Official Minutes from the November 2014 Regents Meeting

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

1:30 p.m. Friday, November 21, 2014

Embassy Suites Hotel, Sandia Ballroom 7
1000 Woodward Place NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:40 p.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:

Proof of Meeting Notice.  The meeting was called to order at 1:40 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter after the President affirmed that proper legal notice had been given.

Approval of the Agenda.  The Chairman announced the addition of Item 16 and an Executive Session (Item 20), should the Board deem it appropriate. The Agenda then was approved unanimously on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second from Regent Peacock.

Minutes.  The Minutes from the October 16, 2014 meeting were unanimously approved following a motion by Regent Peacock and a second by Regent Hicks.


Enrollment Updates. Mr. Ortiz reported that applications have increased significantly and a high percentage of these applications have included a tuition payment.   When an application includes a tuition payment, it is very likely that the student will actually enroll at Tech.  He went on to point out that he is impressed with the quality of many of these applicants.  Recruiting efforts in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley areas of Texas also have boosted minority applications by more than 400 over last year. Mr. Ortiz and his staff received praise for their successful efforts.

Update Funding Formula.  The President informed Regents that after three months of focused effort, a steering committee of the N.M. Council of Presidents has come to a consensus regarding a revised formula for funding higher education in New Mexico, and has been able to convince all parties, including the Governor’s Office and the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), of its viability. Unfortunately, he added, there is no way to predict the amount of funding available to the state with the recent plunge in oil prices. President López pronounced it a very good formula, and predicted that as the economy improves, “New Mexico Tech stands to gain.”

Report on Exit Conference of Annual Audit.  Mr. Marquez reported that the University submitted results of the audit to the State Auditor’s Office on Nov. 14 with no significant findings. An issue described as a misunderstanding with the auditors eventually was worked out. Chairman Carpenter cited findings repeated from last year, and urged officials to eliminate them. Mr. Marquez responded that the University is close to completing the migration to a new accounting system, which should resolve most of these repeat findings.  The Chairman forwarded comments from the auditors on the talent and attentiveness of University staff who assisted them. Once approved by the state, the audit will be brought to the Board for review and acceptance.  This will probably happen at the February meeting.

Sabbatical Leave. Dr. Ostergren informed Regents that sabbatical has been granted for the 2015 fall semester for Dr. Jun Zheng, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, who will spend the time on a computer security project. Chairman Carpenter expressed his appreciation in receiving biographical data on Dr. Zheng in advance.

Faculty Senate Report.  Dr. Stone, new Dean of Arts and Sciences, reported on behalf of Dr. Raymond, citing the formation of several Faculty Senate (FS) committees that now have evolved into University committees. The FS may reactivate its faculty mentoring program with the hiring of new, tenure-track faculty; and the Faculty Development committee will try to host a workshop on research funding to include senior graduate students.

Other.  The President reported that filming at Playas will continue until Dec. 19 on a Warner Brothers film featuring Batman versus Superman. In addition, Aerojet will be leaving the University’s Research Park in March or April 2015, a move the University was not in a position to announce until recently. None of the 35 workers affected belong to New Mexico Tech; however, the University will try to absorb at least some and perhaps the balance of employees not moving with the company, if possible. Aerojet is consolidating its operations as contract work has decreased. President López expressed confidence the University would replace the million-dollar loss in revenue over time.

Dr. Romero announced good news regarding the MRO: An exclusive team agreement with the NRAO puts the University in a good position to win a five-year, $5 million USAF project. One requirement is a study fusing optical interferometry with radio interferometry. The contract will be announced in March 2016. Winning the contract would get the MRO to first imaging. President López cited Dr.  Romero’s “dogged determination to make this happen.” Meanwhile, the University was notified on Nov. 5 of its selection to conduct an independent study of a recent leak at the WIPP site in Carlsbad under an $800,000 contract with the Department of Energy or the State Energy and Minerals Department.  The University’s task will be to process review – no health aspects are involved. In addition to chemists and other scientists, the project team includes a technical communicator, Dr. Julie Ford.

Dr. Romero updated Regents on a report given them at last summer’s retreat regarding developing a bioengineering Ph.D. program by acquiring the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR). One sticking point was the real property it occupies. Now that the NCGR has been able to secure a loan, the University has had discussions with numerous entities on bringing the company under our Research Park.  As such, overhead would come to New Mexico Tech, with no liability ties to the property. While the outlook is favorable, Dr. Romero said the University would “proceed with caution.” Dr. Stone added that, in general, faculty response to adding a new Ph.D. has been favorable.

The President outlined the history of the University’s Investment Policy as one based on “the prudent man rule” which addresses both potential opportunities and risk in handling public monies. Both the President and Foundation member W.D. Peterson provided details. Regents raised several issues during discussion, including comparable returns and periodic reporting to the Board, both of which Mr. Marquez will research. Mr. Peterson noted that a policy-writing committee is working to clean up and clarify Foundation procedures, and is attempting to work with the academic community regarding intellectual property. President López assured Regents he would bring to them a listing of board members for the Research Park Corp. and the Research Foundation.

Public Comment.  None

Degree Conferrals for October 2014.  Two Master of Science degrees were conferred during the month of October.

Report on Fundraising Activities.  Ms. Guengerich reported the results of the third Annual Campaign, noting that donations are well ahead of prior years. Proceeds from the annual President’s Golf Tournament were 8 percent above those from 2013, and attendance at 49ers also was up over previous years, bringing longtime alumni to campus for a series of Tech Talks and other activities. The Office for Advancement will offer major-gifts training to faculty with a workshop on Feb. 4, 2015; and is considering a campaign for faculty donations, an initiative Chairman Carpenter suggested should come from the Faculty Senate, to which the President agreed. Ms. Guengerich addressed other measures and potential donors, including a proposal to Intel to fund mini-courses as a recruitment tool. Regent Peacock pronounced Advancement efforts “something to celebrate,” and noted that year-to-date data would be helpful.

