Regents Minutes - November 2012
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Board of Regents
1:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16, 2012
Albuquerque Country Club
601 Laguna Blvd., SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:35 p.m., with Board of Regents Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Deborah Peacock, Regent Abe Silver and Student Regent Omar Soliman. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:
Daniel H. López
Proof of Meeting Notice: The meeting was called to order at 1:35 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter, after President López confirmed that proper notice for the meeting had been given.
Approval of Agenda: Regent Silver moved to approve the Agenda as presented, followed by a second from Regent Soliman. The motion passed unanimously. It was noted by Chairman Carpenter that reports from the N.M. Tech Foundation and Faculty Senate would be made under Announcements.
Minutes: Regent Carpenter suggested a minor amendment to the Minutes from the Oct. 19, 2012 meeting, in replacing the word “recessed” for the word “closed” under agenda item 17, Possible Executive Session, NMSA 1978, Sec 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters). Regent Peacock moved to approve the Minutes as amended. Regent Soliman seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Enrollment Updates. President López reported that enrollment statistics are up slightly over last year. Applications are down, but paid deposits are moving in a positive direction. The President voiced concerns over a recent SAT survey showing a declining interest among New Mexico students in math and science, and fewer students in the public school pipeline. “These are more than state issues, and they will impact us,” President López said. In addressing the Board, V.P. Jaramillo-Fleming noted that enrollment for spring 2013 is on the same pace as for fall 2012, with the bulk of new students transfers. She noted that the Office for Admission operates on an 18-month recruitment cycle, and maintains a “constant presence” in select high schools. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming concurred with the President that students are showing less interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. During discussion, it was noted that the University had a record-high enrollment for 2011, and that the state’s other two research universities also are facing lower or flat enrollment in STEM areas. Tech continues to reach out to New Mexico’s junior colleges, and to target minority transfer students.
Sabbatical Leaves. V.P. Gerity reported that sabbatical leaves had been granted for three faculty members: Dr. Lisa Young, Physics Department; and Dr. Sue Dunston and Dr. Doug Dunston, CLASS Department. Their classes will be covered by their colleagues and part-time instructors.
Formula Funding. The new state funding formula is detrimental to the four-year schools, and presidents of New Mexico’s research universities have so stated in a letter to the Governor and other policy makers, said President López. The primary weakness in the formula is that it does not differentiate between the research universities and two-year schools. Only the universities would lose,” said the President. “It makes no sense.” During discussion, it was noted that the funding formula, a vehicle created and calculated by the HED, is embedded in House Bill 2; which, once introduced and passed, becomes law. Diminished funding could lead to layoffs. President López predicted the issue to be a heated one when the N.M. Legislature opens in January 2013.
Results of the GO Bond. The GO Bond passed convincingly following an intensive, statewide campaign, which the President said could have made the difference, following the bond issue defeat at the polls in 2010. The $18 million earmarked for a new Bureau of Geology building isn’t enough to complete the project; the University will request an additional $6 million during the 2013 legislative session. It was noted that at a meeting with the Governor and her chief of staff, arranged by Regent Peacock, the funding issue was among several discussed. Chairman Carpenter praised President López for his efforts on behalf of the bond, including meeting with the editorial board of the Albuquerque Journal.
Legislative Finance Committee Hearings. The President announced an LFC meeting on Dec. 5 in Santa Fe with UNM’s Bob Frank as lead presenter. Any Regent present would be introduced and allowed brief comments.
Death of a Student. The President informed Regents about the accidental death of a Los Alamos-based Tech student on Oct. 23; the incident occurred off-campus. “The students did a beautiful job of memorializing their colleague,” noted the President, adding that the student’s father was grateful for the compassion and sensitivity shown by the University in handling the tragedy.
A consultant that works with the United Arab Emirates contacted Tech regarding a possible training and research program, reported the President, adding that the University has submitted a proposal for $1.2 million to develop a pilot program and courses. V.P. Romero said the program would be a “natural fit” with Tech’s work in Homeland Security and ILEA, to develop a disaster city for training and research in collaboration with other universities. Dr. Michael Hensley spent three days in Abu Dhabi as a company guest, it was noted, followed by a visit to Socorro by representatives of the Abu Dhabi Inspector General’s office. Dr. Romero reported that the visitors also toured the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. During discussion, Chairman Carpenter expressed optimism that such a program would be beneficial in light of lost federal funding. He suggested that the project ensure a quick financial benefit. The President responded that Tech will not approve anything that doesn’t show funding upfront.
Internal Auditor Alex Thyssen reported on a meeting of the New Mexico Tech Foundation earlier in the day. In his 36 years with the Foundation, Mr. Thyssen said he has seen it grow from $30,000 in assets to over $20 million, with several promising patents in the works. Mr. Thyssen said a patent for cancer research that is ready for filing could top revenues from Tech’s nicotine patch. The Foundation currently contributes $1 million annually for student scholarship support.
