The 2016 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Advising is Dr. Michael Shaughnessy.
We are honoring Dr. Michael Shaughnessy with the 2016 Presidential Award in Advising. In his first evaluations as an assistant professor, one of the evaluators commended him for “his strong investment in our students.” This is the cornerstone of excellence in advising and it was written in 1985. Last year, an evaluator wrote, students know that if they have a question, he will help. His dedication and consistency of excellence has spanned over three decades at Eastern New Mexico University.
Dr. Shaughnessy advises students in the blended Elementary Education/Special Education program at the undergraduate level. He is the sole advisor for students pursing a graduate endorsement in gifted education, and he continues to advise graduate students completing a variety of graduate degrees. “Dr. Michael Shaughnessy is a wonderful treasure and great resource,” states one of his former students. Echoing her sentiments, we are truly fortunate to have Dr. Shaughnessy as part of our faculty cadre. He has a wealth of knowledge to share and is patient, kind, and thoughtful as he works with both our students and K-12 partners in education.
The recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Service is Ms. Cheryl Pachak- Brooks.
Ms. Chery Pachak-Brooks has had a long and distinguished record of service here at Eastern New Mexico University. Cheryl has been on the music faculty since 1985 as an instructor of piano and has served on the Advisory Committee and numerous other committees in the department over the years. Her service in providing piano accompaniments for the numerous student and faculty recitals as well as accompanying the university choirs for over 10 years has made a significant contribution to the Department of music and community at large.
Cheryl has been the coordinator of Freshman Seminar and the Learning Communities Program at ENMU since 2006. She has assisted in the development of curriculum in that program as well as staffing the many sections of University 101. The success of Freshman Seminar is a result of Cheryl’s dedication and hard work and her belief in ENMU’s mission of student success.
Additionally, Cheryl has held important offices as a member of the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico having served as Vice President and President from 1998 to 2002. On a national level, she has served on the board of the Music Teachers National Association and received their highest recognition with the MTNA Foundation Fellow Award.
The recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching is Ms. Barbara Palantone.
Ms. Barbara Palantone has been described as “an instructional dynamo” who always goes above and beyond for her students. Lucky for us, her commitment and energy investment have only increased over time and, in this, her final semester before retirement. Barbara has clearly been even more engaged than ever, supporting Social Work students in their practicum placements and experiences, their extracurricular and professional efforts, and participating enthusiastically in a diverse range of events and activities on campus. Barbara was responsible for developing quality practicum sites and building the Field Education Program for Social Work’s initial accreditation, and these placements are a key component of our students’ preparation.
Barbara takes seriously the responsibility of educating our students and preparing them for professional careers, and is exceptionally successful at bridging the gap between theory and practice. She inspires her students with her own passion for helping others. She fully embodies one of her favorite quotes from Goethe that says: “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought and could be.” It is impossible to give sufficient accolades to this exemplary educator, but she really is the best of the best.
The recipient of the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Research is Dr. Elliott Stollar.
As a teaching institution, ENMU is proud of the fact that our students get hands-on research experience that can give them the competitive edge over peers from much larger universities. This is possible because of faculty who don’t just pursue their own innovative scholarship, build infrastructure, and secure grant awards, but are also committed to selflessly mentoring students in their research. Few faculty members at ENMU succeed in integrating teaching and scholarship as effectively as Dr. Elliott Stollar.
Enrollment and research in the Biochemistry program have grown steadily under Dr. Stollar’s leadership, supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies that he has sought and secured from prestigious sources such as NIH-NM-INBRE and NSF, and he also collaborated on an HSI-STEM grant. This funding has supported approximately 30 undergraduate and graduate student researchers and has been instrumental in developing a fully functional Biochem lab comparable to those at Research-1 institutions.
It's been said that “you can’t have success without successors” and among the many impressive accomplishments Dr. Stollar has achieved with his students is the results from this year’s statewide INBRE conference-- 2nd and 3rd place awards went to doctoral students from UNM, but first place went to a sophomore from Dr. Stollar’s lab. This student and Dr. Stollar have been selected to represent the State of New Mexico at the national NIH-INBRE Conference in Washington, D.C. this summer. As the Program Coordinator for the New Mexico IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence stated: “This is a great honor.[…] We would be very proud to have you present your research on this national stage!”