Regents Minutes - August 2014

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

9:00 a.m., Friday, August 2, 2014

Eldorado Hotel
Santa Fe, 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 affirmed that proper legal notice had been given.

2. Approval of the Agenda. The Chairman announced that in the future, the monthly Financial Analysis should be listed as an action item, rather than information. The Agenda was approved unanimously as presented on a motion by Regent Peacock and a second from Regent Armijo.

3. Minutes.  The Minutes from the May 9, 2014 meeting were unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Hicks.

4. Announcements.

Enrollment updates.  President López noted that fall enrollment will be flat or slightly ahead of last year. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming added that historically, the University loses some 40 paid applicants. The residence halls are full, and completion of renovations to Presidents Hall will add an additional 50 beds, bringing the total close to 800. Last year, the University had a 99 percent occupancy rate. Presidents Hall received its certificate of occupancy after a very successful renovation, reported Mr. Hidalgo. The 1939 structure was last remodeled in the 1980s. Even with new furniture and equipment, the project was completed within its $1.5 million budget. Mr. Hidalgo offered to give Regents a tour at their next meeting.

Funding Formula. The President said the funding formula process is progressing, after a succession of meetings with key agency representatives, including the Director of Higher Education, all of whom are beginning to understand the complexity of the issue. He anticipated a consensus by mid-October, when the formula will be presented to the Legislative Finance Committee.

Strategic Planning Update.  The Strategic Planning Committee has met every two weeks since last November, and is on schedule for an end-of-the-year completion, said Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming, with the initial 25-member committee now divided into smaller communities. Dr. Sonnenfeld, a committee member, noted that the groups are trying to be innovative and focused, and that the process is moving ahead. A strategic plan is just that, a plan and not a budget document, added the President; it is intended to provide direction and focus over a period of time.

New Capital Requests.  Converting Jones Hall into a Mechanical Engineering center would require some $5- to $6 million for a complete renovation of what President López called “a dysfunctional building.” The University also may ask for one-time maintenance funding for landscaping; however, capital funding is less of an issue this year, he noted. There followed a discussion on reasons for the success of New Mexico Tech’s ME program. Among the reasons cited was the opportunity for students to work on design projects during both their junior and senior years; team projects, active recruitment, and faculty involvement. Also cited was the effect of MythBusters in attracting students to explosives research.

EMRTC Partial Payment of Playas Deficits. Prefacing his report with the caveat that final totals have yet to be tabulated, the President announced that EMRTC has reduced its debt by over $1 million over the past year, and he is optimistic the division will completely erase it.

New Graduate Degrees.  President López noted that the University is in the early stages of a lengthy process to develop two new graduate degree programs employing the life sciences and engineering disciplines. Dr. Romero pointed out that one of the issues under discussion is a joint appointment between the Biology Department and another department, as yet to be determined.

Success Planning.  The President said he has begun planning for his retirement at the end of June 2016 by identifying younger individuals who could move into more senior positions, in easing the transition forward. He will expand upon the issue in his goals report to the Board for 2014.

Sabbatical.  Dr. Dezember apprised Regents of a sabbatical granted for Dr. Anders Jorgensen, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Faculty Senate.  Dr. Sonnenfeld noted that the faculty report presented to the Board at last year’s retreat was not updated for this year, adding that positive developments have unfolded, including improved campus parking. Other developments: 1) A new position has been authorized for the Psychology Department; and 2) Improved processes, improved transparency. He singled out Dr. Dezember for her help, adding that he will step down at the September meeting after two years as chair.

Other.  President López announced that he and Mr. Adams had discussed a resolution to clarify that proceeds from the Charles Headen estate transfer to the Foundation rather than the University, thereby making the process more efficient. The Chairman asked that the proposed resolution be presented at the September meeting. Also in September is the President’s Golf Tournament, for which more volunteers are needed to help run the tournament and to find sponsorships for additional team players.  With respect to Bond Issue C, which if passed, would provide the funds for construction of the Chemistry building.  University employees cannot actively campaign for passage of the Bond or expend state funds in support of the Bond issue in November; however, Regents were encouraged to lobby for its passage. In addition, New Mexico Tech has been tagged as the lead university for an independent review of the WIPP facility in Carlsbad under a $1.6 million proposal through the state Congressional Delegation. A series of public meetings will be announced. The President cited Espanola native Giovanni Luchetti, an NMT alumnus now working on a major medical patent as a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford, as an example of the quality of students at the University. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming waged a friendly challenge to Dr. Romero for the best division float in this year’s 49ers parade.

