Notes from the March 21, 2001 Regents Meeting

by George Zamora

SANTA FE, N.M., March 20, 2001 -- New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López gave the university's governing board of regents a comprehensive item- by-item review of pertinent legislation recently passed by state lawmakers, which also survived Governor Gary Johnson's veto pen and has now been officially signed into law.

"Overall, New Mexico Tech had an extraordinarily successful legislative session, particularly since this recently concluded legislative session was marked by a number of ups and downs for everyone concerned," López told regents at their March 19 meeting in Santa Fe.

According to López, the most important piece of legislation signed into law which directly affects New Mexico Tech was the passing of a budget which includes full formula funding, along with funding formula enhancements and funding of special projects.

In addition, the legislature approved a seven percent salary increase for all faculty and a six-and-a half percent increase for all other university employees.

"Hopefully," López asserted, "the Governor will not veto this salary legislation."

The New Mexico Tech president added that his number one priority is now to immediately begin working on making the salary increases a uniform, across-the-board seven percent increase for all Tech employees.

In other state law-making actions taken at the recent legislative session, López informed the regents that $1.5 million of a requested $3.2 million was approved in a capital outlay bill and will be added to already acquired funding to begin construction of a new Student Services Building at the state- supported research university.

In addition, a $350,000 special projects appropriation bill was signed into law to provide start-up funds for Tech's new Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis (iCASA) and the related information technology (IT) degree program at New Mexico Tech, along with another $200,000 added to the university's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) budget for iCASA.

The Tech president added that a $350,000 special projects appropriation also was approved to establish a "Caves and Karst" research and learning center and museum in Carlsbad, which would be under the administration of New Mexico Tech.

Other actions passed by state legislators, but not yet signed into law by Governor Johnson, which directly affect New Mexico Tech, include:

In other matters considered at its monthly meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents promoted Catherine Aimone-Martin to the status of full professor of mineral engineering, granted tenure to Deidre Hirschfeld, associate professor of materials engineering, and granted tenure and promotions to associate professor levels to the following individuals: Stephen Bruder, associate professor of electrical engineering; Baolin Deng, associate professor of environmental engineering; Douglas Dunston, associate professor of music; Michael Heagy, associate professor of chemistry; Gilbert Kerr, associate professor of mathematics; and Donald Weinkauf, associate professor of chemical engineering.

In addition, the Tech regents also granted emeritus status to retiring faculty members Gary Olsen, professor of history and dean of students, and Allan Stavely, associate professor of computer science.

During its board meeting, New Mexico Tech regents also were informed that sabbatical leaves had been approved for Kevin Kirk, associate professor of biology, Philip Kyle, professor of geochemistry and geochemist/petrologist, Emily Nye, associate professor of English, and Tanja Pietraß, associate professor of chemistry.

Prior to conducting the boar d of regents monthly meeting, Tech regents held an election of board officers, in which regent Sid Gutierrez was elected chairman and student regent Anthony Montoya, Jr. was elected to the post of secretary/treasurer.