The President said he made it clear to members of the Faculty Senate at their last meeting that he was willing to work with them in dealing with policies and other issues. In his report, Faculty Senate Chair Richard Sonnenfeld noted that his role as a liaison between faculty and the Board already has had a positive effect on morale. Dr. Sonnenfeld noted that his role is to summarize Board activities, and to attempt to provide answers to any questions asked. In thanking Dr. Sonnenfeld for his report, Chairman Carpenter cited the opportunity for Faculty Senate issues to be addressed at the Board level.
The President displayed several publications for Regent perusal, including a review he wrote of a book written by an NMT alumnus who recently gave a presentation on campus to both faculty and staff – and the most recent Gold Pan alumni magazine.
Public Comment. None
Degree Conferrals for October 2012. Dr. Gerity reported that four Bachelor of Science degrees, two Master of Science, and one Master of Science for Teachers were conferred by New Mexico Tech in October to six students, one of whom earned two Bachelor of Science diplomas.
Financial Analysis for October 2012. Mr. Marquez presented the financial analysis for the first quarter of FY13, reporting that I&G expenditures for the period were on track. An overhead transfer of $38k will bring Science Fair/Science Olympiad back into the black; and the University is making ground in reducing the Playas deficit, with revenues now running ahead of expenditures. The ILEA restructuring should be completed by the end of the year, he added. During discussion, it was noted that the Playas Research and Training Centerdebt, in excess of $7 million, has been separated as of last July 1, based on different management. “There is some element of good news in the negative numbers,” said Dr. Meason, adding that based on current trends, the outlook for the future is “excellent.” President López agreed to a suggestion from Chairman Carpenter that the board schedule a future meeting at Playas.
Quarterly Financial Ending September 2012. The President presented to the Board for approval the financial report for the first quarter of FY13, as required by the Department of Higher Education. The report includes comparison of operating and plant fund budgets, comparison of year-to-date activities, statement of net assets, statement of cash flow and a reconciliation of budget numbers to GAAP. Regent Silver moved to approve the quarterly report. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Langmuir Laboratory Budget. President López explained that the Langmuir Laboratory budget is a quasi-endowment requiring Board approval and a budget adjustment. Regent Armijo so moved, followed by a second by Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously. During discussion, it was noted that the budget includes $180,839 in carry-forward funds and $91,268 in new funds, totaling $272,107. An oversight committee reviewed the Langmuir budget and had recommended approval, noted the President, adding that all other University endowments are invested through the Investment Council. Since Langmuir came in after other endowment funds, they are invested separately. Investments are very conservative, he added. The President agreed to follow up on a suggestion made by Chairman Carpenter to develop a policy on how lab funds should be handled. Mr. Marquez offered to work with Mr. Adams to develop a draft investment policy for later consideration.
Restricted Funds Purchases. Regents were informed of EMRTC proposals to AmFab and Western Commercial, both in excess of $100,000 in federal funds, as required by law. No action was necessary.
Unrestricted Funds Purchases Exceeding $250,000. Mr. Marquez notified the Board that because of an increased use of legal services provided by Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin and Robb, New Mexico Tech will exceed the $250,000 threshold, and will need Regent approval to spend beyond that amount. Regent Silver moved to approve the acquisition of legal services exceeding $250,000. Regent Soliman seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Regent Peacock commended the law firm, and Regent Armijo noted the institutional memory provided by the University’s longtime counsel, Mr. Adams.
Property Items to be Removed from Inventory. Mr. Marquez presented two resolutions regarding surplus property, and recommended their approval:
- Resolution 121116-01, to remove obsolete, work out, unusable property items exceeding $5,000. Regent Armijo moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.
- Resolution 121116-02, to remove obsolete, work out, unusable property items less than $5,000. Regent Peacock moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Soliman. The motion passed unanimously.
Individual Board Member Comments. Regent Soliman and Regent Silver, whose terms end Dec. 31, expressed their gratitude. Regent Soliman said he would be pursuing a graduate degree at New Mexico Tech, and thanked members for their support. Regent Silver used sports metaphors in his remarks, ending with a hope that New Mexico Tech can continue to have “an unbeatable team” for years to come. Regent Peacock thanked Dr. Romero for a tour he gave recently to a group of visitors. In his remarks, Regent Armijo recognized both Regent Solimon and Regent Silver for their service, as did Chairman Carpenter. President López noted how the student Regent had grown in his role, and thanked the elder Regent for his sense of humor and support of New Mexico Tech.
New Business. None
Employee Benefit Trust. The Board, on a roll-call vote, recessed the regular meeting at 2:12 p.m. and convened a meeting of the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported a rough month with high claims, ceding the floor to Ms. Salome, who has been working with Meritain. The three PPO plans will be presented to employees at a benefits fair on Nov. 27, reported Ms. Salome, adding that health insurance information also is posted on the University’s website. There may be additional options when the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014, noted Chairman Carpenter. At this point, added the President, no one knows what the law will mean, but that the University will keep trying to join a larger pool.
Possible Executive Session NMSA 1978, Sec 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters). The Board adjourned the meeting of the Benefit Trust and reconvened as the Board of Regents at 3:22 p.m. There was no proposal for an executive session.
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. N/A
Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:24 p.m.