Let’s Be the Economic Engine for New Mexico

October 12, 2010by NMSU President Barbara Couture @NMSU

As we continue to explore our Seven Steps to Success in my bi-weekly letters to our faculty and staff, let’s take this time to discuss the ways we will work to build our role as the economic engine for New Mexico.

One quick note before we begin: We have scheduled a Faculty and Staff Forum from 2-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the Corbett Center Auditorium to discuss the goals outlined for this year, provide an update from Santa Fe and outline the Las Cruces campus budget reduction process. The forum will be webcast at http://mediasite-server.nmsu.edu/ictmsite5/Viewer/?peid=6316882f9cf343bda1253ce2ef59fbec.

I hope that you can join us.

Now, on building our role as the economic engine for New Mexico, we already have identified two strategies we can follow to achieve this goal. First, we must ensure that we are doing the best we can to garner research funding through strengthening our research support processes. Second, we must build the relationship between our research programs and economic development. As I reported in my last column in @nmsu, we have established an ad-hoc task force, led by Vice President for Research Vimal Chaitanya, to examine the effectiveness of our research processes. Members of the task force will examine ways that we can improve our processes of submitting grants and tracking grant accounts once researchers have won them to ensure that we are making maximum use of the funding granted. The committee is making good progress and I will report on their work in the near future.

Another development has been to have the vice president for economic development – Dean Garry Carruthers – now report directly to my office for that role; he continues to report to the provost as dean of the College of Business. With this move, both the vice president for research, whose change in reporting line I announced earlier this year, and the vice president for economic development will be in constant communication with me and work jointly on efforts to increase relationships between these units.

I also will soon establish a task force to evaluate what NMSU can do to integrate research and economic development activities through working with business partners throughout the state. I will have an update on appointments to this committee soon.

In the meanwhile, our VP for economic development, Garrey Carruthers, has started work on a comprehensive business plan for fully engaging the university in business and economic development in the state. While still in its formative stages, the goal is to establish NMSU as a premier business and economic development university.

VP Carruthers will work with units around the university to enlist their ideas and support in this more focused economic development effort. The first draft of this plan will be ready by the spring.

The plan will include more engagement with the private sector, particularly in creating a “proof of concept center,” a relatively new form of university engagement where private funding supports university faculty, staff and students in solving business problems and developing high-tech, commercially viable enterprises.

More on these developments as we proceed.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that early voting for the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 16-30. As you know, NMSU and other institutions across the state are represented in the ballot’s Bond D, which would raise $155.2 million statewide. That total includes $28.4 million for NMSU, which would include $18 million for the Institute for Public Policy; $1.75 million for NMSU-Alamogordo infrastructure renovation and expansion; $1.25 million for NMSU-Carlsbad infrastructure renovation and expansion; $5.65 million for NMSU-Doña Ana for Gadsden Center Phase III; and $1.75 million for NMSU-Grants infrastructure renovation and expansion. Bond B also contains important provisions that benefit libraries across the state, including our own NMSU libraries.

Please take the time to vote.

As always, best wishes for success in your teaching, research and service to the university.

Written by NMSU President Barbara Couture.

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