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Burrell College Faculty Council Selects the 2021 Faculty Award Winners

The Burrell College Faculty Council has announced its winners for the 2nd cycle of the Burrell Faculty Awards. The two winners are Dr. Jennifer Eastwood and Dr. Michael Woods. Dr. Eastwood was selected as the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award and Dr. Woods was selected as the recipient of the Excellence in Service Award.

Dr. Michael Woods
Dr. Jennifer Eastwood

This is the second cycle of awards in the College’s history, in which up to three faculty members are selected for recognition of their efforts in teaching, their accomplishments, and their support of high-quality medical education. The first stage in the process for awardee selection involves a Spring call for nominations by the Chair of the Faculty Awards Committee in the form of a letter for the three available awards: Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Research, and Excellence in Service. The Excellence in Research award was not administered this cycle due to a lack of nominations.

The Faculty Awards Committee screens all the nominations and selects the finalists who proceed to Stage 2 of the process. The chosen finalists are requested to submit additional materials for further consideration, including a curriculum vitae (CV), letters of support, and a personal reflective statement. Finalists for the Excellence in Teaching award are also required to submit a detailed list of courses and sessions they taught in the past year and a summary of student evaluations received. After the materials are received, the Faculty Awards Committee reviews the submitted materials and scores them on a rubric aligned with each of the award criteria. Committee members’ scores are then combined to identify the highest-scoring finalists in each category for a final discussion, after which the award winners are selected.

Dr. Woods serves as an associate professor of Physiology and Pathology for Burrell College as well as the Director of the Burrell College Research Laboratories. He was selected the Excellence in Service award for the combined breadth of his individual and collaborative service contributions to the college. He deeply impressed the Faculty Awards Committee with both his internal service to the institution as well as his external service to the community and region, dedicating a significant amount of his own personal time and effort. Listed are several of the key highlights that led the Faculty Awards Committee to their decision:

  • He was the first Burrell faculty member to be elected to the position of Vice-Chair, leading to Chair of the Faculty Council
  • He has served on Admissions, Curriculum, and Institutional Biosafety committees, and the Admissions Governance Council
  • He oversaw the development of the Burrell Research Laboratories
  • He is the Senior Advisor of the Gila River Advisory College
  • As an infectious disease scientist, he has been called upon to provide his expertise internally and to numerous external task forces and initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the NMSU COVID-19 Laboratory Testing Task Force and their Rapid Response Team; and the El Paso United COVID-19 Transition Task Force. He also provided public service announcements relating to COVID-19 that were widely distributed.
  • In his “spare” time, he is also a local Boy Scout leader and high school Band Parent.

“Dr. Woods is highly deserving of the recognition of Excellence in Service. He contributes at an exceptionally high level in numerous areas and in line with Burrell’s mission and goals … He represents our institution with pride and skill, fosters our positive impact on this region, and has shown consistent dedication to our students and his colleagues.” -Nominator’s remarks.

“Thank you to my peers for this recognition for I am honored to receive the Faculty Excellence in Service Award,” says Dr. Woods. “Nothing I have accomplished has been done without the support of my colleagues in the Department of Physiology & Pathology, the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs, and the broader Burrell community. This institution is full of individuals passionate about the mission of the College, and I am proud to serve alongside you.”

Dr. Jennifer Eastwood serves as an associate professor of Anatomy at the College as well as the Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs. The Faculty Awards Committee was impressed by Dr. Eastwood’s overall teaching contributions, particularly her collegiality and application of her expertise in medical education. Dr. Eastwood has supported and mentored her fellow faculty members both in one-on-one sessions as well as through FAME to enhance teaching efforts and help others gain confidence in their teaching skills. Within the College, Dr. Eastwood has worked inter-departmentally to collaborate on course content, development, and delivery. She continuously seeks out new tools and strategies to improve her own teaching.

“Dr. Eastwood is not only a fabulous teacher for our medical students, but she goes to great lengths to support her faculty colleagues as well,” says fellow faculty member Dr. Cindy Funk. “Especially impressive is her continued commitment to improve her teaching through exploration of new technologies and software, and implementation of novel teaching strategies (in lab and classroom) … further, she is passionate about educational research and supporting faculty in these same efforts.”

“I am so honored to receive this award from my colleagues because it affirms my primary purpose as a faculty member—to help our students engage and be successful in their learning,” says Dr. Eastwood. “I am so fortunate to get to collaborate with and learn from the talented faculty at Burrell!”

The winners will be recognized by having their names engraved on a perpetual plaque and with a $1,200.00 award. In addition, both Dr. Eastwood and Dr. Woods will serve on the Faculty Awards Committee for the next two award cycles.

The current members of the Faculty Awards Committee are listed below:

  • Norice Lee, Chair
  • Steven Ontiveros, Vice-Chair (and Year 1 recipient of Excellence in Service Award)
  • Kris Vaudrey
  • Jeremy Taulbee, Student Affairs representative
  • Debra Bramblett (and Year 1 recipient of Excellence in Research Award)
  • David Rodenbaugh (and Year 1 recipient of Excellence in Teaching Award)