Regents Minutes -- February 2012

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Board of Regents

1:30 p.m., February 10, 2012

Hotel Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:30 p.m., with Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Deborah Peacock, Regent Abe Silver, Jr. and Student Regent Omar Soliman. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

Daniel H. López

Lala Garcia

Leyla Sedillo

Richard Fugate

Peter Gerity

Robert Lee

Anna McLain

Thomas Guengerich

Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming


John Meason

Mike Kloeppel

Suzanne Barteau

Lonnie Marquez

Richard Cervantes

Greer Price

JoAnn Salome

Scott Eliason

John Dowdle

Valerie Kimble


1. Proof of Meeting Notice:  The meeting was called to order at 1:35 p.m. by Board of Regents Chairman Richard Carpenter, after the board confirmed that proper notice had been given.

2. Approval of Agenda: Regent Silver moved to approve the agenda for the Feb. 10, 2012 meeting as amended to reflect deletion of items 14 and 15[1]. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

3. Minutes:  Regent Armijo moved to approve the minutes from the Nov. 20, 2011 meeting as amended prior to today’s meeting. Regent Peacock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

4. Announcements

President López reported 156 paid admissions as of Jan. 31, 2012, and compared this number with those of past years: 2011, 125; 2010, 194; and 2009, 78. Enrollment numbers for the Fall 2012 semester are moving in the right direction. Minority numbers also are significantly higher. V.P. Jaramillo-Fleming deferred to Admission Director Kloeppel, who credited continuing recruiting efforts at high schools and community colleges in eight key states, plus a massive nationwide email program and follow-up efforts as reasons for the solid numbers. In responding to a comment from Chairman Carpenter regarding greater enrollment from Albuquerque students, Jaramillo-Fleming gave credit to Allison Costello and Rita Case from New Mexico Tech’s Albuquerque office on Central Ave. for developing close ties with Albuquerque high schools. López, also responding to a query from Chairman Carpenter, noted that Tech is recruiting community college students, which comprise the largest number of transfer students to the university. New Mexico Tech has an agreement with a community college in El Paso and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with several community colleges in this effort. A new federal grant program includes agreements with three New Mexico junior colleges (Grants, NMMI, Hobbs) targeting transfers. Chairman Carpenter then cited a report in the New York Times where, because of budget cuts, some universities have increased out-of-state tuition exponentially, thereby reducing dependence on legislative appropriations. Gerity cited ongoing efforts by PRRC Director Dr. Robert Lee and López to successfully recruit Chinese students as petroleum engineering majors, working at a conservative pace so as not to fill ranks, but to populate key programs in petroleum and mining engineering and hydrology through a “two-plus-two” student exchange program. Replying to a question from Regent Armijo, Jaramillo-Fleming said that most of the 41 paid applications from Hispanic students are in-state. Gerity then announced that earlier in the day the university filed for renewed status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), good for five years. In responding to Chairman Carpenter, Kloeppel noted that the Office of Admission is getting back on track in recruiting Native American students in the Four Corners region.


Legislative Update

López reported that budget bill HB2 has moved through the House Appropriations Committee with over $671,000 over last year, including 1.75 percent to offset the current 1.75 percent that employees are contributing to the retirement program. The new funding formula hurt New Mexico Tech because its grading system for graduate students is reported on an NC (no credit) basis which was perceived as students not making normal progress. The grading system has since been fixed and will not pose problems in the future. In other good news, lawmakers preserved funds for Research and Public Service Projects, and amendments were introduced to fill other deficiencies. Of the university’s $24 million request for a new Bureau of Geology building, the Governor has recommended $23 million, with an $18 million recommendation from the Legislature. In addition, substitute legislation was moving through the system, López said. There followed some discussion on a General Obligation bond issue in November – including funds for the Bureau building – and the importance of packaging it for voter appeal.

