The Research and Creative Works Leadership Awards were established in 2020 to honor recently promoted faculty who have accomplished outstanding research or creative works in their respective career stage. 

This award was created in response to a recommendation of the Faculty Senate Research Policy Committee that acknowledges faculty, who at the time of promotion to associate or full professor, have achieved especially significant impacts in their field. This year, six new recipients were honored with the award including Associate Professors Clarence Cruz, Wendy Greyeyes, Eirini Tsiropolou, and Professors José M. Cerrato, José-Luis Huratdo Ruelas and Emily Lena Jones.

As part of the review process, candidates are nominated by the Provost’s Advisory Review Committee and are selected by the University of New Mexico Provost following a rigorous external review that looks at the quality and impact of candidates’ scholarly and creative achievements.


Clarence Cruz

Associate Professor Clarence Cruz, Department of Art, College of Fine Arts
Associate Professor Clarence Cruz is a renowned Pueblo potter who has revived six styles of pottery associated with Ohkay Owingeh, in collaboration with community partners and drawing on archaeological sources. He harvests clay and pigments from the earth in northern New Mexico and creates and fires finished work, using a variety of firing methods. He engages his students in this work at every stage. His pottery has been exhibited regionally and nationally to great acclaim and has been described as “technically flawless.”

Wendy Greyeyes

Associate Professor Wendy Greyeyes, Department of Native American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor Wendy Greyeye's research examines tribal sovereignty and community building, addressing the complex interplay of competing agendas, jurisdictions, and institutions that affect education policy, landholding, and social policy. Her work has advanced Native American Studies as a field based on thoughtful dialogue between academics and communities.


Associate Professor Eirini Tsiropoulou, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering 
Associate Professor Eirini Tsiropoulou studies the interactions between human users and wireless networks, integrating theories and methods from engineering as well as the social sciences to understand how to optimally allocate scarce computing and network resources under various conditions. Her work has had significant theoretical and practical impact.

Jose Cerrato

Professor José M. Cerrato, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering 
Professor José M. Cerrato is an environmental engineer who studies water contamination associated with uranium mining, primarily in New Mexico.  He is a leading expert in the biogeochemistry of metal contaminants and their interactions with soils, fungi, and plants, with important implications for human exposure and remediation. His research operates at microscopic and molecular levels to generate fundamental knowledge and then applies that knowledge to applications at contaminated sites that impact communities.

Jose Luis Hurtado

Professor José-Luis Hurtado Ruelas, Department of Music, College of Fine Arts 
Professor José-Luis Hurtado Ruelas is a composer and pianist whose compositions are performed by prominent soloists and ensembles world-wide. For example, during 2022, 2023, and 2024 performances and premiers of his work are taking place in Lithuania, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Mexico, Argentina, and the US.  He is considered one of the most gifted composers of his generation, and his work is described as highly original, compelling, and daring, incorporating new styles of notation, and requiring exceptional virtuosity from performers. 

Emily Lena Jones

Professor Emily Lena Jones, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Emily Lena Jones is an environmental anthropologist who studies the connections between humans and animals in the context of environmental change. Her work spans three continents and tens of thousands of years, using tools of zooarchaeology, stable isotope geochemistry, ancient DNA, and statistical analysis. Her work has, among many things, corrected our understanding of Native American use of horses and domestication of canines, and clarified how Neanderthals managed risk by occupying places with unfavorable but stable climates.