NMSU Regents hear update on DACC Nursing Program, approve Public Policy Institute

August 20, 2012 by Julie M. Hughes, NMSU News Center

At a regular meeting Monday, Aug. 20, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents listened to concerns from the public on the loss of accreditation for the NMSU Dona Ana Community College’s Nursing Program and heard an update from DACC President Margie Huerta on the issue.

Huerta detailed communication efforts with the students to date and shared information from the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) report on the reasons cited for non-compliance.

“I want to say how disappointed and sorry we are that the nursing program accreditation has been lost. We wanted to keep our accreditation; unfortunately that did not happen,” Huerta said.

Huerta said the DACC administration had remained hopeful that increases to the pass rate, which was 100 percent in December 2011, and other improvements would help them hold on to the accreditation.

Huerta said options for the students are the largest concern at the moment. She indicated that students could remain in the program as DACC applies to regain accreditation. She also indicated other options were being considered including the review of transcripts of students currently in the DACC nursing program for possible transfer to the BSN program in the NMSU College of Health and Social Services. Such a transfer option would allow students who go on to graduate to receive a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited program. CHSS does not offer an associate degree.

Another option under consideration is working with the NMSU Carlsbad campus to help DACC students complete their associate’s in nursing through courses offered by NMSU Carlsbad faculty. Although this option is actively being explored, whether NLNAC would approve a plan of this sort for the DACC students, and whether there would be any implications for the accreditation of the NMSU Carlsbad program would have to be examined.

In addition to working with the NLNAC, DACC administration will be meeting with the CEOs of Memorial Medical Center, MountainView Regional Medical Center and Advanced Care and Rehabilitation Hospital to see if they will consider employment options for those students coming out of the program soon.

NMSU President Barbara Couture added that the NMSU system “will do everything it can to help these nursing students.”

During regular business, the Regents gave approval to move forward with the design and construction of a Public Policy Institute on the Las Cruces campus.

The Institute for Public Policy will include a state-of-the-art lecture hall; classrooms of various sizes; the Institute for Public Policy offices; the Domenici Institute offices; a conference center with large open multi-use commons area; College of Business doctoral and graduate student offices; and the office of the vice president for economic development.

The design and construction of the institute includes completely remodeling and adding to Hershel Zohn Theatre and remodeling part of Branson Library. The second floor of the east wing of Branson Library will be remodeled to house the Domenici Archives. Hershel Zohn Theatre will be totally gutted and remodeled. It will have new construction around the exterior, creating a new appearance and essentially a new building. Adaptive re-use of the existing theater not only will save money and demolition disruption, but also is a sustainable practice. Funding will be provided in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Regents also adopted an annual resolution establishing meeting notice criteria for 2012-2013. The resolution requires 10 days notice for regular meetings, three days for special meetings and 24 hours for emergency meetings. It also specifies how the public can access agendas.

The Regents approved a resolution supporting General Obligation Bonds B and C. GO Bond C will allocate money to provide much needed rehabilitation and expansions to the aging infrastructures of higher education institutions all over New Mexico and includes a total of $24 million for NMSU’s campuses, $19 million of which would be used for renovation of Hardman Hall and Jacobs Hall on the Las Cruces campus. GO Bond B will allocate $9.83 million to fund public, academic and school libraries statewide.

Dennis Prescott, vice president for university advancement and president of the NMSU Foundation, and Jeff Witte, director/secretary of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, gave informational updates to the Regents.

The board presented the Above & Beyond Award to Jeanelle Chavez, program coordinator for the Indian Resource Development Program. The Above & Beyond Award recognizes full-time employees who go the extra distance in service to any and all aspects of the NMSU system. Individuals are recognized for performance that goes “above and beyond” their regular responsibilities and for demonstrating a positive attitude that inspires others.

In making the nomination, Joe Graham, director of the IRD Program said, “She has provided crucial direction and vision to our American Indian students and part-time student employees. She engages tribal constituents and the general public in a liaison role between tribal entities and NMSU to help our program fulfill its state-mandated goals and objectives.”

Chavez does an outstanding job with the annual DreamMakers Program held at NMSU. This program is open to seventh- and eighth-graders from New Mexico Pueblos, Apache Tribes and the Navajo Nation. She also was NMSU’s sole representative on the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) Planning Committee that brought the NIEA National Conference to Albuquerque in October 2011. She played a key leadership role on the committee and is well regarded nationally by her tribal education colleagues.

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