Regents Minutes- February 2015

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

1:30 p.m. Friday, February 6, 2015

Eldorado Hotel, Zia Room
309 W. San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:35 p.m. under the gavel of Regent Debra Hicks. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Deborah Peacock, Student Regent Israel Rodriguez-Rios and Regent-designates David Gonzales and Donald Monette. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

1.   Proof of Meeting Notice.  The meeting was called to order at 1:35 p.m. by Regent Hicks in the absence of Chairman Richard Carpenter, who had resigned from the Board. The President affirmed that proper legal notice had been published.

2.   Introduction of New Regents.  President López introduced two Regent-designees: Mr. David Gonzales of Farmington, a 2005 New Mexico Tech alumnus in Petroleum Engineering; and Mr. Donald Monette of Socorro, finance manager for Socorro Consolidated Schools. Both were appointed to the Board by Gov. Susana Martinez, but have yet to be confirmed. Regent Armijo was reappointed to the Board for a third six-year term. Regent Hicks is awaiting her confirmation as a new Regent for NMSU, but graciously attended the meeting. The President also introduced Dr. Richard Jimenez, Director-designate for EMRTC, as an example of succession planning. 

3.   Election of Officers.  Regent Peacock was unanimously elected Chair on a nomination by Regent Armijo and a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios. New Chair Peacock then nominated Regent Armijo as Secretary-Treasurer. Regent Hicks seconded the nomination, and it passed unanimously. 

4.   Approval of Agenda.  The agenda was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second from Chair Peacock. 

5.   Minutes.  The minutes of the meeting of November 21, 2014 were unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second from Regent Armijo.

6.   Announcements.

Legislative Update.  Based on the early weeks of the 2015 legislative session, President López predicted appropriations to New Mexico flat or lower than last year’s budget. He cited these areas of concern:

Enrollment Updates.  Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming provided a brief report, noting that both basic applications and paid applications are up. The President noted that more students and fewer funds could raise the risk of losing young faculty. Dr. Warren Ostergren cited a four-year plan to bring faculty salaries closer to those of the University’s peer institutions.

Advancement Update.  Advancement Director Colleen Guengerich reported that a recent fundraising training session for faculty drew some 30 attendees and positive feedback, as attested to by Chair Peacock who called the faculty response “enthusiastic.” Ms. Guengerich cited an increase of 100 donors as “significant,” amid other report highlights.

Faculty Senate – Dr. Dave Raymond. Dr. Raymond brought forward two items of concern from the Faculty Senate regarding the revised University manual for employees, and having faculty involved in the process to name a successor to President López. Dr. Raymond noted that Jo Ann Salome has been of tremendous assistance in working with faculty to smooth out rough spots in the manual, which has been posted online for comments. Chair Peacock replied that a succession timeline may be introduced at the March meeting, and she was certain faculty will be involved.

Accreditation Update.  Dr. Dezember brought Regents up to date on the HLC accreditation process. A 5,000-word report on New Mexico Tech’s Quality Initiative program, the Student Research Symposium (SRS), was sent last October. “It was a clean review; I’m happy with what was done,” she said, crediting Dr. Hamdy Solimon with chairing the Assessment Committee. The University was invited to present results at a later forum. This year’s SRS is set for April 16 and will continue, noted Dr. Dezember, even though New Mexico Tech is required to develop another Quality Initiative as part of its continuing accreditation. The final draft of a 35,000-word report to the HLC has been posted for public comment, and will be sent to the agency no later than Feb. 23. Three evaluators will visit campus March 23-24. During discussion, it was recommended that Board members have an opportunity to read and comment on the report before Feb. 23. Dr. Dezember added that HLC’s 10-year cycle has been broken into four-year and six-year segments. “They want to see that we’re working all the time – someone’s got to stay on top of it,” she said.

Strategic Plan Update.  Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming told Regents final changes would be made to the draft Strategic Plan following Board review on a process that began in the Fall of 2013 and with hopes of implementation by April. She credited Dr. Lorie Liebrock and Dr. Frank Reinow for their roles in the project. Chair Peacock thanked the Vice President for her leadership. President López noted how the Strategic Plan process went hand-in-hand with accreditation efforts. “We are creating change, we are improving,” he said.

University Policy Handbook.  Ms. Salome reported on an update to the Employee Handbook, a process that began four years ago. A draft has been posted for public comment. Ms. Salome noted that Dr. Raymond suggested additional review time, with the hopes of bringing the final draft to Regents for approval in March or April. She added that campus comments have been helpful and positive, and have led to several changes. In reply to a question from the Chair, Ms. Salome said the handbook was last updated in 2002; the updated version reflects more specificity regarding select issues such as intellectual property, distance education and security measures.

