Minutes - February 2013 meeting

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Board of Regents

1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, 2013

The Inn at Loretto, Tesuque Room

211 Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:33 p.m., with Board of Regents Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Abe Silver, Jr. and Student Regent Omar Solimon. Also attending were incoming Regent Debra P. Hicks and incoming Student Regent Israel Rodriguez-Rios. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

Daniel H. López

Mary Dezember

Van Romero

Lonnie Marquez

Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming

Rudy Correa

Miguel Hidalgo

Richard Cervantes

Leyla Sedillo

Arleen Valles

Martin Mathisen

Clarke Cagle

Mike Anaya




Ralph Gallegos           

Bob Bezanson

Greer Price

Anna McLain

Mark Adams

Lala Garcia

Bill Schattschneider

Kimela Miller

Bill Stone

Thomas Guengerich

Lorie Liebrock

Mona Torres

Valerie Kimble


Proof of Meeting Notice:  The meeting was called to order at 1:33 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter, after President López confirmed that proper notice for the meeting had been given.

Approval of Agenda:  Chairman Carpenter added to the Agenda a roll call and introductions for incoming Regents Debra P. Hicks and Israel Rodriguez-Rios, adding that inclement weather in Florida prevented Regent Deborah Peacock from returning in time for the meeting. Regent Silver moved to approve the Agenda as amended. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Introductions followed. Mr. Rodriguez-Rios, a native of Santa Fe, attended St. Michael’s High School, and is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. Ms. Hicks, of Hobbs, is a graduate of New Mexico State University, and is a licensed engineer and business owner.

Minutes:  Regent Armijo moved to approve the Minutes of the Nov. 16, 2012 meeting as written. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.


Enrollment updates.  Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming reported that enrollment for Fall 2013 is down 25 students compared with this time last year, adding that enrollments at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University also have dropped. The V.P. is working with the Admission staff to boost enrollment, in part by increased marketing efforts. 

Bureau of Geology Building.  The President reported that both the Governor and the Legislative Finance Committee have recommended a $6 million state allocation that, coupled with $18 million in general obligation bonds approved by voters last November, would enable New Mexico Tech to fund the entire $24 million undertaking. Mr. Price, the Bureau Director and State Geologist, said the project has been on the table ever since he arrived at the University 12 years ago. Architectural plans are in full swing, and construction plans are due in early March. Information Services Division (ISD) staff have moved into the Gold Building, in anticipation of razing the ISD offices to prepare the site for the new Bureau complex. In his report, Mr. Hidalgo, Special Projects Coordinator, noted that the proposed facility will be bid in late summer, with construction to begin in early fall. The ISD demolition will be under a separate contract to attract “quicker, cleaner, lower bids.” Mr. Hidalgo told the Board they could be asked for project approval as early as this May, before submitting the project to the state Board of Educational Finance. During discussion, it was noted that 100 parking spaces will be lost during construction. Chairman Carpenter suggested getting student input regarding parking, with some students reportedly having multiple vehicles on campus.  

New Residence Hall.  Mr. Hidalgo reported that the new residence hall is 30 days ahead of schedule, within budget, and will be completed at the end of June, leaving several months to “work the bugs out.” He continues to work with Auxiliary Services to finalize plans for furnishings. 

State Land Office.  President López introduced Mike Anaya, Assistant Commissioner for Surface Resources; and Ralph Gallegos, Assistant Commissioner for Special Projects, thanking them for their cooperation with the University. The visitors in turn noted their pleasure in tapping into the intellectual capital of New Mexico Tech. In a brief presentation, Mr. Anaya explained the role of the agency, adding that of the $653 million generated for public schools, universities and hospitals, New Mexico Tech’s share is about $2 million. 

