President Wells: Tech is an Incredible Institute of Higher Education

New President Looks to Raise Tech's Profile

“I don’t want New Mexico Tech to be the best hidden gem in the state,
I want it to be the gem of the state,” 
 - Dr. Stephen G. Wells


Dr. Stephen WellsSOCORRO, N.M. - Dr. Stephen G. Wells doesn’t have one specific objective in mind when it comes to starting his tenure as New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology’s new president.


“I never have a hierarchical priorities, I have them all at one time. I multitask,” he said, half seriously, half kidding.


Still Dr. Wells was well aware of Tech’s outstanding academic and research reputation during his tenure as the president of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute for the past 17 years. He knew of it during his five years at UC Riverside, his 15 years as a faculty member at the University of New Mexico, and during his time at Los Alamos National Labs.


Now Dr. Wells wants everyone else to know about it, too.


“I don’t want New Mexico Tech to be the best hidden gem in the state, I want it to be the gem of the state,” Dr. Wells said. “For 17 years at Nevada, All I heard from Tech Alumni was, ‘ my former institutioin is the best hidden gem in the state.’ We’re going to work diligently so that Tech is recognized across the state as the best educational and scholarly institution. That word needs to be out, across the state, the nation and internationally.”


Getting the word out about New Mexico Tech’s excellent academic reputation and raising the profile of the university is an important goal for Dr. Wells.


“As I did at DRI, my goal here is to raise the profile of Tech as a recognized and highly-valued institute of higher education and ensure for the students that we have the type of education that they’ve valued over all of these decades. That means outstanding faculty, productive faculty, innovative approaches to education, and hands-on, critical thinking opportunities.”


Dr. Wells points out that a raised profile goes a long way to improving a university. It also serves as a big tool for another one of his key goals for his tenure, improving Tech’s fundraising ability.


“I am very committed to seeking out new resources for this institution and building resource capability that allows it to grow,” he said. “Not necessarily dependent upon the state of New Mexico for its resources, but other areas as well. I really look forward to getting on the ground and working with our alumni and with industry in building the capabilities for doing that – raising our capabilities on the campus.”


This is the only mission-specific performance measure that the state has identified for the three research institutions - Tech, UNM and New Mexico State. Bringing resources from outside of New Mexico and raising the profile of the institution provides multiple benefits.


First, the added resources strengthen the research arm. It also informs the body of knowledge, which translates into a higher level of instruction in the classroom. It provides professional entre to both undergraduate and graduate students, who work side-by-side with research faculty. This is one of the main reasons why New Mexico Tech graduates are so attractive to employers.


When you compete for these grants, you compete against the best. Enhancing the reputation of the institution enhances the ability to compete.


To that end, Dr. Wells’ calendar for the next few weeks will be filled with a number of meet and greets, both off and on campus.


“I also look forward to walking around the campus and stopping by departments and meeting the faculty and students,” Dr. Wells said. “I’ve already had the delight of walking to work today and running into faculty members and talking to them and students. To me, that’s been a real thrill.


“I want to take advantage of every opportunity to get to know students. That includes sitting on the lawn with them, being at the Fidel Student Center, having them come to my office, or meeting with the student organizations. They are the reason we’re all here.”


Dr. Well's first staff meeting as New Mexico Tech's President