Notes from the week

January 25, 2019

In today’s communication, I will talk about some news from around campus — there is a lot going on — and then present some themes that are emerging from the work we have been doing on strategic planning, which will be part of the Board of Regents meeting Monday in Santa Fe.

Former NMSU faculty member Dr. Sean Rogers was in town Monday to deliver the keynote address at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, hosted by the Doña Ana County Branch of the NAACP. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Rogers reminded the audience of Dr. King’s support for striking workers and of his efforts to help all people who are struggling. Provost Mason and I were joined by a delegation of our fine students.

On Tuesday, our College of Engineering hosted President Chen Guangting and other distinguished visitors from Taizhou University, an engineering school in China with particular strengths in civil and manufacturing engineering. NMSU’s College of Engineering is working with Taizhou University in opening channels for their graduates to study at NMSU.

This was also the first “experimental” week for scooters on campus, and although there have been some problems with keeping the scooters in service, the scooters should be back soon. Just a reminder: scooters are not for everyone! Be safe out there.

Each of the news items above reinforces aspects of our land-grant mission as an educational institution, engaging students academically, in campus life, and in the community. These ideas will be embodied in the presentation that Chancellor Arvizu and I will make at the Board of Regents meeting.

NMSU’s mission is built on research, creative activity, outreach, and extension. These are worthy endeavors in and of themselves, but the greatness of a land-grant university happens when these efforts are closely integrated into an educational mission. Students learn to direct their own intellectual and creative futures by working with our world-class faculty, and through research, outreach and service, we bring our innovations from our labs and classrooms to our communities.

This thinking has led us to conclude there are two important milestones for NMSU to achieve. First, we need to be a top university in promoting success and social mobility for all of our students, and second, we need to be recognized as a top Carnegie Research Classification (R1) institution. Universities that excel in social mobility take underrepresented students – students who are low income, first generation, or who are members of a minority group – and prepare them for a better future and life-long success. Social mobility is especially important in a state with low per capita income and low educational attainment, and it is important for a state seeking to diversify a narrow economic base. The other milestone, achieving top Carnegie Research Classification, will also improve social mobility: students who engage in research and creative activity are better prepared to shape a future that addresses the great global challenges we all face. This synergy is best achieved at a land-grant university, where research and creative activity inform our outreach and service, and integrate into our teaching to improve the lives of our students.

As always, I welcome your thoughts. Please send comments to

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