Activity Report from week of February 14 – February 20

Conroy Scholars

On February 15, I welcomed 11 of the top students in the region to New Mexico State University as part of an ongoing program to enroll more National Merit Finalists and National Hispanic Scholars at New Mexico State University. Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken and her staff do a wonderful job of organizing this day, and it was a great pleasure to kick off the day by describing the educational opportunities at NMSU, especially the many opportunities our students have to work directly with faculty members on research projects.

Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences Enrico Pontelli

On Wednesday Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Christa Slaton was reassigned to the position of Senior Administrator for the remainder of the spring semester. She will return to the faculty in the Department of Government when the semester ends. I am grateful to Dr. Slaton for her service to NMSU and to the College of Arts and Sciences. Much later in the day, Dr. Enrico Pontelli, a Regents Professor and Interim Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed to serve as interim dean of the college. I look forward to working with Dr. Pontelli to serve the needs of our students and faculty and further the growth and positive development of the college.

Sun-News Publisher

On Thursday morning, a team from NMSU including the Chancellor and me, briefed Rynni Henderson, the new publisher of the Las Cruces Sun-News, on NMSU. The Chancellor gave a broad overview of the university, while I focused on our academic programs. After the briefing, we took Ms. Henderson to lunch at the Fulton Center where we learned more about her background. She is from New Orleans but has traveled extensively, including a memorable stint in the Florida Keys.


Advisors and Academic Associate Deans met on Friday to group the undergraduate majors at NMSU into a limited number of meta-majors. After much discussion that focused on a preliminary list of meta-majors prepared by Dr. Jennifer Hodges, we settled on eight meta-majors:

  • Business
  • Science and Engineering
  • Behavioral
  • Communication and Expressive Arts
  • Applied Health
  • Teacher Education
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences and Humanities

First-year degree plans are now under construction for each meta-major.

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