Legislative Update.  The President announced that with the 60-day session half over, the House would “reasonably fund” most of the University’s requests; and noted a desire on the part of the Legislature to restore the 1.75 percent taken from the employee retirement fund, with universities likely subsidizing a portion. Included in House Bill 337 are $6 million for the new Bureau of Geology facility, and through special senate amendments the request is for $750,000 in non-recurring funds for the MRO; and through other special legislation there is a potential for two non-recurring funding requests including $800,000 for building renovation and removal (BR&R) and matching funds for endowments. President López noted that most pending bills are proscriptive regarding higher education, although some are counterproductive to the University’s goals, one of which is to restore some of the state funding lost over the past several years, in moving toward a more stable financial base. During discussion, it was noted that the Lottery Scholarship fund will go bankrupt under the current construct; and that New Mexico Tech, whose incoming students have an average 3.4 GPA, would lose the least number of students if the minimum GPA for state-funded schools were raised from a 2.5 to a 2.7; and that university presidents haven’t taken a hard decision either way on a proposal to include faculty on its governing boards of regents. 

Sabbatical Leave Requests.  Dr. Dezember introduced herself as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and leader of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) review process, prior to informing the board about faculty taking sabbatical leave: 


Dr. Sonnenfeld reported that the Faculty Senate had selected three items for discussion: a reported parking problem; a proposal to add a faculty representative to the University’s Space Usage Committee; and cannibalization of property. 

Dr. Stone of the Department of Mathematics announced a new interdisciplinary project combining biomedical science and engineering fields, now being offered as a minor in Mechanical Engineering. Three engineering departments are handling tracks in biomechanics, biomaterials and biomedical sciences; and three departments – Biology, Chemistry and Psychology – are working to develop a proposal for a new degree offering in the near future. 

The President notified the board that the University is committed to a $65,000 monthly payment to reduce the debt at Playas, and that the financing plan implemented last fall appears to be working. Indirect cost centers remain an issue, but the school is moving in the right direction, with some activity at EMRTC. Meanwhile, New Mexico Tech closed the Albuquerque office of IERA to save overhead costs, and invited its employees to commute to Socorro, which they declined. During discussion, it was noted that while overall contract volume is down, EMRTC’s financial health is improving, with new opportunities for growth, including a project related to shale oil.  

Chairman Carpenter pronounced the 2012 Annual Report as “one of the best publications to come out of Tech,” and a great recruiting tool. In following the President’s directive, the publication focused on students and their academic activities. The President recognized PIO Thom Guengerich for his efforts in developing the report; Guengerich in turn gave kudos to graphic artist Edie Steinhoff. 

Public Comment:  None

NM Tech Annual Audit:  Martin Mathisen with Atkinson & Co. of Albuquerque, making his debut appearance before the Board, reported “no significant findings” as the audit’s most significant result in analyzing four levels of accountability and results. Mr. Mathisen noted positive net assets, despite a drop in research funds, adding that two of the four findings from the previous audit, both related to informational technology, were still outstanding. Mr. Marquez responded that the administrative computer access issue was now completed; still needed was to develop a disaster plan. During discussion, Mr. Marquez assured Chairman Carpenter that the plan would be completed this fiscal year. Mr. Mathisen recommended the University consult an actuary regarding its Benefit Trust, and cited the “learning curve” during this first-time audit by Atkinson, adding that it will improve next year. The Board Chairman agreed with Mr. Mathisen that the Management Discussion and Analysis (MDA) report was excellent, clear and to the point. Regent Armijo moved to accept the audit, followed by a second from Regent Solimon. The motion passed unanimously. Following the vote, Regent Armijo acknowledged the deep experience and institutional knowledge of New Mexico Tech staff who worked with the auditors. These individuals were asked to stand and be recognized: Arleen Valles, Business Office Director; Leyla Sedillo, Associate V.P. for Administration and Finance; Anna McLain, Sponsored Projects Director; Purchasing Director Kimela Miller, Property Director Bill Schattschneider.

Quarterly Financials for December 2012:  Mr. Marquez presented the financial report for the first six months of FY13, including statements of net assets and operating funds, a comparison of operating and plant funds, and cash flow. Regent Armijo in accepting the President’s recommendation, moved to approve the report. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Financial Analysis for January 2013:  Mr. Marquez reported that both research revenues and overhead are down, but nothing of major concern.

November, December and January Degree Conferrals:  The Board of Regents several years ago bestowed upon the President authority to confer degrees outside of the semiannual graduation cycle. This procedure was implemented to accommodate students who complete degree requirements in the interim, and need diplomas in hand to secure jobs. For November 2012: two Master of Science conferrals; for December: two Master of Science and one Doctor of Philosophy; for January 2013: one Bachelor of General Studies; 34 Bachelor of Science; 10 Master of Science and one Doctor of Philosophy.

New Graduate Certificate Proposal for CLASS Dept.:  Dr. Liebrock, Professor of Computer Science and Graduate Dean, presented for Board approval a new certification program in Technical Communication through the Communication Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) Department. No other New Mexico university offers certification in scientific communication, nor does the program require state approval. During discussion, it was noted that the program has some funding for recruitment and marketing to professionals, and to master’s and Ph.D. students; and that it will generate funding without incurring new costs. Regent Armijo moved to approve the certification program as presented. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Advancement Update:  The University has established the New Mexico Tech Research Foundation for its philanthropic activities, with excellent prospects for a Capital Campaign, the President reported.  According to Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming, the Office for Advancement is developing strategies to move forward with the campaign. An expanded Annual Giving Campaign pulled in over $72,000 in pledges, an increase of $50,000 over last year. The campaign includes having University leaders meet with potential donors; and to create a culture of giving among faculty and staff. President López agreed to report at the next meeting on how the school has followed, or deviated from, the consultant’s recommendations. 

Purchasing Policy:  Ms. Miller, Purchasing Director, presented for Board approval arevamped Purchasing Policy, citing tracked changes. She called it a living document that would be updated annually. Mr. Adams, the University’s legal counsel, said he had approved the changes. Regent Armijo moved to approve the revised policy. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Capitalization Policy:  Mr. Marquez offered for Board approval a revised capital asset policy showing tracked changes. President López recommended its adoption. Regent Silver moved to approve the updated policy, followed by a second from Regent Solimon. The motion passed unanimously.

Property Items to be Removed from Inventory:  Mr. Marquez recommended that Regents adopt two resolutions regarding the disposition of unwanted property items, as required by the State Auditor:

Restricted Funds Purchases:  By choice, not requirement, New Mexico Tech informs Regents of restricted funds purchases over $100,000. In this case, the President notified the Board of:

Open Meetings Act Resolution:  Mr. Adams informed Regents they are required by law to adopt an Open Meetings Act Resolution each year to comply with the New Mexico Open Meetings Act. Regent Armijo moved to adopt said resolution. Regent Solimon seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Individual Board Member Comments:  Regent Solimon, in his final meeting as the student representative on the Board, said he hoped to continue the legacy of other New Mexico Tech graduates by helping others. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. Incoming Regent Hicks noted that her confirmation hearing was scheduled for Feb. 18. Incoming Regent Rodriguez-Rios thanked executive assistant Lala Garcia for her assistance. Earlier in the meeting, Regent Silver announced that he will continue to serve the University as a trustee for the New Mexico Tech Research Foundation, noting his pleasure in being a member of “a winning team,” adding that he hoped the school would remain “unbeaten.”

New Business:  None.

Employee Benefit Trust:  The Board recessed the regular meeting at 4:08 p.m., and convened a meeting of the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported a $1.8 million deficit, saying that no real trend has emerged since the new benefits plan went into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Seven hundred, or more than half of New Mexico Tech’s eligible employees, signed up for one of the three plans. The changeover resulted in some unexpected glitches, but things are leveling out. “We have a long road ahead before we regain our footing,” noted Mr. Marquez, adding that the Institute would have a better picture by the end of the fiscal year. During discussion, it was noted that claims from only four individuals accounted for 35 percent of the drain.

Possible Executive Session, NMSA 1978, Section 10-15-1 (H) (2); (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters):  The Board adjourned the meeting of the Benefit Trust and reconvened as the Board of Regents at 4:16 p.m. There was no proposal for an executive session.

Reconvene in Open Session and Take Final Action, if any, on Such Limited Personnel Matters Which Shall be Acted Upon in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session.  N/A

Adjournment.  There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:17 p.m. on a motion by Regent Armijo seconded by Regent Solimon. The motion passed unanimously.