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NMSU leaders mentor students through shadowing opportunity with ASNMSU executive officers

Associated Students of New Mexico State University President Dustin Chavez joined NMSU President Garrey Carruthers at an early-morning meeting with the state?s Legislative Finance Committee audit staff on Oct. 9. This was the first of many shadowing opportunities in which student leaders participated throughout the month of October.


Two men standing with a horse
NMSU President Garrey Carruthers and ASNMSU President Dustin Chavez visit with a horse following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new therapeutic riding covered arena. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)
Three men standing
NMSU College of Business Dean James Hoffman (center) speaks with ASNMSU Director of Public Relations Isaac Marble (left) and College of Business Development Officer Steven Romero (right). (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

University leaders Carruthers, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Bernadette Montoya and College of Business Dean James Hoffman had the opportunity to mentor students and ASNMSU executive staff members Chavez, Vice President Katie Deaven and Director of Public Relations Isaac Marble.

Chavez?s day of shadowing Carruthers also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new therapeutic riding covered arena. Carruthers welcomed attendees and introduced Sen. Mary K. Papen and interim dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Jim Libbin.

The two presidents mingled separately with attendees, and together they observed and conversed about a therapeutic riding lesson demonstration.

The day concluded with a meeting with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales.

?Mentoring students is one of my top priorities and I?m confident Dustin Chavez?s experience helped him gain an appreciation for what we do in the President?s office and why we do it,? Carruthers said. ?Everyday we have opportunities to fulfill our promise that NMSU is a caring community transforming lives through discovery, and this is one more example.?

Chavez said the experience was definitely beneficial.

?Overall today was awesome,? Chavez said. ?What stood out to me was President Carruthers? mental agility. He is able to jump from fundraising to a general meeting to something else. He can go from one topic to another with little effort. His meetings are back-to-back, and he moves 24/7.?

However, the most important part of the experience may have been what occurred between scheduled activities.

?The meetings were what I expected, but there was a lot of mentoring between meetings and events,? Chavez said. ?Walking place-to-place today, President Carruthers gave me advice that will be beneficial in the future.?

A double major in accounting and finance, Chavez plans to attend law school upon graduation in May.

ASNMSU Vice President Katie Deaven spent the day shadowing NMSU Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Bernadette Montoya on Oct. 13.

The day began with a naming committee meeting followed by an administrative council meeting. Deaven and Montoya met with community college presidents before joining President Carruthers for lunch. The day concluded with a deans meeting.

Deaven, a philosophy and mathematics major, said it was an invaluable learning experience.

?I wanted to see what the higher administration does on a day-to-day basis. And I definitely got the big picture,? Deaven said. ?Unless you are following someone or watching what they do, you are not going to get the complete, full-circle idea. That was really cool for me to actually see that.?

Deaven will graduate in May 2017, and she plans to attend graduate school for philosophy. She has a new appreciation for the university?s administration.

?I think a lot of people don?t understand how hard administration works,? Deaven continued. ?I think that was cool for me to see that side of it. I really wish more students or faculty and staff knew about that and understood that there?s a lot that goes on and what people are trying to do to make this university better.?

While going from meeting to meeting, Deaven learned the importance of staying focused.

?The meetings we went to were drastically different, and there were just extreme things going on between the meetings,? Deaven said. ?You have to be able to separate meeting one from meeting three and not let whatever happens at the beginning of the day get to you by the end of the day or the parts in between.?

Montoya was reminded of the importance of the student perspective during her shadowing day with Deaven.

?It gave me some unique things to think about in terms of students,? Montoya said. ?We often sit around and make decisions for students and we forget their perspectives sometimes. It helps when we understand students from a little different perspective, where their interests lie, and what they plan to do with the degree they earn from here. Shadowing is a great opportunity for students to learn about us and for us to learn about them.?

Montoya also explained that the experience provided an opportunity for her and Deaven to relate to one another.

?We talked about the parallels that we have, both of us as vice presidents,? Montoya said. ?While they may be leadership roles in two different kinds of situations or organizations, there are a lot of things we have in common in those leadership roles.

?I think she was surprised at how we manage all of those different things, yet still have to maintain decorum and still have to remain professional and make hard decisions, quick decisions, that affect so many people all at one time. I think she learned some issues related to shared governance and what the faculty perspective is on that and how we try to honor that whole concept.?

Deaven made an impression on Montoya as well.

?She?s a full-time student getting excellent grades, serving in this leadership capacity for the university, she volunteers, and it makes me envious wishing I could relive those days myself,? Montoya said. ?I always enjoy the opportunity to get to know students better.?

ASNMSU Director of Public Relations Isaac Marble accompanied College of Business Dean James Hoffman on a day filled with Homecoming events. They started the morning off campus at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, where they checked in on preparations for a luncheon honoring scholarship recipients in the college.

Once they did some fine-tuning of the event plans, it was back to the Business Complex for meetings and a discussion of what a more typical day looks like for the dean.

After the luncheon at the museum, the afternoon was dominated by a reception for the college?s distinguished alumnus and a dinner honoring distinguished alums from across campus. It was a full day of eating and mingling, but Marble also sat in on a few meetings and interacted with some of his professors in a casual setting outside the classroom.

?A huge part of being the dean is your external presence in the community,? Hoffman said. ?That?s part of how you create value for the university. I thought this would be a great day for Isaac to get to see me do that, as opposed to sitting through a lot of meetings.?

Marble, a senior majoring in general business, is set to receive his commission as an Air Force officer next October. He said he learned a lot about leadership by observing how the dean interacts with faculty and staff in the college, seeking their input on decisions that affect them. Marble added that he was surprised by how many other duties make up a typical day.

?One of my key takeaways from the shadow day was how complicated and intricate the dean?s job is,? Marble said. ?I thought it was mainly sitting behind a desk dealing with personnel issues and academic things, but it?s really a broad spectrum of responsibilities ? you have interaction with the public, working with donors, determining needs within the college and then working on getting those needs met. It?s a critical part of what the dean does.?

For Hoffman, the day was an enjoyable opportunity to learn more about the student experience in his college.

?It is critical to stay in touch as a dean ? spending the day with Isaac was very enjoyable and informative,? Hoffman said. ?Overall it was a great day.?