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NMSU's first Hispanic summit addresses leadership roles

From middle school students to doctorate-level students, to community and state leaders, the wide representation at New Mexico State University's Hispanic Faculty/Staff Caucus' First Leadership Summit focused on the importance of leadership.



New Mexico State University Board of Regents Vice Chair Chris Anaya meets with his great-uncle, former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, during NMSU's first Hispanic Faculty Staff Caucus March 15 at the Corbett Center. Gov. Anaya spoke to the group about the importance of leadership and gave an update on the status of stimulus funding to New Mexico. He leads the state's Office of Recovery and Reinvestment. Regent Anaya and Regent Javier Gonzales were panelists who explored "Developing Tomorrow's Hispanic Leaders." (NMSU photo by Darrell Pehr)

The summit, which took place Monday, March 15, at Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium, allowed each of the NMSU campuses to share data that qualified each of the five campuses as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

"It was good to see the representation that went all across the board and to exchange ideas on how to mentor students to become leaders," said Christina Chavez-Kelley, HFSC vice-chair.

At the summit, NMSU President Barbara Couture spoke about influential mentors who played a role in how she became a leader. Former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya shared a similar story.

Anaya also announced that roughly $500 million of federal stimulus money will be headed to southern New Mexico, including close to $6 million to NMSU.

"The focus during these trying times needs to be on leadership," said Viola Fuentes, HFSC chair. "Key policy makers spoke about leadership and this is going to influence students to pursue leadership roles."

Panelists entertained questions from participants that included the relevance of diversity and cultural awareness professional development for faculty, the value of offering pre-training for students enrolled in distance education courses and the need to more effectively address the learning needs of ESL degree-seeking students, among other things.

Funding for the summit was provided by NMSU's Office of the Provost, NMSU's Office of Outreach and Engagement, NMSU's Chicano Programs, Dona Ana Community College and Maria Lagarretta, a parent of one of the summit's panelists.

"It was great to see people come together and say 'yes we can,'" Chavez-Kelley said. "There was such positive energy at all levels."

The HFSC will present the administration with a report that includes outcome assessment recommendations based on discussions at the summit. The HFSC plans to build on this year's event in the planning process for next year. Pictures of the event can be viewed at the Caucus website.