Regents Minutes - April 2014

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

9:00 a.m., Sunday, April 13, 2014

Macey Center, Copper Room
New Mexico Tech Campus
Socorro, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 9:00 a.m., with Board of Regents Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Debra Hicks, Regent Deborah Peacock, and Student Regent Israel Rodriguez-Rios. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

1. Proof of Meeting Notice.  The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Carpenter after the President confirmed that proper legal notice had been given. He introduced Cynthia Loehr of Rodey law firm, legal counsel; Fred Phillips on behalf of Richard Sonnenfeld, Faculty Senate; Librarian Lisa Beinhoff and Ifan Payne, MRO.

2. Approval of the Agenda.  The Agenda was approved as presented on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously. The Chairman announced that an Executive Session would take place.

3. Minutes.  Regent Armijo moved to accept the Minutes for the meeting of March 13, 2014. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

4. Announcements.

Enrollment Updates.  Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming gave Regents an update on enrollment for Fall 2014: Paid applicants exceed last year’s total by 21 at this point, including 31 paid applications from Hispanic students. “We’ve worked hard to keep up the pace,” she said, adding that the University has made a smooth transition to online registration through Academic Affairs. The President noted that of entering freshmen, some 42 percent are Hispanic, in part due to demographics, and to concerted recruitment efforts.

Academic Affairs. Dr. Dezember provided updates on the pending HLC reaccreditation process and plans for the third Student Research Symposium (SRC) on April 9. A solid Institutional Profile draft has been developed, and the University is prepared for the onsite visit in March 2015. The SRC satisfies HLC’s quality initiative, she said. This year, attendance was 533, with 140 students delivering 55 presentations. A number of high schools attended the SRC, including 58 from Valencia County. Dr. Romero was keynote speaker.

Report on Advancement. At the President’s request, Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming delivered a brief report on fund-raising efforts, noting that the President’s Club Dinner of the previous evening served as a good example. The Office for Advancement is poised to launch a website to accept electronic donations. Director Colleen Guengerich met with the Council of Chairs on collaborating with academic departments to streamline their efforts with Advancement. Discussion turned to funds raised by the President’s Golf Tournament, with President López saying that some 200 students have used scholarship funds as a last resort to complete their degrees. After applicants are vetted through Financial Aid, Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming gives the President her recommendations. During discussion, she noted that Advancement will identify alumni to invite for the school’s 125th anniversary and encourage each department to host an open house.

Strategic Planning Process. The Strategic Planning Committee has been meeting every other Wednesday for the past four months and has completed a SWOT analysis. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming will compile feedback into a report for Board review. The process is on schedule, with information posted on Tech’s website. Dr. Liebrock, committee chair, reported that team members work well together, and thanked Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming and mediator Frank Reinow for their help.

President’s Report on Goals.  President López went through each of the nine goals Regents identified for him to meet for calendar year 2013, and which were detailed in a written report sent to the Board in advance of the meeting. The majority of goals were met, on target, or hinge on external factors. Chairman Carpenter noted that the Board would consider the status of the 2013 goals, either directly or indirectly, in executive session. During discussion, the President pointed out that improving student retention and graduation rates is a complex issue, and that recent retention efforts funded by federal education grants show significant improvement in student performance.

Faculty Senate Update.  Dr. Phillips cited two areas of concern: the impending changeover from an internal security system to large-scale commercial support; and the policy regarding part-time, summer faculty.  He also mentioned in this regard that the administration has cooperated in trying to work through these concerns.  Dr. Liebrock noted a potential conflict with a single, sign-on system regarding the former; Dr. Phillips thanked Ms. Shari Montazeri for her assistance on the latter.

New Mexico Tech was successful in procuring $4 million for MRO as part of a federal funding package for the Air Force. Dr. Romero credited the state’s Congressional delegation, in particular Rep. Steve Pearce. Ifan Payne is handling the transfer of the designated Air Force funds to Tech, while Dr. Romero is working with NAVAIR on a half-million-dollar project to conduct site-assessment testing. This step is necessary before the first telescope, currently in a warehouse, is installed at the mountain-top facility, and would sustain project momentum. Discussion then turned to the NESSI (New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument), which the University is building with NASA to analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets. The Chairman called a report on NESSI and MRO recently aired on Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV “outstanding.”

5. Public Comment. None.

6. Degree Conferrals for March 2014.  One degree was issued in March, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering.

7. Academic Promotion Recommendations to Full Professor:  Dr. Lisa Young, Associate Professor, Physics Dept.  Dr. Dezember brought forward for Board approval a recommendation to promote Dr. Young from an Associate Professor to full Professor, citing Dr. Young’s achievements and outside peer reviews. The President said he concurred with the recommendation. Regent Armijo moved to approve the promotion, followed by a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios. The motion passed unanimously.

8. Financial Analysis for February 2014.  University departments are within budget and deficits are being addressed; overall, New Mexico Tech is in good condition, reported Mr. Marquez. Chairman Carpenter requested the monthly analysis be an action item at the next meeting, rather than informational.

9. Final Budget Adjustment Requests for FY ’14: 

Restricted funds.  Mr. Marquez recommended that Regents approve the final BAR regarding a restricted-funds final budget adjustment request (BAR) to decrease revenue/expense projections to accommodate the decrease in research activity. Regent Peacock moved to approve the BAR. Regent Hicks seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Unrestricted funds.  Mr. Marquez recommended that Regents approve the final BAR regarding unrestricted funds, which includes an increased budget for tuition and fees to reflect actual revenue generated; reduce prior transfer to I&G fund balance from reserves (no longer needed); transfer additional funds to cover student aid; and distribute miscellaneous expenditures over I&G funds. Regent Armijo moved to approve the BAR. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

10. Tuition Increase. The President reiterated his comments from the March meeting in recommending a 5 percent tuition increase, adding that the issue was vetted before appropriate entities. Considerable discussion followed, including comments by Regent Rodriguez-Rios that lowest-paid employees benefit from the additional funds, as students had recommended. President López said no employee on campus will make less than $8 an hour, and academic departments will determine raises for faculty. Noting that student fees cover one-third of the University’s debt service, Chairman Carpenter asked if this practice was policy. The President responded that student fees is one of the few sources the school has to pay for bonds, and is standard practice at universities where residence halls are funded through external sources, Mr. Marquez added. Students who don’t live in the halls complain about the fees, noted Regent Rodriguez-Rios. Some students don’t get a direct benefit from the fees that go to debt service, agreed the President; however, Tech is a small university and can’t operate with funds from just one group of students. Regent Armijo noted that Tech’s student fees are significantly lower than those at NMSU or UNM, in part because Tech has neither parking structures nor Division I athletics. When discussion ended, Regent Peacock moved to approve the 5 percent tuition increase. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

11. Budget for 2015.   Mr. Marquez introduced the University’s budget for FY 15, including $110,517,405 in unrestricted funds, and restricted funds of $73,880,147, for total expenditures of $184,397.552. Ms. Sedillo, director of Budget & Analysis, noted that an increase from ~$38 million to ~$41 million in state appropriations is reflected in student aid and the general fund. Mr. Marquez requested that Regents approve the FY 15 budget. Regent Rodriguez-Rios so moved, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.

12. Unrestricted Funds Purchase Exceeding $250,000.

Library Subscription to Elsevier, BV.  Mr. Marquez requested Board approval to renew the University’s electronic subscription service with Elsevier for $305,000. Responding to a question from Regent Rodriguez-Rios, Dr. Beinhoff said 34,797,000 journal articles on Elsevier were downloaded or viewed over the past year. The student Regent moved to approve the purchase. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Library Subscription for EBSCO.  Mr. Marquez requested Board approval to renew the University’s electronic subscription service with EBSCO for $499,722, to be paid through the Library and general fund. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Hicks. The motion passed unanimously.

13.  Property Items to be Removed from Inventory: Resolutions 140413-01, 140413-02, 140413-03 and 140413-04. Mr. Marquez requested Board approval for the following resolutions regarding obsolete, worn-out, lost or stolen property. They were introduced by Mr. Marquez and voted on separately as follows.

Individual Board Member Comments.  Regent Peacock was on hand to see President López receive the inaugural Dream Builders Award at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque on April 11, and offered congratulations, as did Regent Hicks, who could not attend the presentation. Seating guests at long tables for the President’s Club Dinner the previous evening afforded Regents an opportunity to network with University supporters, she said. Both Regent Armijo and Chairman Carpenter echoed the remarks made by Regent Hicks.

New Business. N/A

Employee Benefit Trust.  Regents recessed the meeting at 10:25 a.m. to convene a meeting of the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported revenues of $6.1 million and expenses of $5.7 million, with no major claims at this point. He will meet with Meritain representatives to make any necessary adjustments, as the University works to erase the Trust deficit. Regents adjourned the Benefit Trust at 10:28 a.m. to reconvene as the Board of Regents.

Closed Executive Session, Pursuant to NMSA 1978, Sec. 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If   Required to Consider Legal and/or P ersonnel Matters).  On a roll call vote, Regents adjourned the regular meeting at 10:30 a.m. to meet in Executive Session.

Reconvene in Open Session and Report on Final Action, if any, on such Limited Personnel Matters Shall in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session.  The Board reconvened in open session at 11:09  a.m. Chairman Carpenter announced that pursuant to the above statute governing a closed session of the Board, only the matter stated was discussed and no action was taken. Regent Hicks moved to amend the existing contract for President López to reflect a 3 percent increase, consistent with raises approved for staff; and to increase his car allowance to $35,000 per annum. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:16 p.m. on a motion by Regent Hicks and seconded by Regent Peacock.