From The Urban Jungle to Seeking Adventure in the Gila

The Western New Mexico University Outdoor Program’s new manager is no stranger to seeking adventure in any terrain, and Will Tracy is keen on creating memorable experiences for students while keeping an eye toward expanding the program to include an eventual undergraduate degree in outdoor leadership and adventure education, the first of its kind in New Mexico. Growing up in urban Pennsylvania, Tracy discovered a love for being outside and the physical and mental challenges that come with navigating outdoor obstacles. “My childhood recreational activities mainly consisted of climbing cell phone towers, crawling through highway underpasses and exploring gaps in spaces throughout the city,” Tracy said. Bringing experience in higher education to WNMU, most recently Tracy comes to Silver City from the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he taught adventure education at Plymouth State University and acted as a member of the search and rescue team. “I started making trips to...

WNMU Now NM Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education

Last year the New Mexico state Legislature designated WNMU as the New Mexico Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education, providing both recognition and funding avenues for WNMU to continue the work of creating meaningful solutions to the challenges of early childhood development and educator training in New Mexico. Best known for providing local residents with early childhood and family services for decades, the newly achieved legislative designation provides an opportunity for the center to expand its services and develop the standard for programs statewide. “In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized the potentially negative impact the move to remote learning and community lockdowns would have on the development of young children and stability of families,” said Cindy Martinez, Ed.D., director of NM Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education. “We worked to develop tools and information for early childhood educators and parents who were having...

Adult Education Services Revamped, Revitalized

Western New Mexico University Adult Education Services is being revitalized and looking to become more responsive and adaptable to the local and regional workforce by Colton Bjerke, who is now steering the programs. Historically known for providing free high school equivalency exam preparation, WNMU Adult Education Services also offers English as a second language classes and digital literacy instruction for free. And, Bjerke is working to expand services to include integrated education and vocational training plus civics education for migrants. While most services have lately been offered online, Bjerke is working to bring face-to-face courses and tutoring back to southwest New Mexico citizens at the university’s Silver City and Deming locations. The self-paced high school equivalency exam preparation WNMU offers is course-based and designed to allow people to start at the level that makes the most sense for them. Students who go through the program and earn their GED or...

University honors fall graduates with hybrid ceremony

This fall, 364 students earned degrees from Western New Mexico University, and the Mustang community celebrated their achievement through a hybrid commencement ceremony that once again allowed for the participation of both grads on campus and those living and attending WNMU at a distance. Of the graduates who received diplomas from WNMU this fall, 229 chose to participate in year's fall graduation ceremony, with 169 walking across the Fine Arts Center Theatre stage and 60 participating over Zoom. WNMU awarded 54 associate degrees, 157 bachelor’s degrees, 136 master’s degrees, 14 graduate certificates, 28 certificates and 2 fast track certificates. Additionally, 159 WNMU students across all programs graduated with honors, including members of the WNMU Millennium III Honors Program. To earn the distinction, students in a graduate program must receive a 4.0 GPA, with students graduating with an undergraduate degree or certificate earring a 3.5 GPA or higher. The fall 2022...

Dr. Alexandra Neves Accepted to Faculty Development Seminar in Mexico

Dr. Alexandra Neves, who is a TESOL/bilingual professor and Chair of the Teacher Education Programs in the WNMU College of Education, was selected to participate in the Council of American Overseas Research Centers/Americas Research Network 2023 Faculty Development Seminar in Mexico. The seminar will provide concrete exposure to the geographic and cultural diversity of Mexico and its historical ties to the U.S. Dr. Neves and other participants will gain first-hand experience of Mexico’s indigenous communities and meet local scholars, artists, and activists, exploring the collections held in Mexico’s museums, libraries and archaeological sites. Based in Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Puebla, the seminar runs from May 21 through June 4. “The ethnic and cultural diversity of the contemporary U.S. has many roots in the deep traditions of Latin American. Dr. Neves will learn more about the indigenous population of Mexico and migrants’ influence on the linguistic and cultural...

University seeks feedback, collaboration

At a recent public meeting held on the WNMU campus, university President Dr. Joseph Shepard along with the university’s architect and members of the WNMU physical plant, presented the first draft of the university’s five-year master plan, providing an opportunity for public comment. During the two-hour discussion, members of the public were presented with the university’s plan for future and more immediate growth and development that included an overview of both the Silver City and Deming locations. “Not thinking about and considering the future eliminates opportunities,” said university President Shepard, when discussing the important role the master plan plays in the university’s future strategic plans to handle student services, enrollment and academic programs growth, and community engagement.  Included in the draft plan are new construction projects that incorporate the Deming Learning Center, which broke ground last month, a new vocational training center to be in...

Board of Regents Honors College of Education Professor

The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents awarded emeritus designation to retiring WNMU College of Education Professor Dr. Candelario Jauregui, approved four new associate programs as part of the five-year degree plan, considered a revision to the university’s capital outlay plan and caught up with faculty, staff and student leadership representatives in person during their meeting, which was conducted in a hybrid manner Thursday. While a portion of the meeting was spent reviewing and approving financial documents, including a mid-year budget adjustment request and two revisions to the five-year capital outlay and improvement plan, the regents spent time listening to informational reports from representatives across campus, including Faculty Senate President Dr. Scott Smith, Staff Senate President Adele Springer and Associated Students of WNMU President Fernando Martinez. Regent Chair Dr. Mary Hotvedt presided over the meeting from the Serna Conference Room along with...

Associate Dean Identifies Pandemic-Related Nursing Student Challenges

Dr. Kimberly Petrovic, Associate Dean for the WNMU School of Nursing & Kinesiology, and her statewide colleagues in nursing education recently saw their article “Nursing Student Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic From 2020-2021” published in the journal, Teaching and Learning in Nursing. “This particular article demonstrates collaboration between New Mexico’s Associate Degree in Nursing programs and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs as we work to retain students who will become registered nurses in the state’s workforce in the near future,” Dr. Petrovic said. The New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium, a consortium of eleven state-funded nursing schools, asks that students complete end-of-term surveys with the goal of evaluating programs. In Spring 2020, a question was added to the survey to elicit challenges experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic: “What was the biggest challenge that you had in completing the semester/term?” This...

WNMU Pilots Interdisciplinary Workshops for Pre-Nursing Students

To facilitate more students’ entrance into Western New Mexico University School of Nursing programs, the university is taking steps to improve the pass rate of the entrance exam by offering workshops in disciplines especially essential to the career track. The content of the workshops is also designed to improve the success of nursing students by equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their progression through the program. As the WNMU School of Nursing implements its newly developed and now state grant-funded holistic student success model for pre-nursing & pre-licensure nursing education, students are completing workshops in communication and math. “We’re piloting these workshops as one way to better support nursing students through the completion of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and their ultimate entry into the workforce,” said WNMU School of Nursing Associate Dean Dr. Kim Petrovic. To strengthen writing skills for pre-nursing...