Regents approve budget, new degree programs and capital project priorities

On Friday, the University of Western New Mexico Board of Trustees went through a lengthy agenda, approving the budget for the coming fiscal year, agreeing on proposed new degree programs and ensuring that the university is poised to capture planned federal funding for infrastructure projects.

After receiving general updates from the faculty and staff chairs, student body president, and also university president Dr. Joseph Shepard, board members addressed 17 action points, tabling one and unanimously adopting the rest.

Discussing the $50 million budget for fiscal year 2021-22, Vice President of Business Affairs Kelley Riddle said, “For instruction and general, we will be budgeting a carry forward balance of $5.4 million. This includes a temporary budget for the Road to 4k initiative that you previously approved,” she said.

Dr. Daniel H. Lopez, one of the newest board members who served as New Mexico Tech’s president for two decades, said he asked many questions about the proposed budget at the meeting. of the finance committee, and that all had been answered to his satisfaction. . “I have no concerns at this time, but I will continue to monitor.”

Additionally, after questions from finance committee members, student regent Brenda Hernandez and Dr. Lopez, the board unanimously passed the final budget adjustment request for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, bringing the final approved budget at nearly $75 million.

The board approved the recommendations of Vice President Academic Affairs/Provost Dr. Jack Crocker to grant outgoing faculty members Alireza Arasteh and Douglas Medin emeritus status; promote five faculty members to associate professorship and three to professorship, grant tenure to three, and renew tenure to six.

Dr. Crocker also proposed eight new degree programs, which included an associate’s degree in wildfire, a bachelor’s degree in political science, and a bachelor’s to master’s degree program in special education — all for possible implementation during of the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Another of the associate degrees now approved is Liberal Arts and Applied Sciences, the adoption of which will help launch a new program designed to provide every degree-seeking WNMU student with a credential that could support his entry into the labor market if he was unable to complete their baccalaureate and better support students in obtaining an entry-level position or a sought-after internship while continuing their studies.

Stressing the importance of maintaining a current wish list of capital projects, Dr Shepard said the university would be prepared to tap into any funding that may be made available through the Draft American Plan for the job. The Regents passed the five-year plan which places Graham Gym renovations and Kentucky Street improvements, Fine Arts Center Theater renovations, underground electricity and campus security at the top of the list of needed infrastructure.

Following Dr. Shepard’s explanation, members voted to move forward with the $1.5 million demolition of the vacant 24,000 square foot Regents Row housing complex as well as the 2.5 million million from Harlan/Fleming Hall and 10th Street, passing a Luna County real estate sale resolution as well.

Presenting the university’s biennial alcohol and other drug review, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Isaac Brundage said the campus has seen a reduction in violations over the of the past year and noted that WNMU is considering updating campus policies to reflect recent state legalization. of recreational marijuana.

Keeping the house, the board gave the go-ahead to updates to the staff senate election cycle and retirement guidelines and also furlough policies as outlined in the staff handbook, ultimately approving the disposal of assets and passing the resolution to operate in accordance with the procedures in accordance with the New Mexico Open Meeting Law. .

The WNMU Board of Directors plans to meet next July.

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