore, nursing; Vicente Lombrana, NMSU-Alamogordo; Nita Nichols, NMSU-Carlsbad; Ratnadevi Pankayatselvan, NMSU-Doña Ana Community College; Marlene Chavez-Toivanen, NMSU-Grants.