Monday and Tuesday of the past week were dominated by four general education input sessions held in Carlsbad, Portales, Las Cruces, and Silver City. The dominant concern expressed at the Portales and Las Cruces sessions was the reduction in the number of required communication courses from three to two. Many faculty members who spoke underlined the importance of a third communication course and the need for this to be a statewide requirement rather than being left to the discretion of individual institutions of higher education.
At the General Education Certification subcommittee meeting held on Wednesday, much of the discussion focused on learning outcome rubrics and how they should be used by faculty planning and teaching general education courses. It is clear that some of the most important work still ahead of the statewide steering committee is offering guidance on the purpose of the rubrics and how to use them.
The Chancellor and I had a breakfast meeting with the Regents Professors on Thursday morning. These twice a year meetings are very important to both the Chancellor and me, as they allow us to directly communicate with some of our most distinguished faculty members. I focused my comments on the work of Team Six and how to break down silos and encourage greater interdisciplinary collaborations at NMSU. The idea that senior faculty members should be encouraged to develop affiliations with more than one department was favorably received. The idea of consolidating departments was more contentious, with concerns expressed about how to handle promotion and tenure in departments that house more than one discipline and effects on morale should the decision about consolidation be too top-down. It is clear that thoughtful consultation with affected colleges and departments will be essential before any decisions are made.