WNMU Board of Regents Approve New Degree Programs, Accept Property Donation, and Hear From Campus Leaders

WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard with members of the board of regents.

© Western New Mexico University

A Western New Mexico University Board of Regents approved the possible addition of 20 new degree programs, accepted a donation of property, and passed the mid-year budget adjustment request, the first quarter financial certification, and a revised version of the Five-Year Capital Outlay Projects document, also hearing updates from campus leaders during their meeting on Thursday, December 12, on campus.

Dr. Jack Crocker, WNMU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, presented the five-year degree plan, which includes three new master’s programs, baccalaureate degrees in outdoor leadership studies and political science, five new minors, several certificates and Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences degrees.

WNMU Vice President for Business Affairs Kelley Riddle presented the Mid-Year Budget Adjustment Request for Fiscal Year 2020, Fiscal Year 2020 Quarter 1 Financial Certification and Revised Five-Year Capital Outlay Projects and Institutional Capital Projects and Infrastructure Projects, all of which the regents approved unanimously.

The regents also voted to accept a donation of property near the WNMU Police Academy. WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard said the donors have been extremely generous. “Their interest is in tying in the Continental Divide Trail with a Spur Trail. From our standpoint, we look at it from an outdoor rec perspective.”

The regents voted to bestow WNMU fall 2019 commencement speaker James R. Smith an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. “This is a person who is truly deserving,” President Shepard said. “I believe in giving this high honor to people who’ve become part of the fabric of this institution.”

Regent Walz said, “Jim Smith is an institution within an institution.”

In Old Business, the regents were provided with a draft of the university president’s performance evaluation for consideration before the January meeting. “This is changing the president’s evaluation form from a slightly more general form to one that’s deeply tied to short term goals that we want to achieve within the strategic plan,” Regent Dr. Mary Hotvedt said.
The regents also heard informational reports from campus leaders.

WNMU Student Government President Darlene Chavez said senate is strong this year and is working to raise awareness of student government so those they represent have a voice. She informed the regents that WNMU Student Government plans to have student fee breakdowns approved in February this year, about a month earlier than usual.

WNMU Staff Senate President Michael Acosta said his group recently revamped the structure of senate districts. “Issues that start off as grumblings will be taken care of sooner,” he said.

In his report to the regents, WNMU Faculty Senate President Dr. Scott Fritz said faculty recently held their first research symposium for both faculty and staff. “It was built out an interest to encourage our faculty and staff to showcase their research,” he said.

Dr. Fritz informed regents of a number of faculty projects. This semester, a committee established a series of roundtable discussions to support new faculty. The WNMU Math Department engaged in a community project called Family Math Learning Nights, which builds the area school districts’ capacity to engage families in math education. A first-time interdisciplinary project WNMU drawing students took on at the WNMU Museum this semester and also reported that, this week, WNMU Social Science faculty member Dr. Joel Blaxland released a book called “Insurgency, Prewar Preparation and Intrastate Conflict: Latin America and Beyond.”

WMMU President Joseph Shepard reported that New Mexico Highlands University and WNMU re-entered a rivalry by bringing by what was previously known as the Warrior Helmet Bowl. “Because this is a friendly competition, the presidents bet that the loser had to buy the others donuts,” he said, sharing donuts purchased by NMHU to meeting attendees.

Also in his report, WNMU President Shepard described a new partnership with Pima Community College that will enable WNMU to provide high school teachers with the credentials to teach dual enrollment through an online Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program.

He shared the amounts that WNMU will request from the state legislature, briefly listing projects — such as an Early Childhood Center for Excellence, a new facility in Deming and two additional sports teams — those funds would cover.

The WNMU Board of Regents will meet next on January 30, 2020, in Santa Fe.

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