The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents reviewed the fall 2020 campus reopening plan, approved the university president’s retention initiative, and voted on a number of business items pertinent to the turn of the fiscal year during their workshop and meeting on Monday.
Introducing the reopening plan, WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard stressed that the university’s strategy is continually changing based on health guidelines and also procedures put in place by governing bodies like the NCAA. “It’s a moving target at best,” Dr. Shepard said.
The plan states that WNMU classes will resume in three phases this fall. To accommodate students arriving from out of state and needing to quarantine in compliance with state health orders, the first portion of the semester will be conducted entirely online. There will be no face-to-face instruction between August 17 and September 7. Following Labor Day, some classes may commence in a hybrid format by adding in select face-to-face or hands-on activities. From November 30 through the end of the semester, classes will return to fully online formats.
“The majority of students wanted to return face-to-face, but they’re also very considerate of our professors and community,” Associated Students of WNMU President Brenda Hernandez said of the plan.
Upon approval of the president’s retention initiative, Dr. Shepard said, “It’s been an honor to continue to serve this university.”
Board Vice Chair Dr. Mary Hotvedt credited all WNMU employees for helping Dr. Shepard achieve the university’s goals. “The evaluation is really an evaluation of the functioning of the whole university,” she said.
Board members heard from faculty and staff on a variety of topics including the fall reopening plans, enrollment, Mustang Athletics, and new Title IX procedures during their workshop, which ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Leaders from around campus also presented updates on the program prioritization and enhancement process, which will guide the evaluation of academic programs, as well as the like assessment of staff processes.
Although Monday’s workshop and meeting occurred virtually in accordance with the protocols intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, longtime WNMU board of regents member and current Board Chair Jerry Walz said it was among the most productive he has participated in. “We’re all trying to figure out what the new normal is. Western is at the crossroads — as are many other universities. I believe we’re going to make it.”