November 19, 2009 by Julie M. Hughes NMSU NewsCenter
Barbara Couture was appointed New Mexico State University’s 25th president during a special meeting of the Board of Regents Thursday, Nov. 19.
“Dr. Couture is the best fit for this university. She immediately took to our campus and her interaction during the open forums demonstrated an ability to relate to our students, faculty, staff, community members and statewide partners,” said Regents Chair Blake Curtis. “She will bring valuable insights from her experience at land-grant universities. We are confident in her leadership skills and value her commitment to being a long-term participant in NMSU’s future.”
“I am honored to be selected as the next president of New Mexico State University,” Couture said. “The NMSU community of faculty, students and staff impressed me from the very beginning with their hopes and dreams for this great university to be the best it can be. I will work tirelessly to assure that NMSU fulfills its promise as the state’s great land-grant university, promoting educational access and cultural diversity, strengthening relationships across the university’s campuses and extension sites, and achieving excellence in teaching, research, and engagement with the communities, businesses, and industries across the state of New Mexico.”
Couture, D.A., is the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Couture will start Jan. 1, 2010, at a salary of $385,000. Her contract also includes use of the presidential residence, a car, a country club membership and at the end of five years a $500,000 retention bonus funded by the NMSU Foundation. Curtis said the retention bonus was in response to the many stakeholders who expressed a desire for a long-term leader.
“This decision follows a nationwide search that yielded a diverse field of candidates who were carefully considered,” Curtis said. “The input from our many constituents was thoroughly reviewed as part of the process. We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback. It was critical to the final decision.”
In her position at UNL, Couture initiated efforts to reform general education resulting in an outcomes-based general education program, nationally recognized as an exemplary program by the AACU; and she has led efforts to engage UNL in international partnerships, developing targeted partnership degree programs in China and increased global research opportunities. She is currently the principal investigator on a $3.8 million National Science Foundation-funded ADVANCE grant, and has led campuswide efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of a high-quality, diverse faculty. Nationally, she chairs the Executive Committee for the Council on Academic Affairs for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Couture earned a bachelor’s degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan where she also earned her master’s and doctor of arts degrees in English language and literature. An award-winning writer, Couture received the Outstanding Book Award at the 2000 Conference on College Composition and Communication for “Toward a Phenomenological Rhetoric: Writing, Profession and Altruism.”