Activity Report for Week of November 12 – November 18

  • I spent the first part of the week (November 14-16) at the University of Central Arkansas leading a Higher Learning Commission Site Visit Team.
  • On Thursday, I gave an hour and a half presentation on “Higher Education in the United States” to the Academy for Learning in Retirement. I began the talk with a brief history of higher education in the United States, before moving on to the role of the faculty in modern universities and how shared governance works.  I ended with a discussion of students and student debt.  I noted that concerns about student debt were sometimes overblown (especially in New Mexico where the cost of higher education is relatively low) and that student loans were, and continue to be, an important avenue by which students can invest in themselves and their future.
  • On Friday, I attended the Council of University Presidents Meeting in Albuquerque, where we discussed a variety of issues, including dual credit and general education. The Higher Education Department has proposed new rules for dual credit that attempt to bring some order to what is now a relatively unregulated environment.  I believe the new rules are reasonable and will improve the dual credit experience for our students.  However, some institutions are concerned that the new dual credit rules will put too many restrictions on student choice.  With regard to general education, there is strong support for the reform effort within the Council of University Presidents.  Nevertheless, one institution expressed concerns about the speed of the process and whether the proposed general education curriculum would be too complex for students to navigate. The concerns about speed were allayed by the assurance that the process would now slow down so that feedback can be gathered and considered from stakeholders across the state.
  • At the end of the day on Friday, I had the honor of giving a brief welcome at the Military Veterans Banquet. As the son of a career soldier, it was a privilege to relate some of my experiences growing up in a military family, and to recognize the service and sacrifice of the many military veterans who work for, and/or are enrolled as students at NMSU.

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