Notes from the March 20, 2007 Regents Meeting
by George Zamora
SOCORRO – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents re-elected Richard Carpenter of Santa Fe to his current position as chairman and also re-elected Jerry Armijo of Socorro to his current position as secretary/treasurer of the research university’s governing board, during the board’s meeting on March 20 in Socorro.
Both Carpenter and Armijo will now serve as officers for the board of regents for another one-year term.
On behalf of the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents, Chairman Carpenter also welcomed New Mexico Tech student Dennise M. Trujillo as a “regent designee.” Trujillo recently was appointed to the student regent position by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, but her appointment to a two-year term as a regent has not yet been confirmed by the New Mexico State Legislature.
During the board’s March meeting, New Mexico Tech regents also were given an overview of the legislation that was passed at the recently concluded regular session of the New Mexico State Legislature, with particular regard to regular and additional funding obtained this year for the state-supported research university.
New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López began his briefing by stating, “I only have good news for you today about what has truly been a good legislative year for New Mexico Tech.”
New Mexico Tech will benefit from several bills that were passed into law, López told the regents, particularly those dealing with what had been the university’s five top legislative priorities, including:
- full-formula funding for state research universities, along with budget adjustments for much-needed campus infrastructure replacement and improvement projects;
- five percent salary increases for university faculty and other employees;
- 0.75 percent allowance for the employee retirement fund;
- a zero tuition credit for state institutions of higher learning; and
- $12 million for matching endowments programs at New Mexico Tech and the other universities and two-year institutions of higher learning.
The New Mexico Tech President emphasized that monetary funds which will now be made available to the university through the matching endowment program will be especially useful in light of several recent major donations to the school.
“New Mexico Tech’s share will amount to about $2 million,” López said, “and that will be used from the start to match most of these new pledges and outright donations we’ve been receiving.”
In addition, López pointed out that the New Mexico State Legislature also passed several other additional bills that include funding for New Mexico Tech education, research, and training programs, such as:
- $678,000 for a DNA sequencer to be housed at the National Genome Center in Santa Fe (but which will be used at times by New Mexico Tech researchers);
- $500,000 for the Technology Research Consortium (of which New Mexico Tech is a member);
- $278,000 for planning costs for a new facility for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR);
- $149,000 for the Playas Training Center;
- $116,000 for the Petroleum Recovery Research Center’s involvement with a nationwide carbon dioxide sequestration project;
- $105,000 for planning costs for a new wellness/ physical recreation center at the university;
- $100,000 for improvements to the New Mexico Tech Golf Course; and
supplemental budgetary support for several of the university’s affiliated off-campus research facilities and educational outreach programs.
In other announcements made during the board meeting, New Mexico Tech President López reported that total applications for admission for Tech’s 2007 Fall Semester were up significantly over last year’s total for the same time period (889 versus 815) and that the number of paid applicants had also risen when compared to last year’s figures (204 versus 178).
“These figures bode well for a possible increase at New Mexico Tech in overall student enrollment this coming fall semester,” López said. “I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll have an especially good increase in entering freshmen enrollment.”
In official actions taken at its meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents approved the academic appointment of Jeffrey B. Johnson to the full-time, tenure-track position of assistant professor of geophysics with the New Mexico Tech Department of Earth and Environmental Science.
The board of regents also approved granting academic tenure to Richard Sonnenfeld, associate professor of physics at New Mexico, and, furthermore, granted academic tenure and promotion to associate professor to the following Tech faculty: Aly El-Osery (electrical engineering); Julie Ford (humanities); Lorie Liebrock (computer science); Richard Mottt (humanities); and Lynda Walsh (humanities).
During its meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also was informed that the university had issued a subcontract to increase funding to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for a current contract that provide course instructors, subject matter experts, course logistics, and course curriculum for Tech’s First Responder Training Program. The estimated total cost of the award is more than $7 million, regents were told, and is funded entirely from the university’s restricted funds.
At the latter part of the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters, and reconvened in regular session, at which time the regents then approved a 10 percent salary adjustment for the New Mexico Tech President, as well as approved a list of new goals for the president.