Western Nevada College faculty members Timothy Mayo, Martin Schmidt and Rachel Stiff reached a teaching pinnacle March 3 when they received tenure from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Mayo and Schmidt teach mathematics courses for the college, while Stiff is a fine arts professor. All three professors began teaching at WNC in August 2018. Their tenure appointments were approved by regents at their quarterly meeting in Henderson. Receiving tenure is the result of meeting the standards outlined in the NSHE code and being positively recommended by the college through a peer review process. Originally from Lewistown, Mont., Stiff has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Montana in Missoula. Prior to coming to WNC, Stiff instructed art classes for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Nevada, Reno.
"In my classroom careful observation, attention to detail and process is taught,” Stiff said. “With attention to detail, I work to build a creative environment and the conditions under which growth is possible for my students, who are my greatest teachers. The process is ever-evolving and is one that I cherish. Thank you to all who have supported me in these first four years at WNC and thank you ALL for the opportunity to continue doing what I love.” Stiff coordinates the Bristlecone Art Galleries on the Carson City campus and is an active painter, focusing on surrounding landscapes and atmospheres. Mayo served in the U.S. Navy Reserve for 23 years and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. Since transitioning to teaching at WNC, Mayo has made a major impact on his mathematics students on the Fallon campus. “Being awarded tenure is the capstone of my career and an unparalleled lifetime achievement,” Mayo said. “I am deeply honored, and I look forward to many years of service to WNC as a tenured faculty member.” In his first year at WNC, he was awarded the Associated Students of Western Nevada Academic Faculty of the Year Award. In addition, Mayo has served as an adviser for Phi Theta Kappa honor society students. In all, Mayo has instructed community college students for 19 years and secondary education students for seven. Mayo received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, his Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri and his Master of Science degree from California State University-Hayward. Schmidt teaches mathematics courses and has been a big proponent of Open-Educational Resources in his classes. “Since I've started here, I've used only freely available resources for students. I think I am most proud of this,” he said.
Schmidt has also been involved in helping first-generation and underrepresented students foster their ambitions in STEM fields. In 2019, he created MESA (which will be changing its name to MAKE soon), but COVID has since prevented the group from meeting. Through this mathematics, engineering and science achievement program, Schmidt is dedicated toward supporting these students (Latinx, Women, other racial minorities, first generation) connect with resources to help them transfer to a four-year institution in a STEM field. The Montana native received a Bachelor’s in English Literature degree from the University of Montana, a Bachelor’s in Pure Mathematics degree (computer science minor) from the University of Montana and his Master’s in Pure Mathematics from Chiba University, Japan. Tenured professors keep their positions until they retire, resign or are terminated for a specific cause, although academic freedom is usually protected.