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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU, UNM pledge cooperation on programs, legislative initiatives

In an historic gathering in Las Cruces on September 9, the Board of Regents of New Mexico State University hosted the Board of Regents of the University of New Mexico to talk business and pledge cooperation.

tic of the collaborative spirit referred to often in the meeting, both boards unanimously approved the Cooperative Pharmacy program, which seeks to remove the shortage of pharmacists in southern New Mexico - currently at half the national average. The collaborative six-year program will feature joint recruitment of students from the largely rural south who would attend NMSU for two years, UNM for the next three years and then finish their last year of work at NMSU, doing pharmacy rotations in Las Cruces.

The proposed $516,250 budget for Cooperative Pharmacy would fund 10 students and includes $150,000 in scholarships. Both boards pledged to put the program on their lists of legislative priorities and work together to seek the funding from the 2007 legislature.

"This pharmacy program represents a new spirit of cooperation between the two largest universities in the state," said NMSU Regents President Steven Anaya. "While we remain competitive on the athletic field, we are committed to building strong partnerships in the classroom. Our goal is to focus our combined resources to the best advantage of our students."

UNM Regents President Jamie Koch predicted that NMSU programs, such as Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, will soon be taught on the UNM campus. He too stressed the importance of collaboration. "It is good for students to have both access to and availability of these programs," said Koch.

The boards endorsed creation of a task force of representatives from UNM, NMSU and Central New Mexico Community College to develop the academic framework for UNM's proposed full-service campus in Rio Rancho.

UNM acting president David Harris told regents of plans for a design workshop this fall to begin work on a master plan for the Rio Rancho campus, which will be in the projected future center of Rio Rancho. "The UNM campus will be an anchor site, so the commitment is to plan a campus where everyone will be happy to work and visit," said Harris.

The regents also approved joint support of several legislative initiatives as they discussed issues facing higher education in the state. Among them is a move to increase the number of, and funding for, an increase in graduate assistantships. They also agreed the funding formula through which money is allocated to the schools should reflect the different challenges faced by the research universities.

"It's important for the state to know that the large research universities in New Mexico play in a different arena and face different market forces than other colleges," NMSU President Michael Martin told the regents. "We are competing with universities such as Georgia Tech and Michigan State. The policies must reflect that."

Mary A. Benanti
Sept. 11, 2006