NMSU and UNM Board of Regents discuss N.M. higher education

09/20/2014 by Julie M. Hughes, 575-646-1953, juhughes@nmsu.edu, NMSU News Center

The New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico Boards of Regents held a special joint meeting Sept. 20 to discuss current issues in higher education in New Mexico.

Dave Lepre, executive director of the Council of University Presidents, gave an overview of the council’s efforts regarding the higher education funding formula. The formula has been moving from expenditure-based to performance-based, but has had some growing pains, Lepre said.

Lepre has worked for several years statewide on task forces and committees to see if there is something that can be done to make the formula more sustainable. A recommendation for a formula for fiscal year 2016 has been put forward and is being vetted across the institutions at this time. The formula includes distribution based on student-credit hours, STEM and at-risk degrees and mission-specific measures.

Lepre said the Council of University Presidents will meet Oct. 22 to finalize the list of priorities for the council.

NMSU Regent Kari Mitchell and UNM Regent Suzanne Quillen discussed a K-20 Pipeline Initiative and Employability Partnership, a statewide effort modeled on the Bridge of Southern New Mexico. The Bridge is a public-private partnership in Dona Ana County connecting key leaders from business, economic development, government and education to link educational success for students with a stronger future workforce.

N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez created the Employability Partnership in 2012 in response to increasing concerns from business leaders, economic development indicators, poor educational outcomes, lack of return on investment from tax dollars used to train and educate New Mexico’s workforce and a declining job market.

Strategic initiatives for the Employability Partnership are to establish an integrated workforce delivery system, realize a smarter return on investment, establish real accountability for results, champion effective teachers and school leaders, develop a business engagement strategy and launch a formal public/private entity.

“There is so much that can be accomplished when institutions of higher education collaborate, especially for the benefit of economic development,” Mitchell said.

Greg Fant, NMSU deputy provost, gave a presentation on alignment and articulation. Fant said he has been working on a systemwide course alignment initiative with NMSU community colleges to align student-learning outcomes in courses that are taught on multiple NMSU campuses.

Other alignment efforts are underway in the areas of early childhood education and nursing. Fant also discussed course exchanges between NMSU and UNM in the areas of engineering and the Cooperative Pharmacy Program, and articulation, specifically maximizing transfer credits based on a student’s clear vision and being advised correctly toward that vision.

Finally, NMSU Regents Professor Jeffrey Arterburn and Eric Prossnitz with the UNM Cancer Center, who have been working together for more than 10 years, discussed their research on the roles of estrogen, which impact many functions of the body.

Their joint research has resulted in a great deal of international recognition, including 23 joint publications, about 4,000 citations, millions of dollars in research funding for the state and two patents that are licensed to New Mexico companies.

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