Public Comment.  None.

Degree Conferrals for June 2014.  New Mexico Tech conferred nine degrees during the month of June 2014.

Financial Analysis for June 2014.  Mr. Marquez reported revenues of $41.1 million for 2014 compared with $38.8 million for 2013, and expenditures of $36.6 million and $35.6 million respectively. Tuition and fees collected exceeded last year’s total by $569,067. Overhead income is $694,657 ahead of last year.

Promotion to Full Professor for Dr. Sue Bilek.  Dr. Dezember brought forward for Regents’ consideration promotion to full professor for Dr. Bilek in the E&ES Department. Regent Hicks moved for approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Capital Projects/Five-Year Facilities Plan.  The University’s five-year plan has been updated, with the renovation of Jones Hall moving to the top of the priority list, followed by MRO. Dr. Romero apprised the Board of a pending visit from the vice president at the University of Chicago who is involved with the new telescope project in Chile. Dr. Romero will invite his visitors to tour the MRO mountain-top facility.

10. Notification of Awards.  Regents were referred to their meeting notebooks for details of this informational item.

11. Property Items Resolution, Reference NMSA 1978. Mr. Marquez introduced the following resolutions. 140802-01, to remove worn-out or obsolete property under $5,000: Regent Peacock moved for approval. Regent Hicks seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. 140802-02, to remove worn-out or obsolete property over $5,000: Regent Armijo moved for approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. 140802-03, to remove cannibalized property over $5,000: Regent Hicks moved for approval. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. 140802-04, to remove cannibalized property under $5,000: Regent Hicks moved for approval, followed by a motion from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.

12. Emeritus Status Request.  Dr. Dezember presented for Board approval emeritus status for the following five faculty: Dr. Kent Condie, E&ES; Dr. Steve Shaffer, Math; Mr. Barry Sabol, Physics Laboratory; Dr. Andrew Sung, CS&E; Dr. John Wilson, E&ES. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved that emeritus status be granted to all five. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

13. Set 2014 – 2015 Meeting Calendar. Ms. Garcia assisted Regents in scheduling meetings for the coming year. All meetings are in Socorro unless otherwise noted. For 2014, dates are: Sept. 9, Oct. 16 and Nov. 21 (Carlsbad, tentatively). For 2015, dates are:  Feb. 6 (Sana Fe), March 13 (Santa Fe), April 12 and May 8.

14. Individual Board Member Comments.  Regent Hicks cited examples of how members’ contacts can be helpful to students; i.e., one student landing an internship with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. She also thanked Regent Peacock for hosting “a great tour” during the retreat. Regent Peacock in turn expressed her gratitude to Chairman Carpenter and his wife, Leslie, for their hospitality. Regent Rodriguez-Rios thanked Dr. Dezember for her service as interim V.P. for Academic Affairs. Regent Armijo touched on a number of topics in his remarks, including the transfer of funds from the Headen estate to the Foundation, and the earning potential of the corpus for student scholarships. He called the retreat “one of the best we’ve ever had.” Noting that several Regent terms will expire at the end of the year, Regent Armijo cited the experience, institutional knowledge and professional credentials of the current Board, and how these qualities have served the University well. The President closed by apprising Regents of his meeting with two principals of the Starr Foundation, and his efforts to secure funding for student travel to competitions.

15. New Business.  None.

16. Employee Benefit Trust.  The Board recessed at 10:50 a.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported The Trust recessed at 10:53 a.m.

Adjournment. With no need for items 17 and 18, and there being no further business to bring before the Board, Chairman Carpenter adjourned the meeting at 10:54 a.m.