NMT Board of Regents MINUTES

The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:00 pm on Friday, February 7, 2020, in Socorro with Chair Deborah Peacock presiding. Other Board members present were Jerry Armijo, David Gonzales, Yolanda King and Veronica Espinoza. Other university administrators, staff and guests included:

Stephen Wells                                   David Manzano                                               Carlos Romero

Vanessa Grain                                   Colleen Foster                                                  Van Romero                                     

Juliann Ulibarri                                Cleve McDaniel                                                 Tom Engler                      

Jose Martinez                                    Michelle Sherman                                        Doug Wells

Valentina Avramidi                        Emma Aafloy                                                   Nelia Dunbar

Alex Garcia                                         Thom Guengerich                                        David Landrum                              

Peter Phaiah                                     Mike Timmons                                               Navid Mojtabai

Randy Saavedra                               Mark Saavedra                                                Aly El-Osery

Mikell Coleman                                Bob Balch                                                         Lisa Todd

Ifan Payne                                          Mark Adams (phone)                                   



  • Call to Order. Chair Peacock called the meeting to order at 1:00pm
  1. Proof of Meeting Notice. Grain confirmed the proper legal notice had been given.


  • Approval of Agenda. The agenda was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent King and a second form Regent Espinoza.


  • Public Comment.


  • Recurring Reports.
    1. Mr. Jose Martinez, GSA VP, reported for Ms. Sherman, SGA President. Mr. Martinez updated Regents on Legislative coverage. Ms. Sherman cooperated with other universities (UNM/NMSU) to assure that the entire legislative session was covered. A google drive was formed to share info amongst the three universities, with shared days and events to attend session. Sherman also reported that she compared constitutions between other universities such as Texas A&M, University of Houston, UNM, and NMSU and found gaps in the constitution. SGA will be hosting a Valentines Ball next week SGA and other NMT Clubs who collaborated on the event. President Wells applauded Michelle on her leadership and engagement with SGA and other universities.
    2. Mr. Martinez, VP of GSA, reported for President Prager. Mr. Martinez reported that GSA is in the process of drafting a new constitution and that GSA endorses House Bill 14.  
    3. President Wells will talk about the restructure of the SUR department in his report. VP Wells of Academic Affairs reported that freshmen enrollment is the same as last year. Regent Gonzales at this time asked if VP Wells could look into a better reporting format to present enrollment data. VP Wells assured Regent Gonzales the data will be presented as requested at the next meeting.
    4. Academic Affairs. VP Wells referred to his reports explaining the trend of declining enrollment since 2014. VP Wells informed Regents that he has set meetings next week with other supporting departments in continuing efforts to increase student enrollment, explaining the numerous strategies AA will be taking to boost enrollment.  He expects that it may take from now until 2021 to fully realize the impact on increases in enrollment numbers.
    5. Capital Projects. VP McDaniel reported Jones Hall remodel is in process with Franken Construction as the contractor. Overall the project is moving forward and on schedule.   The President’s Residence and University House received 2 bids, and both were significantly higher than the state mandated cost threshold for the project. Meetings are ongoing with one of the bidding contractors to work towards reducing the project costs to be at or below the required threshold through value engineering.  The Brown Hall project is also in progress.  Alex Garcia, Capital Projects Manager, indicated that both Brown Hall and the West Hall components will be presented as a single project, which reflects the project plan proposal recommended by the Higher Education Department.
    6. Research: VP Romero presented a couple short videos. The first video was a new course for EMRTC’s First Responder Program that’s being reviewed by DHS and waiting approval. The second video was presented to the Space Valley Summit in Las Cruces titled, “New Mexico Tech Space”.
    7. OIC: No report
    8. Advancement: Director Foster reported that revenue is up slightly from last year around $100k. The office is continuing their work with Kennari Consultants to get the comprehensive campaign up and launched. Kennari has subcontracted with LakeFX to produce a media video. Ms. Foster passed around a few choices to be voted on for the official campaign logo. All were invited to the alumni reception that was being hosted at 6pm in the Hilton of Santa Fe Restaurant.
    9. Bureau of Geology: Director Dunbar reported that Monday February 3, 2020 was New Mexico Tech Day/ Earth Science Day at the NM State Capitol. The Bureau, working with the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department as well as President Wells presented one of the two Earth Science Achievement Awards, which was to NMT Alum Dr. Peggy Barroll described as a “hydrology superstar” by our EMNRD associates. Dunbar gave updates on publication of compilation map of Mt. Taylor volcano and a book about the geology on southern New Mexico parks, monuments, and public lands going to press.   The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping program, a United States Geological Survey activity that directly benefits state geological surveys was awarded an additional $10 million of funding, half of which will directly benefit state surveys. Three Bright Star Scholars are on the Bureau payroll included two geoscientists, and one computer scientist. Dr. Dunbar and Dr. Deju have worked together to develop a web page on the Bureau web site, which will be linked to the advancement website, giving information on Bright Star Program in hopes of getting more funding as well.
    10. PRRC: Director Balch reported on Carbon Utilization Storage cooperative in the Western US. The mission of the organization is to identify, prioritize, characterize and get into motion storage projects, a side benefit of which is to create jobs in New Mexico and other western states.  Balch added that a recent proposal on Carbon storage in New Mexico is available and can be shared if requested. Dr. Balch also updated the regents that in the previous two years PRRC has submitted 27-29 proposals on average. Fiscal Year 2020 to date they have submitted 22 proposals.
    11. HR: No report.
    12. Faculty Senate: Engler reported that there will be changes to the tenure policy on appeals and will have an update by next regent meeting for review.
    13. Government Affairs: Standing in for Director Manzano, AVP of Research, Carlos Romero and CUP Executive Director, Marc Saavedra reported to the Regents regarding the current Legislative Session Outcomes. Budget recommendations for higher education are still awaiting a vote.  House Bill 297, the Research Grant fund passed on Feb. 7th. Carlos recommended that NMT keep an eye out for Senate Bill 110. As of Feb. 7th there has been no change on Capital Outlay and they predict that should come out early next week. Mr.  Saavedra reported that House Bill 2 passed and is now in Senate. Mr. Saavedra also gave a detailed over view of the NM Opportunity Scholarship (NMOS) and informed Regents that te also Hhe CUP has meetings with Governor and her staff to work on the NMOS.
    14. President’s Report: President Wells took a few minutes to reflect on the Dec 2019 NMT delegation trip to Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. He went on to explain the successful international networking with alumni and recruiting efforts as very impactful overall for NMT.  The NMT Annual Report for 2019 has been issued and highlighted is NMT’s Dr. Sharon Sessions on her recent awards from Albuquerque Business First -2020 Women of Influence and NM Technology Council’s Women in Technology.  President Wells spoke about NMT Day at the Capitol and ideas to improve the event. One idea is collaborating with local government’s agencies to combine efforts to host a reception for next year.  President Wells discussed the progress to reorganize key divisions within the university, including the Office of Student and University Relations, Office of Academic Affairs, and the President’s Office.   Internal assessment shows that enrollment levels have declined progressively since 2014. Based on both internal and external assessments of enrollment strategies reorganization  of the three of NMT’s divisions was established  to (1) To effectively establish a “culture of recruitment” that is integrated across the campus; (2) To create a data-driven, integrated campus-wide-approach to address the enormous challenges facing the institution in attaining enrollment goals; (3) To initiate an integrated and comprehensive institutional marketing plan for NMT that transcends a variety of campus divisions; and (4) To address the effects of insular operations found in some divisions  across campus.”  In their comprehensive assessment, EAB’s data indicates that there is a coming decline in the number of projected high school graduates, with a dramatic fall off starting in 2025.  In addition, a 10% decline in high school graduates was projected for New Mexico between 2016 and 2031.  .  President Wells continued by explaining that he has been evaluating NMTs current enrollment practices and  explained that EAB’s external assessment (1) recommended  a need for a more aggressive enrollment strategy, (2) stated that NMTs existing brand equity and word of mouth for recruitment is inadequate, and (3) emphasized that  NMT should be more aggressive with electronic/online recruitment .  