Official Minutes from the October 2014 Regents Meeting

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

10 a.m. Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Mexico Tech
Macey Center Copper Room
Socorro, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 10:10 a.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:

1.  Proof of Meeting Notice.  The meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m. by Chairman Carpenter after the President affirmed that proper legal notice had been given.

2. Approval of the Agenda.  The Agenda was approved unanimously as presented on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios.

3. Minutes.  The Minutes from the September meeting, as amended, were unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Peacock.

4. Announcements.

Enrollment Updates. Mr. Ortiz reported that more than 455 applications for fall 2015 were collected on recruitment trips, including 32 paid admissions, a momentum he plans to continue. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming added that the Office of Admission has been fully staffed since last fall, and she is pleased with their results.

Accreditation.  The President noted that Dr. Dezember is working diligently on the University’s reaccreditation effort and he is confident New Mexico Tech will be prepared when the HLC team visits campus on March 23-24, 2015. “We’re on track, but there’s still much to do,” said Dr. Dezember, adding that assessment drafts were made available for campus review and comments. Final drafts will be posted for a week’s review, along with a document on federal compliance. Chairman Carpenter, noting that Regents are part of the approval process, asked that the Board be included and apprised of opportunities for input. President López assured Board members they would receive final reports as early as possible, allowing time for a thorough review.

Funding Formula Update.  Work on developing a formula with sector equality is moving in the right direction, reported the President, adding that he would hate to lose any more ground to the two-year schools.  “The real struggle now is how to manage growth performance,” he said. The Chairman reminded members that both NMT and UNM have members on the Legislative Finance Committee, a key legislative body; however, member dominance rests with the two-year schools.

N.M. Distinguished Public Service Awards.  The annual awards honor individuals outside the public purview, mostly volunteers who have made a significant impact on their local communities. The President, who chairs the committee, invited Regents to the banquet honoring this year’s honorees, set for Dec. 2 in Albuquerque.

New Mexico Tech Research Foundation Policy.  The President recommended Dr. Raul Deju and Regent Armijo to the Foundation board, while work continues in revising its policies for board governance and dealing with conflict-of-interest issues. Fundraising is in gear with regular allotments from the Headen Trust, with additional staff in the Office for Advancement, each of whom will raise $1 million within the next 18 months. Regent Hicks, referring to a draft of the proposed Foundation policy, cited “significant concerns,” in particular mixing University officers with Foundation officers. “It appears...their roles are not defined,” she said. Regent Peacock concurred, citing incongruencies with the entire gift policy. During discussion, it was noted that the majority of Foundation funds are invested with the State Investment Council; the Chairman commented that the University will need an investment policy that does not depend on the state. President López agreed to revisit the policy, and asked that the Board email their concerns.

Sabbatical Leave Request.  Dr. Ostergren advised Regents that sabbatical leave has been granted for Dr. Rebecca Reiss, Associate Professor of Biology. At the request of Chairman Carpenter, the Vice President agreed to forward biographical information on Dr. Reiss to members.

Faculty Senate.  Dr. Raymond, new Chairman of the Faculty Senate, noted that he was encouraged with the progress being made by a new University-wide committee to strengthen administration and faculty ties.

Summons.  The President advised the Board of a summons the University received regarding a faculty member whose contract was not renewed, and that he would bring it to Regents in executive session when appropriate.

Other.  Regents were apprised by President López that the Computational Analysis and Network Enterprise Solutions, or CAaNES, had purchased a building in Albuquerque using no state or Foundation funds. “We have no collateral riding on this,” the President said. CAaNES, a growing quasi-private spin-off company, employs some 50 workers. Headed by Mark Fidel with Dr. Srinivas Mukkamala as Chief Technology Officer, the company will be a valuable asset to the University someday, said the President. Regent Armijo noted that the University’s Research Park corporation owns controlling interest in the company, but bears no financial responsibility for its operations. In addition, negotiations are under way to purchase the building located at Mesa del Sol.

49ers Update.  Attendance estimates for the annual three-day event are looking good, and student interest is high, reported Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming, adding that the 49ers parade has 38 entries, nine from Student and University Relations. Regent Rodriguez-Rios will chauffeur Regent Hicks and the President in a Model A in the parade. Other events include a “hard hat tour” of the new Bureau of Geology conducted by Director Price.

Briefs.  President López reminded the Board that the bond issue for higher education includes $15 million for a new chemistry building. Regent Peacock requested fundraising activity reports at every meeting. The President suggested they be made quarterly. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming said progress is being made to supply Regents with the information they have requested. The President introduced Dr. Bill Stone as New Mexico Tech’s Dean of Arts and Sciences. As noted by Dr. Ostergren, Dr. Stone has served in the role for some time and now has an official title.

