Regents Minutes - May 2013

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Board of Regents

1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 10, 2013

Fidel Center, Ballroom B

New Mexico Tech Campus

Socorro, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:33p.m., with Board of Regents Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Debra Hicks, Regent Deborah Peacock, and Student Regent Israel Rodriguez-Rios. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:

Daniel H. López

Lala Garcia

Lonnie Marquez

Peter Gerity

Van Romero

Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming

John Meason

Greer Price

Robert Lee

Rudy Correa

Mark Adams

Miguel Hidalgo

Bill Schattschneider

Mike Kloeppel

Mike Topliff

Lorie Liebrock

Joe Franklin

Ifan Payne

David Meier

Jun Zeng

Julie Ford

Alan Roes

Thom Guengerich

Valerie Kimble

Proof of Meeting Notice:  The meeting was called to order at 1:33 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter, after President López confirmed that proper notice for the meeting had been given.

Approval of Agenda:  Chairman Carpenter amended the Agenda by moving item seven (Approval of May 2013 Graduates) forward. Regent Armijo moved to accept the amended Agenda. Regent Hicks seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. 

Minutes:  President López recommended that the minutes of April 21, 2013 meeting of the Board of Regents be approved, with several changes proposed by the Chairman.  Regent Peacock so moved, followed by a second from Regent Armijo.  The motion passed unanimously.  A copy of the minutes of the April 21, 2013 meeting, as so changed, is attached hereto. 

Approval of May 2013 Graduates: The President, noting that the list of graduates had been properly vetted before the Faculty Senate, recommended approval. Regent Armijo then moved that Regents confer upon President López the authority to grant diplomas to students on the graduation list. Regent Peacock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Graduation Ceremony.   V.P. Gerity explained the process for new Board members, beginning with a buffet breakfast prior to robbing, to the Commencement service itself starting at 9 a.m. Ms. Garcia added that a small ceremony will be held for graduates and their families under a large tent, followed by lunch for Regents and other guests at the President’s home. The ceremony would be streamed live.

Enrollment Updates.  Both the President and V.P. Jaramillo-Fleming noted increased enrollment over the same time last year. “We’re watching the dorm rooms to ensure we have enough for new and transfer students,” she said. “We’re trying to keep the growth sustained,” said President López, adding that he had charged Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming with leading a new Strategic Plan initiative. “We’ve done this twice, and have enough experience to execute the process on our own,” he said. Chairman Carpenter suggested that Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming explain the process at this year’s retreat.

Introduction of Faculty Promotions. As a follow-up to the promotions announced at last month’s Board meeting, V.P. Gerity introduced four present today: Dr. Jun Zheng, Computer Science; Dr. Bin Lim, Mechanical Engineering; Dr. David Meier, Physics (promotion and tenure); and Dr. Julie Ford (full professor in Technical Communication and Mechanical Engineering).

Sabbatical Leave Request for Dr. Michaelann Tartis.  This item, presented for information only, prompted Dr. Romero to marvel that he has known Dr. Tartis, the daughter of onetime Tech students, from her first day on campus as an undergraduate, through the tenure process, and now sabbatical.

Student Government Association Summit.  Outgoing SA President Sohaib Solimon reported on the May 17 summit to discuss options for the Lottery Scholarship. Every four-year school was represented and several two-year schools as well, with representatives from relevant state agencies, including the LFC’s David Lepre and Lottery Scholarship Authority. The session was successful and generated a lot of feedback. Solimon noted that one suggestion was to boost the lottery fund by promoting ticket sales among student scholarship recipients.

Other.  Dr. Sonnenfeld introduced the issue of changing admission requirements for transfer students, as endorsed by the Faculty Senate, requiring them to be better prepared in mathematics before they enter Tech. “I am convinced, absolutely, that this is problematic,” noted Dr. Gerity, adding: “You have the authority to agree it’s a good idea or not.” Chairman Carpenter expressed concern that the issue was not resolved prior to coming before Regents, and in light of current public policy encouraging transferability in the state. Authority for approval is vested in the Board, he pointed out. The issue is not one of aptitude or GPA, but it has to do with preparation, noted President López, adding that he would work on the issue over the summer, and bring something to the Board in August. In closing, the Chairman thanked legal counsel for his assistance, noting that the state Constitution preserves the independence of boards of regents to make decisions regardless of party affiliation.

Annual Board Retreat:  Board members agreed to move the summer retreat and August meeting to coincide with an International Star Party Night on the 10th, as suggested by Dr. Romero. MRO will host tours and an overnight camping trip. Of particular concern to the Chairman were sufficient time for Regents to meet with faculty, and a discussion on fund raising. He emphasized the need for discussions based on written reports. Regent Armijo noted that the two-day schedule was flexible, so far as working in a tour of EMRTC. The President asked to be informed of any schedule changes, while respecting the Board’s authority to structure the retreat. Dr. Sonnenfeld offered to help arrange the meeting with faculty, and Chairman Carpenter noted that if pressed for time, Regents could dine at a Tech facility. Regents will arrive in Socorro on Thursday night, Aug. 8, followed by two full days of meetings, visits and discussions. A breakfast Sunday, Aug. 11, will close out the retreat.

