The success of all NMSU LEADS 2025 goals are interdependent, and Goal 1: Enhance Student Success & Social Mobility is particularly related to Goal 2: Elevate Research and Creative Activity. To achieve these goals requires that we grow graduate programs, especially at the doctoral level, in enrollment and quality. Hence, one objective of Goal 1: Enhance Student Success & Social Mobility is to Elevate Graduate Education which, in turn, will help Elevate Research and Creative Activity. The six actions described for that objective are below, with updates on recent progress:
- Develop a communications plan that emphasizes strong graduate programs as central to the growth and impact of research, scholarship and creative activity.
NMSU sent a clear message that research, scholarship and creative activity are solidly linked with graduate education when we merged the positions of vice president for research and dean of the graduate school to form the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School (VPRGS). This structure is already bearing fruit through the use of VPRGS indirect costs (IDC) to develop the graduate certificate in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies (see 4), led by Drs. Dulcinea Lara and Nicholas Natividad in the Department of Criminal Justice.
- Cultivate new and increase existing resources to support graduate students.
In support of this action, VPRGS hired a research development specialist to assist faculty and students as they seek fellowships and dissertation grants. Please contact Research Administration Services when you next need help finding external support for graduate students. We will also work with the NMSU Foundation to seek gifts and endowments that support graduate programs.
- Align use of graduate assistantships with the teaching and research mission.
Last spring a graduate assistant (GA) task force was charged with creating principles and criteria to guide the allocation of funding for GAs. Their report will be shared with Provost Carol Parker, who will work with the VPRGS to implement the plan.
- Invest research indirect cost (IDC) to grow graduate enrollment and improve the quality of our graduate programs.
In addition to the above-mentioned graduate certificate in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies, $100,000 was added to the Graduate Assistant (GA) tuition scholarship fund.
- Foster and support graduate student enrollment in social sciences, humanities and creative arts.
VPRGS will strategically use GA funding to support growth of and success in our social sciences and humanities doctoral programs, which is key to achieving a Carnegie R1 ranking.
- Promote professional master’s degrees as value-added credentials for career advancement.
VPRGS recognizes that professional master’s degrees, particularly when delivered online, are key to growing overall graduate enrollment and, if properly incentivized, may financially support doctoral programs. Hence, VPRGS is prepared to invest in new professional master’s programs.
It will be our faculty, staff and students who achieve these goals, and it is heartening to note that for the first time in a long while, a large cohort of new faculty will join our ranks this fall. Please welcome them and work with them to achieve the goals of NMSU LEADS 2025.