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NMSU Regents hear updates from community college presidents

At a regular meeting Thursday, June 21, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents heard updates about its community college campuses.


New Mexico State University Alamogordo President Cheri Jimeno sitting at a table speaking to the Board of Regents.
New Mexico State University Alamogordo President Cheri Jimeno presents an update to the Board of Regents. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSU Alamogordo President Cheri Jimeno indicated that enrollment and completion will be high priorities in 2013. The Alamogordo campus also will have an onsite visit from the Higher Learning Commission in February 2013.

NMSU Carlsbad President John Gratton also discussed enrollment challenges including how enrollment works in correlation with the unemployment rates in their service area. He said new degree programs will be offered in Carlsbad this fall that will address workforce needs.

NMSU Dona Ana Community College President Margie Huerta said student success best practices and workforce development are central to the campus' strategic plan. NMSU DACC will host a Community College Round-Up in October.

Huerta also said that she was honored to have been selected to serve as a trustee for the College Board, a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,900 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. The 31-member Board of Trustees is the governing body of the College Board.

NMSU Grants President Felicia Casados discussed the improvements to the infrastructure of the campus and the difference the changes have made for the learning environment of the students. She also discussed reaching out to the service community of the campus to establish adult education centers and dual enrollment academies.

The board presented the Above & Beyond Award to Kim Huddleston, business manager for the President's Office, the Sr. Vice President for External Relations and University Communications and Marketing Services. The Above & Beyond Award recognizes full-time employees who go the extra distance in service to any and all aspects of the NMSU system. Individuals are recognized for performance that goes "above and beyond" their regular responsibilities and for demonstrating a positive attitude that inspires others.

In her role as business manager for this diverse group of departments, Huddleston manages funds from a wide range of sources including the Instruction and General Fund, the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Cooperative Extension Service, grants and donors. During difficult financial times, Huddleston helped each unit manage tight resources and find solutions despite reduced budgets. She also accepted the responsibilities of managing the budgets of four additional departments. With efforts to consolidate positions and restructure some departments, the President's Office, Sr. Vice President for External Relations and all their reporting units were added to her responsibilities.

One of Huddleston's strengths is her ability to manage budget challenges with a positive attitude, which helps develop employee good will despite difficult financial stress. Jeanne Gleason, who leads Media Productions, one of the University Communications and Marketing Services units that Huddleston manages budgets for, said, "Perhaps the biggest reason Ms. Huddleston deserves the Above and Beyond Award is the way she deals with unpleasant situations - times when she can't make everyone happy with the budget or when we all get difficult financial news. While many other business managers understandably might become defensive or remote, Ms. Huddleston takes the time-consuming approach of ensuring transparency and fairness mixed with sincere human compassion."

Maureen Howard, associate vice president for University Communications and Marketing Services, said, "Kim readily jumps in wherever needed, takes on more than her share and never says 'not my job.'"