Other.  Regent Armijo updated the Board on the status of the Charles F. (Chuck) Headen estate comprised of stocks, bonds, real estate and oil wells, all of which was to be liquidated and proceeds deposited in a trust for the sole benefit of New Mexico Tech, valued at $11.5 million. It is the largest gift in University history. A decision was made to retain the oil leases which continue to prosper, netting $33,000 monthly. Regent Armijo said the principle is never to be touched, with 50 percent of earnings returned to the corpus and 50 percent of the earnings earmarked for student scholarships, as per Mr. Headen’s wishes. The trust will provide New Mexico Tech with 50 percent of the earnings every year for the benefit of the Tech Headen Scholarship Fund.

7.   Public Comment. None.

8.   Quarterly Financials for December 2014.  Mr. Marquez reported on the budget and financial activity for the second quarter of FY15. The five-part report shows the University to be in a fairly strong financial position. The Higher Education Department (HED) requires Board approval, he noted. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved to approve the financial report. Regent Hicks seconded the motion and it passed unanimously

9.   Financial Analysis for December 2014.  Mr. Marquez reported on revenues and expenditures for the month, showing comparisons of budget to actual spending and citing the different sources of revenue for the Instruction and General (I&G) side of the ledger. Regent Hicks’s motion for approval included the correction of a technical error in the report. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 

10.  November and December 2014 Degree Conferrals.  Four degrees were conferred in November, and four in December: One B.S. degree, four M.S. degrees and three Ph.D.s.

11.  Open Meetings Act Resolution.  Mr. Adams recommended that Regents approve a resolution regarding the Open Meetings Act with one amendment that Board agendas are posted at least 72 hours prior to a meeting. Regent Armijo moved to adopt the resolution as amended. Regent Hicks seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 

12.  Appointment of Regent to Research Park Corporation.  President López introduced the subject by noting that the University is allowed to engage in quasi-private ventures under a law passed under former Gov. Garrey Carruthers. One example is the Computational Analysis and Network Enterprise Solutions, or CAaNES, a successful enterprise of which the University has a 30 percent equity interest. The company dovetails with the Center for Leadership in Technology Commercialization (CLTC) to generate additional funds for New Mexico Tech. Regent Armijo volunteered to be the Board representative more than 10 years ago because living in Socorro made it easier for him to attend meetings. He also said that he would be willing to give up his spot on the Research Park board of directors. He then moved to nominate Regent-designee Donald Monette of Socorro to succeed him on the board, subject to Mr. Monette’s State Senate confirmation. Regent Hicks seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 

13.  Property Items to be Removed from Inventory. Mr. Marquez requested Board approval for the following resolutions.

14.  Notification of Awards.  Regents were apprised of eight Restricted Funds purchases over $100,000 as an informational item

15.  New Mexico Tech Annual Audit.  Clarke Cagle of Atkinson & Co. LTD summarized for Regents four separate audits conducted by the firm: New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Tech Research Park Corporation, New Mexico Tech Research Foundation and the Benefit Trust. Mr. Cagle touched on a number of issues in summarizing each of the four audits during an hour-long presentation, noting that the University’s management team has been receptive and open-minded about audit findings; and that New Mexico Tech is making yearly progress on outstanding issues. Mr. Marquez agreed. “Overall, we’ve made a lot of strides,” he said, crediting Jenny Ma, Colleen Guengerich and Arleen Valles and Leyla Sedillo and their staffs for their work. Regent Hicks moved to accept the audits. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

16.  Individual Board Member Comments.  Regent Rodriguez-Rios expressed his thanks for his term as Student Regent. Regent Hicks commented that it was an honor to serve on the Board. “I learned a great deal and met some terrific people,” she said, adding that she would be available for the accreditation visit, if needed. Regent Armijo thanked both Regent Rodriguez-Rios and Regent Hicks for their service and said he was looking forward to working with Regent-designees Dr. Gonzales and Mr. Monette; in turn, they are looking forward to their terms of service.

17.  New Business.  None

18.  Employee Benefit Trust.  The Board recessed at 4:37 p.m. on a roll-call vote to convene as the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported that while operating costs remain at a deficit, the amount of claims is decreasing. The Trust also has repaid $200,000 of a University loan. The Trust recessed at 4:30 p.m. to reconvene as the Board of Regents,

19.  Adjournment. There being no further business to bring before the Board, Chair Peacock adjourned the meeting at 4:40 p.m.