NMSU creates New Frontiers Institute

May 3, 2012 by Janet Perez, NMSU News Center

New Mexico State University has launched the New Frontiers Institute to provide faculty with space and support to develop creative ideas and scholarship that will benefit the entire community.

Administered by the Honors College, the New Frontiers Institute is an initiative spearheaded by Wendy K. Wilkins, executive vice president and provost of NMSU.

“The New Frontiers Institute promotes creative collaboration among the humanities, arts, natural sciences and social sciences to address the challenges that we face in the 21st century,” Wilkins said. “In keeping with New Mexico State University’s land-grant mission and its identity as a Minority Serving and Hispanic Serving Institution, the New Frontiers Institute will help prepare New Mexicans to ask meaningful questions about the future, and will champion new ways of thinking about local, regional, national and global challenges.”

William Eamon, dean of the Honors College, said the institute’s mission is to “bridge the arts, sciences and humanities in transformative ways, and to advance the cultural, ethical and aesthetic values that are essential to flourishing democratic societies.”

To realize its mission, the New Frontiers Institute will:

  • Build a campus community where scholars, thinkers and artists can share their knowledge and test their discoveries.
  • Create venues to advance knowledge across and among the disciplines.
  • Advance scholarly and artistic activity that supports NMSU’s mission as a Minority Serving and Hispanic Serving Institution.
  • Build campus and community partnerships that advance humanistic solutions to specific social and economic problems.
  • Create a program of symposia, readings and performances organized by fellows of the institute for faculty, students and the public.
  • Inspire new ways of thinking about local, regional, national and global challenges.
  • Foster life-long learning for NMSU students and faculty, as well as the community and the region.

An executive committee comprised of distinguished senior faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and College of Health and Social Services will run the institute. Eamon will serve as the interim committee chair. The provost will appoint all the members on the committee. Among its duties, the executive committee will be charged with creating policy for the institute. Members will serve three-year terms and may be reappointed for one additional term.

Each year the executive committee will select up to six New Frontiers Institute fellows from among NMSU’s tenure-track faculty. At least one junior fellow holding the rank of assistant professor and one senior fellow who is either an associate or full professor will be appointed each semester. The fellows will be released from teaching for one semester and will receive a grant of $3,000, which may be used for travel, supplies or other scholarly and creative needs. Departments will be compensated $12,000 for the released teaching faculty. The money may be used to pay replacement faculty or for other departmental purposes.

“In its first year, the institute will support three faculty members who will serve as fellows during the spring 2013 semester,” Eamon said.

Through the fellowship’s teaching release, faculty members can develop scholarly and creative projects that require an extended period of concentrated effort. A fellowship may be used to begin a new project, complete a project or develop new skills and methodologies for work in progress. Proposals for collaborative team projects also are encouraged.

During their semester, institute fellows are expected to give a public seminar, lecture, exhibition or performance based on their projects. Applicants for senior fellowships may also identify a scholar, artist or performer whose work contributes to the fellow’s project, and whom the institute may invite to the university for a performance, presentation or exhibition. Up to two speakers per year may be funded, and the executive committee will select the speakers.

The deadline for applications for spring 2013 New Frontiers Institute Fellowships is Aug. 1. For more information, log onto honors.nmsu.edu/newfrontiers.

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