Regents Minutes - September 2014

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Board of Regents

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Mexico Tech
Fidel Center, Ballroom A
Socorro, New Mexico


The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:38 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:

1. Proof of Meeting Notice.  The meeting was called to order at 1:28 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter after the President affirmed that proper legal notice had been given.

2. Approval of the Agenda.  The Chairman announced an executive session (item 16) would be convened to discuss a legal issue. The Agenda was approved unanimously as presented on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second from Regent Armijo.

3. Minutes.  The Minutes from the August meeting were unanimously approved on a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Peacock.

4. Announcements.

Faculty Senate Update.  With the Board’s permission, President López moved up this item to accommodate Dr. Raymond, the incoming Faculty Senate Chair succeeding Richard Sonnenfeld. Dr. Raymond reported progress toward strengthening shared governance, with plans for a University-wide hybrid committee with appropriate faculty and staff representation.

Enrollment Updates. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming reported that new student enrollment is comparable with last year, with 13 more transfer students than in 2013. Online registration and advising were very helpful and will continue. The President commented that fewer high school students are interested in STEM fields, with both UNM and NMSU reporting lower enrollment in these areas.

President’s Golf Tournament Update.  The tournament has already raised $153,000 and is expected to bring in an additional $10,000, reported the President. Proceeds are earmarked for student scholarship support. Dr. López assured Chairman Carpenter that he would explore the idea of a Scholarship Committee to review requests.

Sabbatical Leave.  Regents were informed of sabbatical leave approved for Dr. David Burleigh, Materials Engineering, to complete a book he is writing. Dr. Ostergren noted that Dr. Burleigh is a student favorite, and that the department has plans to cover for him during his absence. Dr. Fuierer attended in support of his colleague.

Planning for new Chemistry Building.  Voters will determine the outcome of a General Obligation Bond in November that includes $15 million for a new Chemistry Building. The bond should pass, but the University cannot be passive, the President said.

Conference on Induced Seismicity.  The University recently hosted a conference on induced seismicity that explained the science behind topical issues related to subsurface earth disturbance. The President called the conference a good first step in response to industry concerns. Among attendees was former PRRC director Dave Martin, now state Secretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. Dr. Phillips called the participation of high-level individuals in the petroleum industry “very encouraging.”

E-Mail Mishap.  The President responded to a recent email incident in which a University employee sent a message regarding “an innocuous tutoring schedule” to the wrong email list. It was inadvertent; no emails from parents were reported.


Public Comment.  Ms. Dawn Weaver, secretary of the local public school board, asked if the University could expand its dual-credit program with Socorro High School to include freshmen and sophomores. While high school students are allowed concurrent enrollment at New Mexico Tech, opening it up completely would cause the University to lose money under the current funding formula, noted the President. “We would love to have them,” he said, “but it’s a matter of finance.” Ms. Weaver thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak, saying she just wanted to “plant that seed.”

Degree Conferrals for July and August 2014.  Board members were apprised of four bachelor’s degrees, 13 master’s degrees and one doctorate conferred in July and August.

Financial Analysis for July 2014.  Mr. Marquez had little to report, saying it was too early to track any expenditure trends; however, the University continues to operate within budgetary limits. Regent Armijo moved to approve the report, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.

Research and Public Service Projects Funding Requests.  The RPSP list is the same as last year with one exception, the addition of Aerospace Engineering. The University is requesting $200,000 to move the program forward after a proposed academic partnership fell through. There followed a discussion on the success of Tech students in international aerospace engineering competitions, and thus the content of the minor the University offers in the field. Also mentioned were efforts to contact Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic. Dr. Ostergren, noting the proximity of the Spaceport to Tech, speculated on the possibility of research and student competitions tied to the facility, perhaps leading to a commercialization effort in time. Regents acted on a request from President López to approve the RPSP list on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second by Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.

Restricted Fund Purchase Notification.  Regents were informed of three purchases in excess of $100,000; details in the notebooks.

10. Unrestricted Fund Purchase Notification.  The President recommended that Regents approve the low bid of ~ $510,000 to ESA Construction to build a laboratory and office near EMRTC to house some 50,000 cutting samples under the protection of the Bureau of Geology. Mr. Price explained that the proposed structure is a cost-shaving alternative to enlarging the new Bureau building under construction. Mr. Hidalgo noted that the funds are part of initial financing for the Bureau building. Regents unanimously approved the bid award under a motion by Regent Armijo and a second by Regent Peacock.

11. Real Estate Purchase Request. Mr. Marquez notified Regents of a proposal to purchase two “modest” residences adjacent to the University; both properties have been appraised. After a short discussion, Regent Armijo moved to authorize the University to purchase the property at 905 Bullock. Regent Hicks seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Regents also unanimously approved the purchase of property at 818 Leroy on a motion by Regent Hicks and a second by Regent Peacock. Copies of the two resolutions adopted are attached hereto and incorporated by reference. 

12. Property Items Resolution, Reference NMSA 1978, 13-6-1.  Mr. Marquez requested approval for the following resolutions: 140909-01 to remove worn out property under $5,000 to be sold at auction. Regent Peacock moved for approval. Regent Armijo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 140909-02 to remove worn out property over $5,000 to be sold at auction: Regent Armijo moved for approval. Regent Hicks seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 140909-03to remove obsolete property over $5,000: Regent Hicks moved for approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

13. Individual Board Member Comments.   None.

14. New Business.  None.

15. Employee Benefit Trust.  The Board recessed at 2:55 p.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported that several large claims resulted in a deficit at the end of July, with some abatement in August. The University is reviewing premiums to keep the program affordable for both the Institute and its employees. Mr. Marquez and Ms. Salome introduced new options (with varying deductibles) to be explained to employees at the annual Benefits Fair in November. During discussion, Chairman Carpenter noted the importance of having the plans vetted before Regents vote on any new plan. The Trust recessed at 3:17 p.m. to reconvene as the Board of Regents.

16. Possible Executive Session, NMSA 1978, Sec. 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters).  On a unanimous roll call vote, Regents adjourned the regular meeting at 3:21 p.m. to meet in Executive Session as per a long-pending issue regarding litigation by a former NM Tech employee, on a motion by Regent Peacock and a second by Regent Hicks.

Reconvene in Open Session and Report on Final Action, if any, on such Limited Personnel Matters Shall in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session.  The Board reconvened in open session at 3:39 p.m. Chairman Carpenter announced that pursuant to the above statute governing a closed session of the Board, only the matter stated was discussed and no action was taken.

18. Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Minutes of September 9, 2014

New Mexico Tech Board of Regents