By Justin Bannister
New Mexico State University celebrated the beginning of the fall semester as well as the achievements of several outstanding faculty members during Fall Convocation, held Tuesday morning at the Corbett Center Student Union Ballrooms.
Jon Holtzman, an associate professor in astronomy, is the winner of the 2007 Dennis W. Darnall Faculty Achievement Award. The award is presented each year to a faculty member for achievements in teaching and research and for service to the community and the university. Holtzman plays an active role at NMSU’s Apache Point Observatory and is known for his research and calibration work with the Hubble Space Telescope, among other things.
Barbara Chamberlin, Desh Ranjan, Shuguang Deng and William Eamon each were presented University Research Council Awards for exceptional achievement in creative scholarly activity.
Chamberlin’s faculty appointment focuses on the creation of educational media for non-formal learning. She also occasionally teaches classes on game development and instructional technology. In 2004, she created the Learning Games Laboratory, where gamers and game developers evaluate educational and other video games.
Ranjan chairs the Computer Science Department and also directs the NMSU Center for Bioinformatics. His research and teaching interests are in algorithms and computational complexity. He focuses on development of efficient methods and tools in the domain of bioinformatics.
Deng is an associate professor in chemical engineering. He has established research programs in hydrogen fuel cell and water treatment and obtained more than $1.5 million in research grants. He also has created two new elective courses and collaborated extensively with private industry, national laboratories and other professors.
Eamon is a regents professor of history and dean of the Honors College. His research focuses on the history of science and medicine in Renaissance Italy and Spain. He is the author and co-author of three books and more than 50 articles.
Dominic Simon and Paola Bandini were awarded the Patricia Christmore Teaching Award. The award recognizes and rewards superb junior tenure-track faculty members for excellence in teaching.
Simon, an assistant professor in psychology, is described by his department head as someone who was both born and trained to be a university teacher. His colleagues say Simon is always focused on his students’ learning and always striving to become a better instructor.
Bandini, an assistant professor in civil engineering, is described by Engineering Dean Steven Castillo as a “truly extraordinary faculty member,” setting the standard in the areas of teaching, mentoring and advising for her college. Those who work with her say she genuinely cares about her students and their success and welfare.