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WNMU Regents approve agenda items, including the FY 2013-14 budget

During the continuation of the Western New Mexico University Board of Regents' meeting, approvals were given for several items of business, including acquiring land, new degrees, program closure and changes, promotion and tenure and the budget. Also new officers were elected.

WNMU President Joseph Shepard discussed the proposed acquisition of a piece of property adjacent to the university. "We think it is strategic."

Regent Chairman Jerry Walz asked if the university could afford it.


Sherri Bays, financial affairs vice president, said the money was specifically appropriated for the purchase. "I think we have buy-in from Higher Education."

"We think it is realistic," Shepard said. "The current tenant keeps it in excellent shape. During the Phase 1 environmental study, it is not to say there will be no costs."

Regent Dan Salzwedel said he thought it was prudent to be proactive to protect the integrity of the university. "It's good business practice."

Regent Tony Trujillo said his dream is to find a donor to buy Fort Bayard as a university site.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Faye Vowell announced two new degrees—Detention Officer and Private Security Officer in the training academy. "We think it is a societal contribution. The programs have met the requirements for certificate programs and will help the Detention Centers with liability issues. There will be three levels for security guards—Level 1, unarmed; Level 2, armed, but no firearms; and Level 3, armed with firearms."

Walz asked about any start up fees. Vowell said the program has the capacity, and the university will contract with experts.

Salzwedel said such programs help to create the university's identity to make sure it is responsive to needs of the community and state to create productive citizens.

At that point Salzwedel apologized for having to leave the meeting, but he said he supported the administration's recommendations on the following agenda items. Shepard explained that part of Salzwedel's day job was as faculty at another university.

Vowell said, to keep programs current, the digital video course would be moved to the Expressive Arts Department and folded into a course called New Media. "It will be the same content within a new structure in an effort to streamline degree prefixes. There will only be a Bachelor of Fine Arts and no Bachelor of Science in art."

She continued with those who have gone through the processes for tenure and promotion.  Andrew Hernandez is tenured as history, online art and interdisciplinary faculty; Tre Camacho is now a full professor, and will take a sabbatical in the fall at Mayo Clinic to study bird flu; Shawn White, chemist, will take a sabbatical to study spider wasps; Ann Harvey has been named full professor; Linda Hoy will serve as interim dean of the College of Education; and Lynn Haugen will be promoted.

The post-tenure review has been done, as is required five years after a professor is tenured. "All but one passed with flying colors," Vowell said.

She also discussed the five-year degree plan, which will include a certification program for border security. "With the hiring of three or four new business faculty, we will have the re-emergency of a baccalaureate in marketing. We will also have a new program in clinical nursing leadership. We moved the doctoral program to 2014-15, so the new dean could put his or her stamp on it."

Bays said the research and public service projects would be created in the fiscal year 2014-15. "We have an additional $450,000 for the Deming cohort of the nursing program. The service-learning component was vetoed, so we will submit it to the Higher Education Department."

She presented a few highlights from the budget for fiscal year 2013-14. "The state appropriation increased by 8.6 percent and the educational component by 6.9 percent for a little less than $1 million.  The Educational Retirement Board is shifting back to the state. There will be a 1 percent compensation increase of about $109,000, with $563,000 through the formula itself. The budget includes the 5 percent tuition increase and the projected 5 percent enrollment growth. Expenditures include the compensation increase for faculty and staff, and an increase in ERB of more than 13 percent.  We froze the tuition credit. Fifty percent of expenditures are from the state. Medical insurance will increase, with a $167,000 impact, as will risk management, unemployment and reductions in workman's comp. These are unfunded mandates. A couple of years ago, we could use funding from the building renewal and replacement fund for operations, but not next year, so we will have to restore the funding. We will maintain our 3 percent reserves, meeting and exceeding the requirement.  For the museum, $169.5 million has been allocated. It was sad for the students who were lobbying in Santa Fe, but they did get $200,000 to enhance wireless capabilities. For Light Hall and a land purchase, we received $2.5 million."

Bays also presented the final budget adjustments, which reflected the anticipated bond issuance on May 23."

The regents passed the yearly resolution on the Open Meetings Act, "saying we're going to do what is required by law," Walz said.

Next on the agenda was the election of officers. "This is very important because the officers and regents are the management of the university. We work closely in conjunction with President Joe Shepard. I said I would serve only one term. Tony let Randy Briggs serve as chairman for a term, and I accepted the challenge to serve one year. I wanted to leave the chairmanship in good hands. Tony has deep and lifetime ties to this university. Tony, not only as regent and former chairman, successfully promoted and protected the university in Santa Fe, but he also has a deep commitment to the community. Tony has been able to protect jobs in the mining industry, which provides economic development that trickles down into the community. He was instrumental in the presidential search. I could go on and on extolling his successes."

Trujillo was elected as chairman, with Regent Janice Baca-Argabright to serve as vice chairman, and Student Regent Camille Hawkins to serve as secretary-treasurer. "Janice has served us well as vice chairman and will continue to do a good job," Walz said. "Hawkins has great aptitude for her position."

"When I was approached again, I said I appreciate their support," Trujillo said. "It's a team effort."

"I have been so fortunate," Shepard said. "Tony was there when I was hired, then Randy, then you, Jerry. I get accolades that the board deserves. What you have done has changed the university's course forever."

During the regents' information session, Walz said the fruits of the university are seen at graduation. "I publicly commend the students. I encourage the students to hear what David Iglesias (commencement speaker) has to say. I think his remarks will be right on the money."  

Regents heard from Laura Gillispie, Student Health Center director, on the philosophy of student health services. "We meet the medical needs of the students, including family planning, and refer them to others, if we cannot deal with their situation. This year we had 170 unduplicated clients. We continue to grow the program, with more funding, up to $10,000 this year."

Baca-Argabright said the Gallup graduation was beautiful.

"It's all about students," Trujillo said. "This weekend's activities exemplify this university."

Pat McIntire, School of Nursing dean, said the program would expand its Deming cohort by eight students. "We have an accreditation visit in the fall, and we will bring a new nursing curriculum, with the Associates Degree in Nursing being within the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Students will learn principles, rather than a list of diseases. We will add clinical nurse leader and nurse practitioner programs."

The next regents' meeting will be held May 23 in Silver City at a time and place to be announced.

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