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New Mexico State University

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NMSU regents hold historic meeting with community college leaders

In a historic session, the New Mexico State Board of Regents met Thursday for the first time with the leadership of NMSU's two-year colleges to discuss the distinct role those campuses play in the state's higher education system.


Also under discussion were the challenges those institutions face as they seek to provide outreach to communities across New Mexico and serve as key components in the economic development of the state.

"This is the continuation of an important dialogue. We have heard in recent days that the state faces a real workforce shortage," said board president M. Steven Anaya, who brought together the attendees. "Our community college campuses play a key role in the development of the state's future workforce as well as providing a venue for the university to deliver upper division courses that help complete degrees."

The community colleges have about 11,000 students in credit programs and about 10,000 more in classes such as adult basic education, small business development and community education. The average student is between 27 and 29 and is already working.

The meeting with the executive officers and advisory boards of the community colleges is part of an ongoing effort to increase the dialogue and build stronger programs among the NMSU main campus and campuses around the state.

The agenda included an overview of the community colleges and discussions of individual campus issues ranging from faculty salaries to accreditation to institutional planning.

Executive Vice President and Provost William Flores said, "This meeting reflects our commitment to our community colleges and to developing a system that best meets the needs of our students and ensures student success."

Another discussion covered the topic of how students move from the two-year to the four-year campus.

Sharon Wooden, member of the NMSU Dona Ana advisory board and president of Las Cruces Public Schools, noted, "It is important that the role of the community colleges be understood and protected in enabling students to make the transition to college."

The group outlined 11 functions of the community colleges, but noted the list was not complete.

"The significant growth at our community college campuses shows their importance in meeting students' needs," Anaya said. "Everyone involved deserves recognition for developing relevant programs that reach the diverse populations of our state.

"I am pleased that the leadership was able to come together to discuss business and ways we can continue important collaborations. My goal is to build on the strength of previous efforts and identify new ways to answer the needs of the community."