The big news this week is that the New Mexico State University system announced our fall enrollment of 24,041. This represents a small increase over last year, and the first increase since 2010. Enrollment on the Las Cruces campus also increased to 14,289. No single action is responsible for this increase. Instead, many small actions taken by people across our campuses to advance our student success goal is the reason. It will be important for us to continue to monitor key metrics that drive performance in student success as part of our NMSU LEADS 2025 strategic plan.
Next week is Hispanic-Serving Institution Week. The HSI designation was created by the Higher Education Act in 1992 to recognize institutions with a student population that is greater than 25 percent Hispanic. Advocates for this designation argued that Hispanic students enrolled in higher education were concentrated in just a few institutions. Further, these institutions were underfunded compared to other colleges and universities. This designation led to funding to assist in building educational capacity. Congress designated funds specifically for Hispanic-Serving Institutions starting in 1995 with $12 million. Last year, this funding was $124 million.
NMSU has a proud history of serving the people of our state and has long qualified for this designation; in the 2018 academic year, 56.5 percent of our students reported being of Hispanic heritage. Further, NMSU is one of a very small number of Land-GrantIinstitutions that are also Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This is reflected in our vision to be among the top universities in social mobility for our students.
Hispanic-Serving Institution Week comes at the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Athletics Department is kicking off the celebration on Saturday with a fun-for-the-whole-family Fan Fiesta, starting at 2 p.m. in the lot north of the Aggie Memorial Stadium. The fiesta will feature DJs, food trucks, mariachis, El Paso artist Jari “WERC” Alvarez and, of course, the football game against San Diego State at 6 p.m. This should be a great event!
Our border will be the unifying theme for events hosted by Chicano Programs. On Thursday, Sept. 19, social work faculty member Megan Finno-Velasquez will present a talk on the effects of immigration detention on children at 6 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall, Room 111. Watch for details on additional events from Chicano Programs.
Also, this February, the Teaching Academy will host a series of programs to address Latino students and our educational mission. Deborah Santiago, founder of Excelencia in Education, will start the series with a keynote and workshop titled “Serving Students for Success: Equity with a Latino Lens.” Mónica Torres, president of Doña Ana Community College, will continue the series on Fridays in February with “Enhancing Success at NMSU: Becoming a More Effective HSI.” Details and registration are available at the Teaching Academy.
One final note: Last week, Provost Parker convened a task force that will seek to understanding the scope of our investigatory and reporting obligations. As a large employer, the NMSU system has an ongoing need for investigations that could involve students, faculty, staff, administrators and members of our community. Consequently, many offices conduct investigations that result in serious consequences, including expulsion and termination of employment. Conducting these investigations with integrity is critically important. The goal of the task force will be to recommend protocols to ensure that our practices in this area are consistent, fair and efficient. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.