APLU Annual Meeting
I spent the first part of the week at the APLU Annual Meeting. A major topic of discussion at the conference was the importance of nurturing a welcoming environment on university campuses and making cultural competence training available to all faculty, staff, and students. These and other issues related to diversity and inclusion on the NMSU campus will be the focus of the “Power of Not Yet” group that will meet in February of 2016.
The faculty senate met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Rule 1.10, which attempts to bring some order to the protocols by which NMSU System policies and administrative rules and procedures are reviewed and adopted. Faculty senators expressed concerns about the pathways and timing of the review process under the proposed rule. Faculty Senate Chair, Dr. Stuart Munson-McGee, will work with a small group of senators to revise the current draft of the rule to alleviate his concerns and those expressed by other senators. As I noted at the end of the meeting, it is important to understand that rule 1.10 is designed to provide processes by which policies, procedures, and rules developed outside the faculty senate can be considered by the faculty senate and other policy-making bodies. It will not change the processes of the faculty senate with regard to the development of policies that originate within the faculty senate.
Provosts Meeting with Secretary Barbara Damron
On Wednesday, the provosts of New Mexico’s universities met with Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron to discuss changing the state’s general education curriculum. Secretary Damron agreed with the provosts that the current general education curriculum has too great a focus on content and needs to be revamped so that there is a greater emphasis on the acquisition of transferable skills that are critical for lifelong learning. Secretary Damron also noted the need for the development of metamajors at our universities and community colleges, and the importance of fulfilling the legislative call for common course numbering among the state’s universities. We are planning a mid-January summit of all institutions of higher education in the state to discuss, and act on, all three needs.
The College Basketball Hall of Fame
At the end of the week, my wife, Jenifer, and I took some time off to travel to Kansas City, MO, to celebrate Coach Lou Henson’s induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Although all the inductees were worthy, the cheers for Coach Henson were by far the loudest and longest—a fitting tribute to a legendary coach. Lou and his wife, Mary, are true icons in New Mexico. It was wonderful to share this special moment with them, their family, and their many friends.