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NMSU president proposes 'new access point' to boost retention

How can a public research university like New Mexico State University maintain or raise its academic standards while fostering accessibility for all students?


NMSU President Michael Martin today proposed a "new access point" for students who have high potential, but who may have academic deficiencies or specific educational needs.

"I throw this out as a point of discussion," Martin told faculty and staff at the university's Spring Convocation. "There are several models around the country that we can build on or draw from, but I think it has to be New Mexico State-unique in the sense that we do have a unique population to serve."

Martin suggested a two-year transitional program for students with specific needs. Shared, at least initially, by the main NMSU campus in Las Cruces and the adjacent Dona Ana Branch Community College, the program would focus on:

? Student needs-specific advising and planning.

? Programs to improve study and learning skills.

? Small class sizes with individualized attention.

? Continuous tracking and monitoring of students by advisers and others.

? Basic general-education course offerings, to maximize long-term flexibility.

The program would likely include admission and orientation in the summer, he said, and students in the program would have all the privileges and rights of any NMSU student.

"It would be a new access point that would help us build our enrollment at the undergraduate level in ways that would broaden accessibility and improve retention," and it would free up more resources for upper division education and graduate education, he said.

"It is time for us to take up that mantle and figure out ways in which we can meet the demands of a high-standards, high-quality institution without losing our commitment to accessibility and retention."