By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer
Five Eastern New Mexico University faculty selected for Presidential Awards represent the university’s best, said ENMU President Steven Gamble.
He presented awards during graduation Saturday to Kathy Durand, Donald Elder, Felipe Macias, John Olsen and Suzanne Swift.
“They represent different disciplines, but they all do a great job for our students and for the university,” Gamble said.
Presidential Award winners at Eastern are nominated by their peers and then a dean’s council determines the winners.
Swift, who was honored for excellence in research, began working for ENMU in 1999. She said that research has become second nature to her since it is a routine part of the speech-pathology program.
“Research is invigorating, exciting and it serves to make us better teachers, clinicians, and people in general,” Swift said.
Macias has been with ENMU for 21 years and he said he takes his role of advising seriously. He was awarded for excellence in advising.
Aside from the “nuts and bolts” of advising students, Macias said he looks at each student individually to help them tailor a plan just for them.
“I believe if an advisor is doing his or her job, correctly he/she is helping students become more capable of making their own well thought out decisions,” Macias said.
Known as “the Voice of Eastern”, Donald “Doc” Elder, was recognized for excellence in service at ENMU. He is completing his 13th year with the university.
In the classroom, he gives students lessons in history. Outside of the classroom, he is a role model for service to community and school. Elder has served as the chair of two departments, at one time or another, has served on five university committees, been a faculty senate representative, served as master of ceremonies for numerous university events, served as the advisor of five student organizations and represented the university on state education committees.
He does radio announcing and commentary for ENMU Greyhounds and Zias games.
“Most colleges and universities do a great job in the classroom. But what sets a school like ENMU apart from the others is how involved the faculty members get in the functioning of the institution and the surrounding community,” Elder said.
Durand has been with Eastern since 1993. She said one reason she loves teaching at Eastern is because of the small class sizes which permits her to get to know her students.
“The better you know the students, the better you can tailor class instruction to help them understand the subject matter,” Durand said. “I try to introduce new materials in a variety of ways so that students with different learning styles can succeed.
Presidential Awards at ENMU
• Excellence in Advising — Felipe Macias, professor of Theater
• Excellence in Service — Donald Elder, professor of History; interim chair for the department of Communicative Arts & Sciences,
• Excellence in Teaching — Kathy Durand, chair for Anthropology, associate professor of Anthropology
• Excellence in Teaching — John Olsen, professor of Music
• Excellence in Research — Suzanne Swift, chair of Health and Human Services, Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders