Notes from the July 21, 2002 Regents Meeting

by George Zamora

CHAMA, N.M. July 25, 2002 -- New Mexico Tech administrators are expecting student enrollment at the state-funded research university in Socorro to increase to more than 1,700 undergraduates and graduates for the upcoming fall semester.

A larger-than-usual entering class is expected to swell the ranks of the student population at New Mexico Tech to as much as 10 percent more than last year's enrollment figure of about 1,600 students, according to a report presented to the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents by the university's top administrators.

During the board's July 21 meeting and annual retreat in Chama, New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López also told the regents that the academic quality of new students enrolling at the university this year seems to be "extraordinarily good," based on the high percentage of entering freshmen who have passed the Advanced Mathematics Placement Test.

"Our preliminary calculations show that 70 percent of our incoming students will place into calculus, as compared to 40 percent in previous years," López said.

In other matters considered at the Tech Board of Regents meeting, board members voted to approve the appointment of Richard G. Sonnenfeld to the full-time, tenure-track position of associate professor of physics. Sonnenfeld also will serve as a research physicist at the university.

The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved a sabbatical leave during 2003 for W. Dennis "Denny" Peterson, Tech's vice president for administration and finance. The board granted the yearlong leave under the stipulation that Peterson be available, or "on call," during the duration of his sabbatical.

The Tech Board of Regents also took official action on the following matters during its monthly meeting:

The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved a five-year facilities plan priority list for the university, which will also be forwarded to the CHE and state legislators for their consideration at the next state legislative session.

At the top of the capital projects request list is $4 million needed to renovate the Kelly Building and Jones Hall, followed by a $9 million request for a new building for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Ranking lower on the list of top five priorities were $500,000 for planning for a new physical education/recreation building, $6.9 million for campus infrastructure projects, and $2.5 million for campus upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During the meeting, New Mexico Tech President López also presented a preliminary plan to the regents, which would provide Tech employees with a compensation bonus somewhere in the range of $300 to $500 near the end of the calendar year, but only if the university's current budget will allow for such a fiscal measure to be implemented.

López told the regents a one-time bonus check for employees would do much to boost employee morale at the university, particularly since there were no salary raises given this year.

In addition, the Tech Board of Regents okayed an operating budget and distribution of more than $99,000 in revenues for the university's Marion and Irving Langmuir Quasi-Endowment.