5. Public Comment:  None

6. NM Tech Annual Audit:  V.P. Marquez reported that the audit for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2011 resulted in an unqualified opinion, or clean audit. Regent Armijo was part of the exit conference on Oct. 19, 2011 conducted by Scott Eliason of Moss Adams. Eliason reported several findings and deficiencies, saying that the Institute had done a good job, and he expected all findings to be fixed by next year. Regent Peacock asked for some clarification from the standpoint of being new to the board. Specifically, she questioned the audit not being submitted first to the board, and that it suggested policy revisions. Chairman Carpenter explained that Regent Peacock’s questions were relevant regarding private companies, but that public universities receiving federal funds were bound by the prescribed format under OMB A-133. Regent Armijo noted that he had the same concerns when he first joined the board nine years ago. For the university, an audit is a tool for improvement, and staff take findings seriously. Regent Armijo commended New Mexico Tech’s highly qualified staff with senior personnel in key financial positions. Discussion, following a question from Regent Peacock regarding a brain-storming session on fund-raising, prompted President López to announce plans for a professional capital campaign to be executed within a year or so. In closing, Marquez recognized the university’s key budget staff: Leyla Sedillo, Anna McLain and Arleen Valles; Sedillo and McLain were in attendance; thanked Moss Adams for their help in the transition to Banner; and announced that the university would be going out to bid for a new audit team. Regent Silver moved to accept the audit findings. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

7. Quarterly Financials for September and December 2011:  The quarterly report ending in September did not coincide with board meetings, and thus was just now being made available; the December report was for the calendar month ending the 31st. Both reports were in the GASB format as required for the past seven years. Regent Peacock moved that both reports be approved. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

8. Financial Analysis for December 2011:  Marquez reported that the university is in good financial standing; Sedillo noted that staff has been extremely cooperative in staying within their office budgets, and thanked them.

9. November,  December and January Degree Conferrals:  President López conferred degrees on two students in November 2011, one for a master’s and the other for a Ph.D.; for one student in December 2011; and for a list of December 2011 completions for January 2012 conferrals. Gerity explained that the process is thoroughly vetted before recommendations are given to the President for degree conferral, and these students are invited to formal commencement exercises in May. Students have expressed their appreciation to the board for investing President López with the authority to confer degrees out of sequence, Gerity reported, adding that no other university in New Mexico, to his knowledge, does this.

10.  Request for Emeritus Status – Robert Fugate, Senior Research Advisor, Research & Economic Development; Dan Klinglesmith, IFO Support Scientist, Magdalena Ridge Observator:  Requests for granting emeritus status for researcher positions normally are handled by Dr. Van Romero, V.P. for Research and Economic Development; in his absence, López called upon Richard Cervantes, associate vice president for R&ED, to make the introductions. Cervantes noted that both Fugate and Klinglesmith had distinguished degrees in astronomy before and after coming to New Mexico Tech. López then recommended that the board grant emeritus status to both men. Regent Silver so moved, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously. Fugate thanked the board, noting he has worked to transfer the technology of “looking into space” to the academic world to further research in understanding the universe; Klinglesmith was unable to be present for the meeting.

11. Individual Board Member Comments:  Regent Solimon, referring to the audit report, noted that since Tech was upgrading its network infrastructure, the university should be able to put in catastrophe capability at the same time. Regent Peacock said she found the Higher Education Department meeting on the New Mexico Tech campus last month very enjoyable. President López reported that the new HED funding formula will have its first run on a limited basis; next is to identify university-specific metric components for the formula. One goal is to increase the number of Ph.D. degrees to qualify for a prestigious “Carnegie classification.” The President added that working on the new formula was quite an experience and involved many testimonials and meetings in helping legislators understand the complexities of funding higher education. Regent Silver said New Mexico Tech’s lack of an intercollegiate athletics program is one of the things he loves about the university, in light of national issues affecting sports programs. Tech does a better job than 99 percent of schools. Regent Silver is a former sports journalist.

12.  New Business:  The board agreed to change the date for its March meeting to March 30, and the date for its April meeting to April 24. It’s possible the board will not convene in April, but should the chair determine the need for a meeting, the date was set aside.

13.  Employee Benefit Trust:  The board recessed its regular meeting at 3:03 p.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Claims were down in January and the trust continues to struggle, Marquez reported, adding that the Benefits Committee had met and developed a spreadsheet reflecting costs and benefits from potential insurance providers. Gerity added that a presentation was given to the Faculty Senate by Dr. Bruce Harrison, committee chair, earlier in the week. Human Resources Director JoAnn Salome noted that the 21-member committee has been very active in getting information out to faculty and staff. Salome will schedule a Benefits Fair in the near future with some low-option offerings to the university’s ~800 members. Marquez will expedite the process upon his return following the legislative session. Regent Silver praised the financial status at the Institute, noting that NMSU has had to cut salaries.

14.  and 15:  Deleted.

16. Adjournment:  The board reconvened the regular meeting at 3:13 p.m. Regent Armijo moved to adjourn the meeting. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:13 p.m.