SOCORRO – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents was briefed yesterday afternoon on the highlights of the recently concluded session of the New Mexico State Legislature, with particular focus on legislation that was approved by lawmakers pertaining to the state-supported research university.
During the governing board’s March 22 meeting, New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López characterized the 60-day legislative session as having been “very successful for state higher education, with only a few disappointments at the end.”
New Mexico Tech will stand to gain from several bills that state legislators passed, López told the regents, including the following:
*an additional 6.7 percent more in state funding for many of the university’s various research divisions;
*$1.2 million for needed furniture and equipment for the university’s new Joseph A. Fidel Student Services Center;
*$1 million in annual funding for the statewide Technology Research Consortium (TRC), of which New Mexico Tech will act as the lead fiscal agent;
*$300,000 for an Aerosol Technology Research Center, a joint project with Tech and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque being developed in conjunction with the TRC;
*$300,000 for a statewide aquifer mapping project to be conducted by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR);
*$275,000 for matching funds and to establish a petroleum library at the Petroleum Recovery Research Center’s (PRRC) satellite office in Roswell;
*$150,000 for initial planning for a new building to house the NMBGMR;
*a $60,000 operating budget for the annual New Mexico Decision Makers Conference, which is hosted each year by the NMBGMR; and
*$40,000 for repairs and improvements at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course.
However, López also noted that funding appropriations that had been approved earlier in the legislative session for some of New Mexico Tech’s research divisions, including the NMBGMR and the New Mexico State Mine Inspector’s Office, were cut back, or “sanded,” by four percent by the end of the session.
In addition, López told the Tech regents that about $35 million in approved capital projects for the state’s various institutions of higher education, including New Mexico Tech, had been vetoed.
López also told regents that he and his administration would be trying to secure an additional one percent salary increase for all Tech employees in the coming fiscal year, on top of the two percent raise that is provided for in the recently passed state budget.
In official actions taken at its monthly meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents voted to accept an independent financial audit report of the university’s financial statements by the firm of Neff + Ricci LLP. The independent auditor’s report expressed and “unqualified opinion,” meaning there was nothing amiss in their findings.
The board of regents also approved the appointment of Kristine C. Harper to the full-time, tenure-track position of assistant professor of history with New Mexico Tech’s Department of Humanities.
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also granted academic tenure to both Penelope J. Boston, a research associate professor of cave and karst science at the university, and T. David Burleigh, associate professor of materials and metallurgical engineering at Tech.
In addition, the regents also granted academic tenure and promotion to associate professor to the following individuals:
*Mary Dezember, Department of Humanities;
*Junhang Dong, Department of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Chemical Engineering;
*Kenneth B. Eack, Department of Physics;
*Susan L. Field, Department of Humanities;
*Alexander V. Prusin, Department of Humanities, and
*Lisa M. Young, Department of Physics.
Also acting in an official capacity as the university’s governing board, Tech regents voted to approve a $599,000 contract bid made by low-bidder HRT Roofing and Construction, Inc. to begin repair work on the metal roofs of 19 buildings around the campus that were damaged by last year’s devastating hailstorm.
During its March meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents re-elected Jerry A. Armijo as board chairman and Richard N. Carpenter as secretary-treasurer.