New NMSU doctorate program first of its kind

Feb. 5, 2007 by Justin Bannister NMSU News Center

New Mexico State University will be the first university in the country to offer a Professional Doctorate in Economic Development degree.

“Economic development is a priority for New Mexico and NMSU,” said Garrey Carruthers, business dean and vice president for economic development. “This will complement our efforts in creating new economic development opportunities in the state.”

The program is designed to provide advanced graduate-level training to people already in the economic development field.

“The need for this comes from the state of New Mexico,” said Jim Peach, an NMSU economics professor and part of the team putting the program together. “We are always somewhere near the bottom in per capita income. The need for economic development is obvious.”

“This advanced degree program will provide another tool to continue to upgrade the quality of our economic development professionals around the state,” said Secretary Rick Homans, New Mexico Economic Development Department. “This program will help us discover new ideas and strategies to meet our economic challenges, especially in the rural communities of New Mexico.”

Because many of the program’s potential students are already professionals, instruction will likely be a combination of traditional classroom education, distance education and face-to-face distance education.

“It’s not our goal to train academics. We want the people we train to be able to go out and have a direct impact on economic development, especially in the state of New Mexico,” said Jim Libbin, a professor in agricultural economics and agribusiness.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people in the field of economic development either don’t have the knowledge necessary or they are self-taught,” said Peach.

Rick Adkisson, also an NMSU economics professor, said the program will be unique.

“Other universities offer master’s degree or certificates in this area, but NMSU will have the first doctorate in economic development,” he said.

The program is a partnership between the Department of Economics and International Business in the College of Business and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. The two departments already collaborate to jointly offer a Master of Arts in Economics and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics.

The new degree was approved at the state Board of Finance in January. A start date for the program has not yet been announced. Anyone interested should contact the NMSU College of Business at (505) 646-2821.

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