Public Comment.  None.

Degree Conferrals for September 2014.  Board members were apprised and given a copy of the 37 names graduates receiving their respective undergrad or graduate degrees. 

Financial Analysis for August 2014.  Ms. Sedillo, standing in for Mr. Marquez, noted that time constraints prevented her from presenting data for September; however, October overhead has rallied a bit over 2013; and, while the University has three fewer students than last fall, their credit hours are higher, providing savings for some departments. Over 50 percent of the new Bureau building budget has been spent, Ms. Sedillo continued, pronouncing the University’s financial health as “sound.”

Budget Adjustment Request (BAR) FY’15.  Ms. Sedillo presented the first BAR for FY15 to adjust carryover monies to reflect an additional year’s funding for an aerospace engineering segment of the Masters for Science Teachers (MST) program. The funds will allow current MST students to complete their degrees and boost TA salaries for the program. Regent Hicks moved to approve the request. Regent Peacock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Langmuir Endowment Budget.  President López explained that Investment Policy guidelines require Board approval for disbursement of $155,000 in carryover funds for the endowment earmarked for Langmuir Lab. The request was unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Hicks.

10. Headen Estate Resolution.  Regent Armijo, as a member of a team charged with overseeing administration of the Charles F. Headen Estate, announced that after three years, including the liquidation of “massive” assets, the estate was ready to be closed. Before the Board was a resolution prepared by Mr. Adams and which would serve as the vehicle to administer estate funds as part of a scholarship trust. He called the bequest the largest gift in University history, giving singular credit to the President for his long friendship with Mr. Headen which led to the bequest. Regent Armijo recommended that the new Bureau of Geology building be named in his honor, given Mr. Headen’s geological background. The President concurred with Regent Armijo’s recommendation, adding that the University is developing a “naming policy” in the absence of one currently in place. Chairman Carpenter requested additional information on Mr. Headen’s business background, including his oil and gas lease interests. There followed a lengthy discussion regarding the proceeds from the Headen Trust instead of depositing them with the university.  The Board also discussed how the administration of the university handles scholarship funds and concern was expressed that there appears to be the lack of a scholarship committee.  The system in place, noted Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming, gives the University an advantage in the enrollment and scholarship process. The resolution to direct the proceeds from the Headen Trust was passed unanimously on a motion by Regent Peacock, a second by Regent Rodriguez-Rios, and an abstention by Regent Armijo.

11. Unrestricted Fund Purchases Exceeding $250,000.00.  One purchase was introduced for review and approval for Sound and Signal for a fire alarm system upgrade at Workmen Center at a cost of $275,000.00.  The request was unanimously approved on a motion made by Regent Armijo and seconded by Regent Rodriguez-Rios.

12. Property Items Resolution, Reference NMSA 1978, 13-6-1 And 13-6-2.  Four resolutions were submitted for approval to remove items of tangible property:  141016-01 to remove items of tangible personal property valued under $5,000.00 and be sold at auction.  Regent Hicks moved for approval; Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.  141016-02 to remove items of tangible personal property valued over $5,000.00 and be sold at auction.  Regent Hicks moved for approval; Regent Peacock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.  141016-03 to remove items of tangible property valued over $5,000.00 as a result of loss or theft.  Regent Hicks moved for approval; Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.  141016-04 to remove items of tangible property valued under $5,000.00 as a result of loss or theft.  Regent Hicks moved for approval; Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 

13. Individual Board Member Comments.   Regent Rodriguez-Rios expressed his best wishes for a good 49ers weekend and Regent Peacock noted that the University was well represented at a recent conference of the N.M. Mining Association, including the President and Mr. Price; for her part Regent Hicks expressed her appreciation on behalf of the city of Lovington for the perspective provided by Tech representatives.

14. New Business.  None

15. Employee Benefit Trust.  The Board recessed at 11:45 a.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Ms. Salome requested approval for changes to the calendar-year benefits plan, which was narrowed down to one “best-fit” option. As such, she said, the plan would be more affordable to lower-paid employees, noting that 85 percent of University workers earn less than $25,000 annually. “We’ve had a few questions, but no negative responses,” she noted. In accepting the President’s recommendation, Regent Armijo moved for approval, followed by a second by Regent Rodriguez-Rios. The motion passed unanimously. The Trust then recessed at 11:49 a.m. to reconvene as the Board of Regents.

16. Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the      meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.