January 26, 2015 by Mike Cheney, Chairman, NMSU Board of Regents NMSU@WORK
As chairman of the Board of Regents of New Mexico State University, I am blessed to be actively involved in celebrating the many successes our institution enjoys. From time to time I realize that I get to see things from my front row seat that don’t always make it out to the community at large. As we begin a new year, I am committed to working harder to bring NMSU into the spotlight and to share just how profoundly the NMSU team is transforming lives for the better.
If you are looking for success, it helps to have a plan. At NMSU, our strategic plan is called Vision 2020 and it defines our goals, objectives and strategies. We use it to measure how well we are doing in a number of areas and to decide how we allocate resources to achieve our goals.
One of the more important goals in Vision 2020 states “NMSU will provide a diverse academic environment supportive of a global society.” The plan outlines how NMSU will continue to build diversity through targeted recruitment, retention and services.
As a native New Mexican, I appreciate the diversity of our state and the rich, vibrant culture it creates. As a graduate of New Mexico State University, and the chairman of NMSU’s Board of Regents, I recognize the importance of diversity, especially in higher education. I believe diversity among our students, faculty and staff aids us in our land-grant mission of education, research and outreach.
Compared to the peer institutions we measure ourselves against, NMSU has the second most diverse faculty. NMSU’s student population is also the second most diverse among our peer institutions. Our student body is 56 percent female and 53 percent Hispanic. Continued growth in the numbers of Hispanic, Native American and African American students has led to NMSU’s student body being a “minority majority,” where a majority of our student population has represented minority groups, for nearly 15 years.
NMSU is dedicated to providing opportunities for our students from diverse backgrounds. This is evidenced by our numerous programs designed to help our students excel in research and academics.
NMSU’s Minority Access to Research Careers program, known around campus as MARC, has been in operation for more than 30 years and is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. The program’s goal is to increase the number of minority students receiving doctorates in biomedical fields. Students in this program represent disciplines and research interests from across the campus and past graduates of the program have gone on to doctoral programs at universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford.
For more than a decade, NMSU’s College Assistance Migrant Program, also known as CAMP, has helped migrant or seasonal farm workers, or their children, attend college. This program provides academic, emotional, social and other support for students throughout their time at NMSU and has helped dozens of students earn degrees, including graduate degrees.
The New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, called New Mexico AMP for short, is based at NMSU and is designed to increase enrollment and graduation rates of historically underrepresented groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The program is more than 20 years old and is designed to guide underrepresented students into leadership positions in industry and academia once they complete their degrees.
One of the most important aspects of Vision 2020 is that it’s posted, available for anyone to view online at http://plan.nmsu.edu/strategicplan. Placing the strategic plan online allows anyone interested to check in and see how the state’s university is doing. It also helps promote discussion and a dialogue to ensure the university is measuring the right things and staying on the appropriate path.
At NMSU I have seen many faculty and staff who are deeply committed to transforming lives through discovery and we are proud to say that diversity plays an important role in what we do.