In addition, President Wells referenced a report by a consulting group called StaMats where they recommended establishing a culture of recruitment across the campus- meaning, everyone participating in every way possible. President explained the reorganizational changes which included the transfer of the Office of Admission, Financial Aid, Outreach programs such as Upward Bound, and Professional Development to the Office of Academic Affairs.  The Office of Communication and Marketing will be transferred to the Office of the President, and will now be called Office of Marketing and Communication to put more emphasis on the marketing aspect of NMT.  In Academic Affairs there will be a new Office of Enrollment Management encompassing several areas.  He stressed that all of these actions will be evolutionary as with all changes, they will be evaluated and modified as needed.  He explained that VP Wells will manage the Office of Enrollment Management which oversees the following departments:   Grad Admissions, Undergrad Admissions, International Admissions, Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Community Education, Student Success, and Academic Outreach. President Wells explained that the Office of Student and University Relations, with its newly focused mission, will become the  Office of Student Life, consisting of departments that are dedicated to creating a beneficial environment for every student enrolled at NMT such as providing the types of programs and services that support positive impact in the daily lives of NMT students, supporting student success within  and outside the university, and heightening the educational cultural experiences for our students to live in a diverse global society.  Peter Phaiah will serve as Acting Vice President of Student Life, as search will take place after several months so that NMT can evaluate the effectiveness of these changes.   Components of the Office of Student Life will consist of Auxiliary Services, Behavioral Intervention Team, Career Services, Counseling and Disability Services, Performing Arts Series, Physical Recreation and Sports, Student Affairs, International Programs, and Residential Life.  President Wells explained the changes to the Office of the President will be moving the Office of Communications and Marketing to the President’s office to enhance coordination with the Offices of Advancement, Academic Affairs, and Research. This includes working with all VPs and Directors on a specific marketing and communications strategic plan with a focus on enhancing student recruitment and retention.  President Wells concluded by again stressing the need for NMT to establish a “Culture of Recruitment,” whereby everyone (faculty, staff, and students) feel responsible for recruiting and retaining students.       
  • Information Items.
    1. NMT Foundation Updates. Regent Armijo stated that they are in between meetings with the next meeting on Thursday, February 27th and nothing additional to report. In regards to the President and University House, Regent Armijo explained that Dr. McDaniel informed him of all the updates which he and President Wells will go over at the next meeting.
    2. Degree Conferrals for October 2019 and November 2019. In Regents’ packets.
    3. Financial Analysis – December 2019. McDaniel provided highlights of his written analysis ending December 31, 2019, with figures from his report of December 31, 2018 for comparison. He explained because of the low enrollment numbers tuition and fees revenue has decreased but remains ahead of current year’s budgeted amount.  He added, although NMT is 1.9% above last year it is not sufficient enough to sustain if the decrease of enrollment continues.
    4. Update of Campus Safety Policy. VP Romero informed Regents that when he took the position of VP of Research back in 1997 his office created a new lab safety manual. Twenty three years later he feels it is time to update that manual now that their compliance office is fully manned. Ms. Mikell Coleman, Director of Research Compliance, presented slides on what the new research compliance office plans and goals are concerning safety. Chair Peacock suggested that a report be presented once a year to the board on the numbers of accidents on campus and how NMT compares with other research institutions. Regent King also suggested that the compliance office support mandated yearly safety training. Coleman stated that a draft of the new safety policy should be finished in the next three months. Chair Peacock suggested that when that draft is presented to the board, possibly statics as well for past years also be presented at that time.      
    5. Action Items.
  1. New Doctoral Graduate Programs (Mineral & CE). Chair Peacock noted there was a need to correct the Agenda to move this Info Item 5 c) to Action Items as it was incorrectly placed by Ms. Grain. Regent King moved for approval of the change with a second by Regent Espinoza.  VP Wells referred to Graduate Dean Dr. Aly El-Osery, Graduate Dean.  El-Osery gave a brief over view of the two programs that they are applying for, Mineral Engineering, and the Chemical Engineering PhD programs. There is a huge support for both of these programs nationwide and are highly supported by industries and societies that are investing in PhD programs. Mineral Engineering currently has a Master’s Program. Dr. Mojtabai spoke on behalf of Mineral Engineering program giving positive facts towards the benefits of the PhD program.  The Materials Engineering Degree was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent King and a second from Regent Gonzales. The Chemical Engineering Graduate Program was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent King and a second from Regent Espinoza.
  2. Approval of November 22, 2019 Minutes. The minutes were unanimously approved on a motion by Regent King and a second by Regent Gonzales.
  3. Approval of 2020 OMA Resolution. Chair Peacock requested approval for the 2020 NMT OMA Resolution. Regent King moved for approval. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
  4. 2019 NM Tech Audit. VP McDaniel introduced Lisa Todd from Moss Adams to report that audit results were submitted to the NM State Auditor in advance of the November 1, 2019 deadline.  However, final approval to release the results of the audit was not received until January 2020.  She briefly described the responsibilities of an external auditor and processes conducted, announcing three separate audit opinions, all classified  as unmodified, i.e. clean with “passing grade.” Ms. Todd further reported that all past findings were resolved. There were a couple of current findings, but NMT administration has already resolved the issues. The audit was unanimously accepted on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second from Regent Espinoza.
  5. Approval Quarterly Certification for December 31, 2019. VP McDaniel requested approval for the quarterly Certifications for December 31, 2019. Regent Armijo and a second from Regent King, which passes unanimously.
  6. Approval of Honorary Doctoral Degree- Lukas H. Lundin. President Wells along with Dr. Engler, Faculty Senate Chair and VP Wells recommend Mr. Lundin for an Honorary Doctoral Degree. Lundin graduated with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from NMT and is one of the more successful business people of our NMT alumni.  Providing Mr. Lundin with the honorary doctorate award serves as a significant recognition his great accomplishments in natural resource extraction and hopefully but will bring him back to NMT for a visit.  Regent Armijo moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent King. The motion was unanimously approved.
  7. Approval of March 13, 2020 Regent Meeting Date. Unanimously approved by all Regents.


  1. Individual Board Member Comments. None.


  1. New Business. None.


  1. Executive Session. NMSA 1978, Sec. 10-15-1 (H)(2), (If required to Consider Legal or Personnel Matter.) The Board Unanimously adjourned it regular session at 4:22 pm to meet in executive session under a roll-call vote conducted by Ms. Grain.


  1. Reconvene in open session and take final action, if any, on such limited legal and/or personnel matters which shall be acted upon in open session following conclusion of closed session. The meeting reconvened at 4:52pm with the chair announcing that no action had been taken, and only items so specified were discussed.


  1. Adjournment. The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 4:53pm on a motion by Regent King and a second from Regent Espinoza.










Secretary- Treasurer