UNM College of Arts & Sciences

Posted: February 21, 2022

The UNM College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the full-time faculty members who have been selected to receive a 2022 Marshall Award for Course Development and Curriculum Enhancement. Each Marshall Award winner will receive $2,000 to support the work that they will be undertaking this summer.

In the Humanities, our awardee is Dr. Jonathan Davis-Secord, Associate Professor in the Department of English. Dr. Davis-Secord will be refining the version of ENGL 451/551: Topics in Medieval Studies that is focused on Old Norse. His project, in essence, is to develop a new course on Old Norse that draws on the improved ways that the language has come to be taught over the last two decades, and one that is sure to draw the attention of students interested in Viking Mythology.



In the Social Sciences, our awardee is Dr. Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Nepstad will be enhancing the delivery of the theoretical material that is the centerpiece of SOCI 371: Sociological Theory. She aims to develop a “living theory” approach to this material, one that connects the works of thinkers such as de Beauvoir, Marx, and Weber with current social phenomena and that, in turn, puts these works into dialogue with students’ lived experiences.

In the Sciences, our awardee is Dr. James L. Thomas, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Thomas will be developing a new curricular framework for PHYS 1320: Calculus-Based Physics II. At the heart of this new framework will be newly developed demonstrations, or “events,” that motivate students to think in terms of predictive success rather than right answers and that will thereby help them appreciate that thinking like a scientist is more complicated than a right-answer approach would suggest.


Our three awardees have the background and experience that make them especially well-suited for tackling their ambitious and worthwhile projects, and we are excited for the students who will benefit from the enhancements that they are making to their courses.

We are also grateful for the efforts that are being made across the College to improve the learning experience of our students. The pool of applications for a Marshall Award was incredibly strong this year, and it provided firm evidence that the student-centered vision for improving curriculum and instruction exemplified by Diane Marshall’s contributions to the College is alive and well across Arts & Sciences.