Notes from the Nov. 19, 2004 Regents Meeting
by George Zamora
ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents, convening for its last regular monthly meeting of 2004, was presented with a series of updates on progress being made in several areas at the state-supported research university in Socorro.
During the university governing board’s November 19 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico Tech administrators presented several summary briefings on projected student enrollment for the next academic year, recent accreditation visits, and efforts underway for drafting a new strategic plan for the institute.
New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López informed the regents that preliminary figures obtained by the Tech Admission Office on next year’s entering freshman class indicate a positive movement toward either matching or slightly increasing this past fall semester’s record enrollment of more than 1,800 students.
President López also told the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents that recent campus visits and interviews conducted by two national accrediting agencies — ABET and NCA — will likely result in renewed accreditation for the university’s various degree-granting programs, since there were no major deficiencies noted in either of the two preliminary departure reports filed by the organizations.
“However, the official reports on Tech’s re-accreditation process — the ones that formally notify us that our programs have been re-accredited — remain forthcoming from both of these accreditation agencies,” López said.
In addition, López also reported that several campus committees are currently working to draft a new strategic plan for New Mexico Tech, with a completion date for the document set for late spring or early summer of 2005.
Other announcements made during the November meeting of the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents included:
- an overview of the inaugural ceremony for the new Playas Training Center, scheduled to take place on December 2 in Playas, N.M.;
- a report detailing the extent of roof damages sustained on campus buildings as a result of the October 5 hailstorm;
- the lowest bid submitted for constructing the new facility for the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Roswell came in at more than $400,000 over the projected cost, mostly due to recent price increases of construction materials;
- plans are underway to present a proposal for regents to consider at a later meeting that might result in an end-of-year $300 bonus for all Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) employees;
- a yearlong sabbatical has been granted to New Mexico Tech hydrology professor Rob Bowman, beginning on January 1, 2005; and
- a six-month sabbatical, also beginning on January 2005, has been granted to New Mexico Tech Vice President Van Romero, allowing him to remain working at the university during his sabbatical on a half-time basis.
Romero was present at the meeting and provided more information to the regents, saying that he would devote all of his working hours during his upcoming sabbatical to enhancing New Mexico Tech’s economic development efforts, with particular emphasis on further developing the commercial applications of patents and other intellectual property the university currently owns.
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also was given a detailed analysis of financial activity at the university during the month of September, as well as several reports about recent purchasing contracts made by the university with restricted funds, including a $4.5 million telescope for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO), a $490,000 pier foundation for the MRO, and a $5 million contract awarded to SAIC for First Responders training programs.
In one of three official actions taken at the meeting, the Tech board of regents voted unanimously to approve a budget adjustment to the university’s general budget, allowing the school’s various departments, offices, and research divisions to carry forward positive or negative balances from last year’s budget.
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved the purchase of available water rights for 27.3 consumptive acre-feet of water for the university, and okayed an excess property bid sale of a telescope mount that was no longer being used.