NMSU dean designs roadmap for graduate school

August 10, 2015 by Tiffany Acosta, NMSU News Center

Whether it is locating a gene that contributes to curing a disease or finding new methods to teach children how to read, New Mexico State University Graduate School Dean Loui Reyes wants students to imagine the freedom to discover.

Loui Reyes, New Mexico State University Graduate School dean, plans for the future with an eye on local and international students. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Loui Reyes, New Mexico State University Graduate School dean, plans for the future with an eye on local and international students. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

“A student who comes to NMSU to do a master’s or doctorate degree is going to have freedom to discover, because it is their scholarship that is going to find cures for cancer or HIV or diabetes. It is this new scholar that is going to find ways to better teach our young children, work against poverty or find health solutions,” said Reyes, who became dean in spring 2015. “And we have to create a space in which our students can have that freedom to discover.”

Reyes noted that making the graduate school process simple, convenient and accessible for students would aid both prospective and current NMSU students in their path to attain graduate degrees. A few of his goals for the graduate school are to increase degree completion, decrease the time to graduation and increase enrollment.

“One of my biggest visions is I want NMSU to be looked upon as a Hispanic-serving, land-grant institution in rural New Mexico in a global world,” Reyes said. “The work that we do here impacts the world. For many years, we have seen New Mexico State University as an institution for New Mexico and we are and we’re good at that; an institution for the local community and state; but now we’re also recognizing that we are good for the world. We’re a land-grant institution finding ways to expand our solutions to the world community.”

Because of NMSU’s attributes, Reyes said it’s vital to market the graduate school to surrounding countries in Latin America as well as Mexico.

In addition to recruiting international students, Reyes knows how critical it is to keep Aggies on campus. He wants to encourage juniors and seniors to consider staying an extra year at NMSU to complete a master’s. Reyes said another method to attract students is with NMSU’s online education programs. For the graduate school to expand, Reyes said knowing NMSU’s strengths is a necessity.

“We have to know what our niche is. What I have identified as the niche for NMSU is we are great in research and teaching,” he said. “That’s what we do the best. That is evident by the number of degrees we confer every year.”

NMSU awarded 92 doctorate degrees in spring 2015 and 105 in fall 2014.

“Another niche is affordability. For the cost quality of education we offer at NMSU and for the cost, it is superb.”

Having served in various leadership roles in the Graduate School since 2011, Reyes relates his position to a game warden and park ranger.

“The graduate school has several different functions,” Reyes said. “One of the functions is to provide quality control for all aspects of graduate education by maintaining the standards set forth by our graduate faculty. They’re the ones that establish the standards for all graduate students. We, the Graduate School, are the wardens. We make sure every one of those standards is met. Park rangers are entrusted with our natural resources and they are the stewards of them. So I have to ensure that graduate students are having a graduate experience in a wonderful environment, that is receiving excellent graduate education and the scholarly activities that go with it.”

Reyes began his career at NMSU as faculty member in early childhood education. In his tenure as a professor he enjoyed mentoring master’s degree and doctoral students and conducting action research projects, which led to his involvement with the Graduate School.

“Graduate education is all about inquiry, discovering and learning,” he said.

While Reyes has only been dean since early March, one of his short-term projects was to reorganize the graduate school, which should be completed by September. He said the Graduate School is also revisiting admission processes to become more efficient.

In the long-term, Reyes wants to enhance the quality of graduate education, assist the faculty and administrators in building world-class programs and support students from recruitment to admission through graduation.

For more information on the NMSU Graduate School visit http://gradschool.nmsu.edu.

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