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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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President reviews accomplishments, previews reorganization

President Jay Gogue reviewed accomplishments of his first six months at the university and previewed changes he proposes over the next six months during the spring convocation Jan. 4 in the Music Center Recital Hall.

He told the faculty and staff that he has learned "NMSU is an exceptional place" with a healthy academic and research climate, and "we thank you for that."

Since he joined NMSU July 1, he has expanded membership on Administrative Council to be "more inclusive"; clarified the working relationship between the Regents and the administration; and consulted with departments campuswide to "ask what we can do better."

As a result, financial processes, travel reimbursements and hiring should move more quickly in the new year. Other changes include improved leave policies for classified and professional staff.

Alumni staff have set a goal to increase the number of alumni chapters to 25 by June 30, and development staff are laying the groundwork for the state's largest ever comprehensive university fund-raising campaign.

Faculty and staff salary increases are NMSU's top priority in the upcoming legislative session and for several years to come.

"The one thing that threatens us most in the long haul is our ability to pay competitive salaries," said the president, who noted the university is at least 12 percent below peer institutions and in some cases as much as 30 to 35 percent behind.

During the next six months, the president has asked that several administrators form study groups to make recommendations in several areas. Interim Provost Tom Gale will assemble a group to consider consolidation of the vice presidencies for student affairs and for administration. Student Affairs Vice President Patricia Wolf has announced plans to retire in 2001.

Personnel Director Bob Howell has been asked to form a group to make recommendations on clarifying personnel and administrative policies and procedures manuals, which have become "confusing and contradictory."

Vice President Ben Woods has been asked to make recommendations on how NMSU allocates space on campus. He also will recommend how the university might manage its land resources more productively.

Assistant to the President Christina Chavez Kelley has been asked to chair a national search for a full-time legal counsel, possibly resulting in savings on outside legal fees. The president also has asked Chavez Kelley to focus her efforts full time on community relations activities.

A national search will be conducted this spring for a permanent vice president for advancement, which has "progressed greatly under (interim vice president) Joe Creed." University Communications will report to University Advancement under the reorganization.

Other changes under consideration: moving the Parking and Police operations, now reporting to Personnel, to a more appropriate administrative unit; moving the maintenance operation in the Housing Department to Facilities and Services.

The president said NMSU must move quickly on developing distance education programs, and he is open to suggestions on how to proceed.

Nena Singleton
Jan. 4, 2001