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Regents Report: Consultant Delivers Marketing Report

SOCORRO, N.M. May 21, 2010 – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents did their most enjoyable task Friday, May 14 – approving the list of graduates for 2010 Commencement.

Board president Ann Murphy Daily said the ceremonial act is a highlight of the year for all the board members.

The Regents’ annual meeting in May is typically short of action items, but the board heard three informational items of note. ]

Vice President of Student and University Relations Melissa Jaramillo Fleming presented a comprehensive report from Tech’s marketing consultant.

Vice President of Research Dr. Van Romero reported on the controversy he started in April by suggesting ‘M’ Mountain be changed to ‘T’ Mountain.

Dr. Peter Scholle, the director of the Bureau of Geology, presented the Regents with advance copies of the Bureau’s latest and greatest book.

Jaramillo Fleming presented the Regents with an extensive report on Tech marketing, recruitment and retention, prepared by Stamats, the university consulting agency.

Stamats is a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company that specializes in higher education marketing, communications, fund-raising and admissions. The company’s report was eight months in the making. The report included frank discussion about Tech’s short-comings in visual identity, Internet presence, recruiting and alumni relations. The report suggested re-examining entrance requirements (for instance, requiring calculus) and putting Tech’s most engaging and most effective instructors in the freshman level courses.

Regent Richard Carpenter said, “This report is dynamite.” He commended Jaramillo Fleming for having the foresight and bravery to solicit criticisms and encouraged her and the university to act on the Stamats recommendations.

The complete report will soon be available digitally from marketing director Edie Steinhoff at 835-5620 or esteinhoff@admin.nmt.edu. The complete report will also be posted on the Tech website.

Regarding the ‘M’, Romero said he wanted to call attention to the symbol because 2010 represents the 100th anniversary of the ‘M’. He has since abandoned the idea of changing the letter and has mounted a new public campaign to support the ‘M.’

“It’s been a rewarding process,” Romero said. “I’ve heard from people all over the country who feel an emotional attachment to the ‘M’.”

A two-time graduate of Tech, Romero returned to Socorro in the early 1990s to find that the annual “Paint the ‘M’” had been abandoned. Romero resurrected the event and has been organizing the run ever since.

Throughout the controversy, students, alumni and community members commented about their emotional connection to the ‘M.’ Many graduates commented about how the difficulty of the Paint the ‘M’ event mirrors the rigors of the Tech curriculum.

Romero hopes to raise $10,000 via $100 donations to fund a work project in late summer or fall. Each donor will get a limited edition T-shirt that has the Tech logo with a ‘T’ in place of the ‘M’ and says “The ‘T’ That Didn’t Fly” on the back. Those interested in donating can call Lavern Robinson at 835-5616.

Volunteers working on a summer project would mainly help create a safe footpath from the parking area at the top of the mountain to the ‘M’, which is about 500 yards away over rough terrain.

Currently, Tech hosts only two annual events at the ‘M.’ Romero said the university would need to improve access if it were to host more open events, like alumni receptions or community outings. With the general support, he officially launched a fund-raising campaign to improve the road and the footpath atop the mountain.

Scholle presented the Regents with advance copies of the Bureau’s latest and greatest book.

Scholle said the book, “The Geology of Northern New Mexico’s Parks, Monuments and Public Lands,” is the Bureau’s magnum opus. Five years in the making, the book opens the world of geology to the lay person.

The contributing writers are Bureau scientists and professional geologists. The collaborative effort was spearheaded by Bureau editor Greer Price. The 350-page book features color photos, drawings, maps, sketches and cross-section drawings on every page.

The volume is an authoritative overview of the geology of northern New Mexico’s parks, monuments, and public lands, with information on the regional setting, the rock record, and the most prominent geologic features. The book includes chapters on nine national parks and monuments, 17 state parks, and many of the most popular public land areas in this part of the state. Two chapters are devoted to the newest federal land attractions – the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Kashe-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. With nearly 300 full-color geologic maps, graphics, and photographs, Scholle said the book is a perfect introduction to the some of New Mexico's most significant geologic landscapes.

The book is available for $24.95 at the Bureau office or on the Bureau’s website.

In other news, the Regents:

  • Learned that the Employee Benefit Trust has year-to-date revenues of $6.79 million and expenditures of $7.09 million.
  • Approved the faculty appointment of Dr. Steve Simpson in the CLASS Department. The position was created via the $5 million Title V grant Tech received in 2009 for the Department of Graduate Studies.
  • Approved the quarterly financial statement and the financial analysis, both of which show the university to be operating within budget.
  • Learned of one restricted fund purchases. EMRTC contracted with Crumpton Massie Technologies for work at Playas for $439,640.
  • Approved the Skeen Library’s annual contract with EBSCO for journal subscriptions for $475,925.
  • Heard yet again that enrollment is significantly ahead of last year. First-year Tech students already number 310, compared with 236 at the same time in 2009. President Lopez said the university is nearly certain to have its largest freshman class ever in the fall.

-- NMT --

By  Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech