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Student Engagement Program Welcomes New Director

SOCORRO, N.M. August 1, 2012 – The Student Engagement and Success program has a new director. Lisa Majkowski is stepping up from Activities Director to Program Director, as Dr. Michael Pullin takes over as chair of the Chemistry Department.

“Under Mike Pullin’s directorship, the program got off to a great start,” Majkowski said. “The next step is to expand the offerings so students in each major have something available.”

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Lisa Majkowski

Director of the Title V undergraduate program Student Engagement and Success

 

 

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Peter Gerity said the change was prompted by the need for a new chair in the Chemistry Department.

“Mike Pullin is one of the more senior members of the department,” Gerity said. “I told him we desperately need his services back in Chemistry. Mike will be heavily involved in recruitment and taking the department forward in a new direction. This is an opportunity for him to shape the department.”

Gerity and Christy Neill, Director of Strategic Planning and Resource Development for Academic Affairs, both said they are confident that Majkowski will provide a seamless transition as the Student Engagement and Success program expands.

“Lisa is the right person for the job,” Gerity said. “She’s clearly demonstrated the capabilities to manage the program and take the lead.

Neill said, “Lisa has a good rapport with the faculty on campus and she has a science degree. She can build connections that we need for the program to be successful.”

New Mexico Tech has enjoyed a perfect success ratio in applying for Title V grants. The university has secured three Title V grants – that’s one per year since achieving the federal designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution.

The Student Engagement and Success, or SES, program is funded by a federal Title V grant and focuses on undergraduate programs. The program includes several components, including installation of Smart Classrooms, faculty training and new learning lounges in residence halls. However, the largest, most visible component of the SES program is the Living-Learning Community, or LLC.

The LLC program puts a group of students in the same dorm and has them taking the same three classes and sharing a year-long research project.

The theme for the inaugural program was sustainability. During the first semester, the Learning Community students broke into teams and conducted audits of energy and water consumption on campus. During the spring semester, students constructed and monitored wind and solar energy systems. The program is the first concerted effort at Tech to provide research opportunities to freshmen.

The 2012-2013 Learning Community program will be expanded to three cohorts. The sustainability theme will continue and two additional themes will be added: a computer science group and an Earth science group. The computer science students will create a new Android application specific for Tech students. The Earth science group will work with the theme of “Spaceship Earth,” taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying how the planet works.

Majkowski is charged with overseeing the entirety of the Student Engagement and Success program

“Typically when a student comes here, there’s a series of introductory course work to take before getting into the heart of the discipline,” Majkowski said. “By developing LLCs at Tech, we’re giving students the opportunity to find their identity as a future scientist or engineer. Freshmen don’t often get the chance to do research.”

The Living-Learning Communities – and the entire SES grant – aim to connect students with each other, with faculty members and with the campus during their first year. Students who make connections are more likely to persist and succeed, Majkowski said.

“Plus, students have a chance to work with a tight-knit group of faculty members to conduct research or design and build a project,” Majkowski said. “That adds something valuable to their résumé with real-life hands-on experience.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech