On Tuesday morning an article on college student hunger in the Chronicle of Higher Education caught my attention and was a topic of conversation with Chancellor Carruthers later in the morning. The report was sobering…food insecurity (skipping meals or eating meals lacking in proper nutrition because of lack of money) is far higher among college students than among the general population, with Arizona State reporting a rate of 34% among its first year students. Given the income level of our students and their families, food insecurity is likely to be much higher at NMSU than at ASU. NMSU has tried to address the issue of food insecurity through the Aggie Cupboard, a place where students, faculty, and staff can pick up free, non-perishable food items. I encourage all faculty and staff to remember the Aggie Cupboard during the season of giving that is almost upon us. I will do my part by contributing to the Aggie Cupboard in lieu of giving some gifts this year, and I will work with Vice President Montoya to find better facilities for the Cupboard and to expand its hours.
Later on Tuesday, the first meeting of the General Education Taskforce took place. At this meeting, we went over the current general education requirements of NMSU and the state of New Mexico and discussed a variety of perspectives on general education. Over the course of the next month the taskforce will split into smaller committees, each tasked with developing recommendations for the transferable skills and content knowledge an NMSU education should impart to every one of its graduates. The taskforce will reassemble in December to consider the recommendations and which ones to accept. The next order of business will be the construction of a general education curriculum that, coupled with the curriculum of each of our majors, leads to learning outcomes critical for a college graduate in the 21st century.