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NMSU Regents hear an update on Carlsbad campus

CARLSBAD, N.M. - At a regular meeting Monday, Oct. 15, in Carlsbad, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents heard updates on the NMSU Carlsbad campus and fall enrollment and student affairs systemwide.

NMSU Carlsbad President John Gratton sitting at a table speaking to the Board of Regents.
New Mexico State University Carlsbad President John Gratton presents an update to the Board of Regents. (NMSU Photo by Khushroo Ghadiali )

NMSU Carlsbad President John Gratton discussed many activities that are ongoing at the Carlsbad campus.

"There are some great things happening here," he said, including fall enrollment results, which reflect a record enrollment for the campus, an 18.1 percent increase from fall last year. One change that impacted the enrollment was the addition of online courses, specifically nursing prerequisites.

Gratton said the campus is looking at options for engineering programing that has been identified as a need in the area, as well as a health information technology program and surgical technician program, both of which are on track to start in 2013.

Gratton said workforce development programming is critical at the Carlsbad campus including broadening the welding program, in fact they are looking at becoming a welding certification testing site. Other programs under consideration are fire technology and cosmetology. The campus also is looking at options for building a childcare center along with a program in child development.

The NMSU Carlsbad Nursing program is fully accredited until 2018 and no issues have been identified for the program. Gratton said he is particularly proud that all members of the faculty have at least a master's in nursing.

Finally, Gratton addressed energy conservation measures on the campus, including the replacement of classroom and hallway lighting and planning for an energy management system.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Bernadette Montoya gave an update on enrollment and student affairs. Her systemwide enrollment overview indicated there was a slight decrease at the Las Cruces campus for both undergraduate and graduate students as of census day data in September, although she said enrollment was still fluid. She specifically commended the Carlsbad campus for their efforts and growth.

She discussed the entering student cohort, explaining that the entering student cohort is a full-time, degree-seeking student who is accessing higher education for the first time. The incoming students are coming to NMSU with higher ACT scores and GPAs.

Montoya addressed retention and graduation rates, indicating that the Las Cruces campus retention is up a little at 72 percent, and NMSU continues to see an increase in both the four-year and six-year graduation rates.

She also reviewed some enrollment management initiatives including a program called the Graduation Project that will reach out to former students who are very close to graduation to identify how NMSU might be able to assist them to complete their degree programs.

The board presented the Above & Beyond Award to Ron Girmus, a biology professor at NMSU Carlsbad. 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.

Girmus' areas of expertise are anatomy and physiology. He also serves as chair of the Assessment Committee and serves on the Academic Quality Improvement Program Committee.

In making the nomination, Gratton said, "Dr. Girmus is always willing to accept additional responsibilities if the need arises. He takes full accountability for ensuring that his tasks are completed in a timely fashion and in an extremely competent manner. He continually exhibits a sincere level of dedication to both NMSU Carlsbad and to NMSU."

Mark Buckholtz, interim vice president for academic affairs at NMSU Carlsbad, added, "Dr. Girmus is an able and respected teacher, expert in his knowledge of his discipline, a recent recipient of the Roush Award, and a key contributor to the continued excellence of NMSU Carlsbad's Science Department. But, over and above these accomplishments and qualities, I recommend Dr. Girmus because of his important work for the college during the last year in assessment and accreditation."