Promotion and Tenure Reception
This year, more than 75 faculty members from across the NMSU system were tenured and/or promoted, and we celebrated their accomplishments at a reception held last Tuesday, May 3. It was a great pleasure to acknowledge their accomplishments and to encourage all of them, especially those who are newly tenured, to take some risks with their scholarship and teaching.
General Education Statewide Steering Committee
The General Education Statewide Steering Committee met on Thursday, May 5, in Socorro to begin planning a General Education Curriculum centered on essential skills rather than content. The two hours of discussion were lively and focused on a variety of questions ranging from whether every university should require a first year course, in which essential skills are introduced, to how we go about ensuring transferability of general education courses. Prior to our next meeting, a subset of the steering committee will come together to discuss the introduction of essential skills during the first year of coursework. As for the next meeting, which will be 3-4 hours in length, rather than two hours, we will break into smaller groups to consider the question of how many credits should be associated with general education and how essential skills should interface with content areas.
Faculty Senate and Furloughs
Later on Thursday, I attended the last NMSU Faculty Senate meeting of the year. At the beginning of the meeting, I gave a short presentation on the 2017 budget and our ongoing efforts to identify $10.7 million in savings. I did not provide a comprehensive overview of the budget cutting process; instead, I focused on the Transforming NMSU into a 21st Century University re-organization effort and the savings that should be realized by reducing levels of management at NMSU, especially in our administrative units. This is a process that is best implemented through attrition of employees, which, given the typical pace of resignations, retirements, and promotions at NMSU, could occur relatively quickly, but not over the course of a single year. When fully realized, the reorganization of administrative units is expected to save millions of dollars on an annual basis. Our need, however, is for immediate savings and one of our challenges is to identify temporary solutions that will provide some of the necessary savings while the Transforming NMSU process plays out. Among the temporary solutions that are being considered is three furlough days in the 2016-2017 academic year. I noted that furlough days are only one potential solution, and that I am seeking feedback on this option. Please send your comments and concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.