Earlier this week, Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Chris Brown sent out a white paper to the faculty of NMSU on beginning an Affiliate Faculty Program. This afternoon an updated version of the white paper was distributed to faculty by Dr. Janet Green on behalf of Team 6. As noted in the white paper, the purpose of the program is to encourage new interactions, relationships, and collaborations among our faculty. Under the program, tenured faculty are encouraged to become affiliate faculty in a second department and in so doing enrich their understanding of the discipline, become familiar with a new group of colleagues, and participate in new research and creative activities efforts sparked by new insights and new interactions.
Like most universities since the beginning of the 20th century, New Mexico State University is organized into departments that focus on one or a limited set of academic disciplines. Moreover, many of those departments are separated from one another in distinct buildings. The end result is a set of discrete communities, quite isolated from one another, in which faculty members often have little familiarity with faculty members outside their community and with the work being done in other departments.
Although the departmental model has served us well for more than a century, it is not conducive to building the collaborations necessary to address large complex problems such as climate change, sustainable agriculture in arid environments, and the evolution of human behavior. In order for NMSU to remain relevant as a research institution on the cutting edge of discovery and the translation of research findings, it is important to encourage new conversations and new collaborations among our faculty – the Affiliate Faculty Program is designed to do this.
I encourage all of you to read the Affiliate Faculty Program proposal and send your comments to Dr. Green at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also encourage you to attend the faculty forum on the proposal, which will take place in Yates Auditorium on Feb. 26 (3:30-5 p.m.). The conversation promises to be lively.
With all best wishes,