Public Comment:  None.

Financial Analysis for April 2013:  According to Mr. Marquez, revenues total $34 million, much as last year, while expenditures are tracking higher for the same time period. All other I&G divisions are within budget. EMRTC and Playas are doing well and providing a benefit to the school; the Geophysical Research Center and the N.M. Science and Engineering Fair are over budget, while scholarship funds are now listed as a receivable.

Quarterly Financial Report:  Assuring Regents that the financial report through March 31 was “accurate and complete,” Mr. Marquez recommended it be approved.   The report is required by the Higher Education Department. Regent Hicks moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios. The motion passed unanimously.

Severance Tax Bond Resolutions:  The President introduced three resolutions requiring Board approval before they are forwarded to the state for its consent: a) $6 million for the new N.M. Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources building; b) $235,000 to construct a maintenance building for MRO; and c) $100,000 to design and construct a parking lot to relieve congestion from ongoing construction projects. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved for approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Project Approval for the Bureau of Geology Building: In a follow-up to item 10, President    López asked Regents to formally approval the project itself, as required by the state. Regent Hicks made a motion to move the project forward. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

NMT Computer Security Committee:  Mr. Marquez introduced committee members Dr. Michael Topliff (Director of Academic Computing), Dr. Lorie Liebrock (former Computer Science Department Chair), Max Planck (Technical Director for ICASA), Joe Franklin (ISD Director) and Alan Roes (IT Branch Director). The team is developing a comprehensive computing policy for the University that would provide for the exchange of information, while protecting the electronic integrity of the school.  Chairman Carpenter asked that Regents be kept informed about issues related to training and on-campus incidents.

Property Items Resolution, Reference NMSA 1978, 13-6-1, 130510-01 & 130510-02:  Mr. Marquez presented two resolutions for Board approval:

130510-01, to remove from inventory items under $5,000. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved for approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

130510-02, to remove from inventory items over $5,000. Regent Peacock moved for approval. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Notification of Awards – Restricted Funds (ImPronta Public Relations and Schlum-berger Technology Corporation):  Regents were notified of two purchases over $100,000:

Low bidder ImPronta Public Relations to develop and implement a promotion and marketing program for the Tech Transfer Support Program at Kirtland AFB; and

Subcontract to Schlumberger Technology Corp. to continue work on a carbon sequestration project.

Request for Emeritus Status

Dr. Robert Bond, Electrical Engineering: Upon the recommendation from President López, Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved to grant emeritus status to Dr. Robert Bond, Professor of Electrical Engineering. Regent Hicks seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Approval of New Mexico Tech Press Board of Directors:  Regents failed to act on a request from a group of faculty that started a press publication on campus three years ago as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity independent of the University. The group’s by-laws require that Regents approve their appointees. One suggestion was for the group to remove the appointment provision from the by-laws. The President said he would work with the group.

Individual Board Member Comments:  Regent Rodriguez-Rios thanked Dr. Meason and Mr. Correa for helping the student Baja Team travel to Washington State for a competition. Regent Hicks asked that the Minutes be posted online, noting that the list is not current. Ms. Garcia offered to post all Minutes for 2013. “The more transparency, the better,” said Regent Armijo. Regent Peacock reported on a meeting regarding preserving/protecting artwork at the Georgia O-Keeffe Museum with the President and several Tech faculty.                               

New Business: Dr. Romero announced that a film crew was on campus for two days to film segments of a feature on the forensic science used to study the Boston bombings; it will air as a NOVA telecast on May 29. 

Employee Benefit Trust:  Regents recessed the meeting at 3:24 p.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. In response to a question from the Chairman, the President traced the start of the Trust to the Laurence Lattman-W.D. Peterson administration that believed the school could devise a better program with superior benefits. The challenge over the past two years has been to maintain coverage while keeping premiums to a reasonable level. Tech bypassed an opportunity three years ago to join a state insurance program because its premiums were increasing at a higher rate than Tech’s. The school continues to explore other opportunities, but to date has found no suitable replacement. Mr. Marquez noted that the Trust was a recruiting tool in the beginning, and was stable for many years. “We’re treading water, and expecting to make progress over the next few months,” he said. The University can assess progress at the end of December, when Tech will have been with Meritain for 18 months. Another option is health maintenance programs. “It’s a voluntary program, and we’re looking at it,” noted Mr. Marquez. Regents adjourned the Trust meeting at 3:30 p.m., and reconvened the regular meeting.                                                             
Possible Executive Sesssion, NMSA 1978, Sec 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters):  At 3:32 p.m., the Board on a roll call vote closed the open meeting and convened in executive session to consider only those items noted.

Reconvene in Open Session and Take Final Action, if any, on Such Limited Personnel Matters Which Shall be Acted Upon in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session:

The Board reconvened in open session at 3:55 p.m. Mr. Adams announced that pursuant to the above statute governing a closed session of the Board, the Board discussed litigation in which New Mexico Tech is involved. President López reported that a second item discussed was a legal matter regarding a foreign student’s visa status.

Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:55 p.m.