Financial Analysis for October 2014.  Mr. Marquez reported revenue 3 percent ahead of last year. Overhead and tuition/fees are up; expenses are behind those of last year. All research divisions are within budget, and the Playas deficit is receding. Regent Peacock moved to approve the report, with a second from Regent Armijo. The motion passed unanimously.

Quarterly Financial Ending September 2014.  Mr. Marquez asked for Board approval for the quarterly report, noting that it reflected a reconciliation of budget numbers from fund accounting to GASB. The request was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Peacock.

Establish a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Science.  Dr. Ostergren submitted for Board approval a new degree offering in biomedical science described as an interdisciplinary study involving 10 academic departments. He noted that Dr. Stone provided the primary leadership in program development. Dr. Stone said students could choose among three emphases in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, for 12 possible degrees. During discussion, it was noted that new Living/Learning Communities could be developed in support of the new offering; and developing a full biomedical program could be daunting under ABET requirements. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved for program approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Emeritus Status Request.  The President requested Board approval to grant emeritus status to Professor Andrew Campbell, who retired in 2013 after 30 years with the E&ES Department, and continues as a student advisor. Regent Armijo moved for approval. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Unrestricted Fund Purchase.  The President brought forward a request for $380,654 on behalf of the N.M. Bureau of Geology. Director Price told Regents that professional services are required to move the contents of the Bureau and its 60 employees, which includes five laboratories and millions of dollars in equipment. The award to A1 Freeman Moving Group includes transferring the 50,000 pounds of cuttings bound for the Research Office Building near EMRTC. A crane will provide access to the Bureau’s map collection. Mr. Price noted that the move will take 55 days or longer, and costs will be paid out of a reserve fund started years ago. Regent Armijo moved to approve the award. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Adoption of Strategic Planning Mission Statement.  President López, stating he preferred the previous version, but noting his respect for the Strategic Planning Committee he put into place, as brought forward for Board approval the revised Mission Statement. Regent Rodriguez-Rios moved for approval. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and then opened discussion. The Socorro Regent wanted the word “diversified” added to the third line in referring to the University’s student body. “We need to make that clear in our Mission,” he said. Regent Armijo then asked that Regent Rodriguez-Rios amend his motion to reflect the change. It was agreed. When brought forward for a vote, the motion as amended passed unanimously.

Property Resolutions.  Mr. Marquez presented for Board approval the following:

Naming of the Bureau of Geology Building.  President López requested Board approval to name the new Bureau of Geology complex The Charles “Chuck” F. Headen Center. Regent Armijo noted that Mr. Headen’s late wife Jessie should be included in the name. To accommodate the additional letters, Regent Rodriguez-Rios suggested that “Chuck” be omitted. Regent Armijo then moved to name the facility The Charles and Jessie Headen Center. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

NM State Mine Inspector Nomination/Recommendation. The President said it is a practice to nominate an individual to serve as State Mine Inspector, and the University must abide by what the State has decreed. He noted that the nominee is a miner with background and training in the field. Regent Peacock recommended the nomination of Terrence Foreback. Regent Armijo seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Individual Board Comments.  Regent Rodriguez-Rios, whose term ends on Dec. 31, 2014, said his experience on the Board was fantastic, and wished happy holidays to all. (The terms of Regents Armijo and Carpenter also expire on Dec. 31, and all three were recognized at a luncheon preceding the meeting.) Regent Armijo reflected over his 12 years on the Board, citing the strength of the University to continually adapt to changes and challenges. He noted the many personnel changes over the past dozen years, including the loss of faculty; and felt comfortable leaving the University “in as good a position as it was 12 years ago.” Regent Armijo will remain as a member of the Research Foundation Board of Directors. Chairman Carpenter, who joined the Board with Armijo, said he enjoyed his tenure, appreciated the assistance given him and thanked his Board colleagues. Regent Peacock thanked the Chairman for his “incredible leadership” and called working with “an amazing Board” a fantastic experience. She led a standing ovation for the departing Regents.
New Business.  The President recognized Dr. Liebrock, who reported on Graduate Studies. Fall 2015 enrollment is up 15 percent over 2014, and the office is negotiating details of an MOU to provide funding for graduate research assistants as part of a two-year program. She noted that the program is recruiting Central American students seeking graduate degrees in STEM fields. In other business, Ms. Salome reported that the Employee Manual has been revised with some policy modifications and additions. The document will be posted for internal comments in January 2015.

Employee Benefit Trust. The Board recessed at 3:35 p.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez thanked Regents for their guidance over the year. He reported a deficit due to several large claims. The recent Benefits Fair was successful, he added. New premium rates will take effect Jan. 1, 2015. The Trust recessed at 3:36 p.m. to reconvene as the Board of Regents.Possible Executive Session, NMSA 1978 Section 10-15-1 (H) (2); (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters). Chairman Carpenter announced a request to discuss potential pending personnel claims and lawsuits within the purview of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Regent Armijo moved to so meet, followed by a second by Regent Peacock. The Board recessed at 3:37 p.m. following a roll-call vote.

Reconvene in Open Session and Report on Final Action, if any, on Such Limited Personnel Matters in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session.  Chairman Carpenter reconvened the regular meeting at 4:15 p.m. and announced that discussion related only to matters within the purview of the OMA, and no action was taken.

Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned by acclamation at 4:16 p.m.