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Teaching Excellence

Curriculum at New Mexico Tech

New Mexico Tech instructors take pride in developing and maintaining a difficult curriculum.  Virtually every professor has a long list of publications. In many cases, Tech professors have literally written their own text books.

Every student at New Mexico Tech is required to take six basic science courses: Math 131 and 132 (commonly known as Calc I and Calc II), Physics 121 and 122 and Chemistry 121 and 122. Even the psychology majors must take these classes. Tech is a science and engineering school, after all.

A crucial part of completing a degree is the “capstone project.” In engineering disciplines, students must successfully complete the Senior Design Clinic. These classes are team-based, real-world projects that often pair students with private companies, government agencies or branches of the military.

Most of the Senior Design Clinics last two semesters and mimic the life cycle of an industrial engineering project. Students are given a real challenge and asked to find a solution.

Student Successes 

In 2008, one of the mechanical engineering Senior Design Clinic teams competed in the national mini-baja competition. The team of eight students finished in the top 10 out of more than 150 schools.

In addition, Tech students have the opportunity to participate in clubs sponsored by professional societies and advised by professors.

In 2008, the civil engineering department’s bridge building team scored its highest-ever finish at the regional competition.

Also in 2008, chemical engineering students competed in the national chemical car competition.

Student Research

The line between research and instruction is often blurred at New Mexico Tech. In many cases, research is instruction and instruction is research. Many Tech students are cited as authors of technical or scientific papers before they earn a bachelor’s degree.

In other cases, students’ are invited to present their work at professional conferences. In November 2008, materials engineering sophomore Joe Koby won second place at a national conference for his research.

In January 2009, seven physics students presented their research at the annual conference of the American Astronomical Society. And in May 2009, two Tech undergraduate students in Technical Communication were invited to present their work at a national conference.

Faculty Research and Honors

In addition to publications, New Mexico Tech professors are routinely recognized as the top scholars in their fields.

Geophysics professor Dr. Jeffrey Johnson leads an international mini-course in vulcanology every summer. Johnson’s next summer field trip will be in Ecuador and will include more than a dozen vulcanology students from Tech and from around the world.

Johnson will also star in the PBS show, “Wild Adventures.” A film crew followed Johnson and a Tech graduate student to a remote volcano in Guatemala.

Geophysics professor Dr. Rick Aster was selected to be a national speaker for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in 2007. He is currently a serving a three-year term on the board of the American Geophysical Union.

Dr. Aster, along with Tech math professor, Dr. Brian Borchers, wrote a text book on called “Inverse Theory.” This text is used widely at universities around the world.

Geophysics assistant professor Dr. Glenn Spinelli was selected by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership to be host a series of national lecture series.

Geophysics professor Dr. Kent Condie first published his text book, “Plate Tectonics and Crustal Evolution,” in 1976. The text was published in its third edition in 1986 and continues to be a popular text book at universities across the nation.

Chemistry professor Dr. Severine Van slambrouck won a prestigious award at the 2008 international conference of the World Congress on Advances in Oncology in Greece. Van slambrouck was recognized for her work on how cancer cells form.

Geomicrobiology professor Dr. Penny Boston was featured at the TED conference in 2006, where she was asked to give “the talk of her life.” Boston studies the biology and geology of caves – and how it might relate to life on Mars.

Professor of electrical engineering Dr. Scott Teare recently published a text book tutorial, “Introduction to Image Stabilization.” Teare received the career honor by being named a Senior Member of SPIE, the professional organization devoted to the study of optics.