Notes from Jan. 2000 Regents Meeting

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., January 13, 2000 -- The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents recently was given a comprehensive overview of the university's progress in actively promoting itself--one of the six specific goals included in Tech's Strategic Plan.

During a January 11 meeting, held at the school's Macey Conference Center, Richard P. Ortega, director of Tech's Office for Advancement, gave the regents an update of efforts initiated by his office and other departments at Tech to create a region-wide institutional identity for the small, state-supported research university.

Ortega's multi-media presentation--which included diverse topics such as developing name recognition and brand equity for New Mexico Tech, enhancing awareness with limited resources in competitive environments, and maintaining consistency in Tech's publications and web pages--was tied together by the underlying theme of "using an integrative marketing approach to promote the university."

Tech Board of Regents President Robert E. Taylor responded to the report, in part, by adding, "In essence, the fundamental reason we're trying to promote New Mexico Tech is to change attitudes . . . particularly the attitudes of potential students as they consider whether they'll come here or not."

In other matters deliberated during the meeting, the Tech Board of Regents also heard from Van Romero, Tech's vice president for research and economic development, on the progress being made on an extensive summary being prepared by his office, which, once it's completed, will examine the economic impact of New Mexico Tech alumni on the state's economy.

Tech President Daniel H. López noted in his announcements to the board that preliminary enrollment projections for next academic year "continue to indicate moderate growth."

López further briefed the regents on New Mexico Tech's two major capital requests during the upcoming state legislative session. One is a capital request for $2.8 million to refurbish Cramer Hall, while the other seeks appropriations totaling $3.2 million to build a new Student Services Building on campus.

Another $500,000 will be requested by New Mexico Tech at the 30-day session to allow the university to finish work on its newly developed student database.

State legislators also will be asked to pitch in an additional $200,000, López added, as start-up funds for a proposed Information Technology Center. If the center is established at New Mexico Tech, available federal funding to operate the facility could range up to $2 million a year.

The Tech Regents were also informed that a tentative schedule for public meetings concerning a possible name change for New Mexico Tech has been drawn up. The first meeting is scheduled for March 27, at the New Mexico Tech Library; the second will be on April 18, at the Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute; and, the third in the series is tentatively scheduled for May 15, at a location in Roswell which will be determined later.

In the only official action taken during the meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents unanimously approved awarding a contract for general contractor services for small, new construction and remodel projects on the Tech campus to Zeta Construction.

During the board meeting, the Board of Regents also were given a detailed financial summary report of the university's budget after the first five months of the fiscal year by W. Dennis "Denny" Peterson, Tech's vice president for administration and finance.

In other matters, the regents were briefed on several proposals being tendered by the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, one of which also involves changing the name of the university's oldest research division.

Bureau director and state geologist Peter Scholle told the regents that the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources does not do much work with mines anymore, and suggested changing pertinent state statutes, which were established in 1927, to better reflect the current functions of his organization.

The new name as proposed for Tech's research division would be "New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources."

Scholle went on to report on two other proposals concerning the Bureau: one to seek funds on the order of $700,000 to purchase automated water analysis equipment; and another to build a $1.2 million Subsurface Oil & Gas Library and Core Archival Facility.

In addition, during the meeting, the regents were introduced to Claire Fenton, who recently was named director of distance education at New Mexico Tech.

After ending the meeting as the Tech Board of Regents, the board reconvened as the university's Employee Benefit Trust Committee and received a current financial statement of the benefit trust fund.