Who Exceeds Performance Measures, Creates Progressive Campus Culture

Silver City, NM – The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents came together both virtually and in person Tuesday to approve measures that will advance the institution through the coming fiscal year and beyond, also sharing their evaluation of WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard's performance.

After hearing an informational report from Dr. Shepard, the board passed a change to the faculty remote work policy, which establishes guidelines for short- and long-term remote work assignments, considering technological advances along with market demand for online and distance education.

They then reviewed and approved funding for fiscal year 2022-23 research and public service projects, including an increase of $750,000 to the Mustang Athletics appropriation for the purpose of adding women's soccer and baseball and a new request of $1 million for the WNMU Early Childhood Program Center of Excellence, where teachers will be prepared with the knowledge and strategies to support children dealing with adverse experiences in becoming resilient learners. Allocations approved as part of this vote will also go to the WNMU Center for a Sustainable Future, WNMU Center for Student Success, WNMU Veterans Center, WNMU Rural Public Safety Training Institute and Police Academy, and Mimbres Press at WNMU. With the board's support, the funding requests will now go to the state Higher Education Department for approval and to the legislature for final consideration.

With current Student Regent and Board Secretary/Treasurer Brenda Hernandez Gonzales recusing herself from the vote, members established a Student Leadership Scholarship to better enable students to serve on the board of regents, and they unanimously approved the fiscal year 2021 Fourth Quarter Financial Certification, the disposal of a campus police car, the State Investment Council Agreement, and also the release of funding for the new 14,286-square-foot facility in Deming, providing a permanent home for establish educational programs that are being run from rented facilities.

Presenting the board's evaluation of the university president's performance, Regent Vice Chair and Evaluation Committee Chair Janice Baca-Argabright said, "We found the president exceeds expectations, and his evaluation averaged out as exemplary."

Dr. Mary Hotdvedt told Dr. Shepard, "When we evaluate you, we evaluate the whole team. You've set a challenge for the entire staff and faculty to meet, and that is to create not just 4,000 students here but a way that all the parts of the university will be talking to each other and working together to achieve that kind of goal."

The WNMU president thought strategically about how to maintain and build community throughout the pandemic, Dr. Lyndon Haviland said. "He thought about the values of the institution and where we want to go."

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For more than 125 years, Western New Mexico University has served the people in its region as a comprehensive, rural, public body. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the state's only public Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences university, WNMU is committed to developing cross-cultural opportunities that encourage people to explore new experiences. The WNMU student body represents every segment of southwest New Mexico's diverse population.

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