As your Provost, I am excited by the prospect of leading Academic Affairs, under the banner of NMSU LEADS 2025, to reinvigorate and strengthen initiatives to globalize our curriculum, research and outreach missions. Innovation in this area will enhance NMSU’s reputation, visibility, and reach, while potentially growing new resources to further strengthen the NMSU system.
NMSU’s Office of International and Border Programs (IBP), which reports to my office, currently consists of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies, the Center for English Language Programs, the Confucius Institute, Education Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, and the Passport Office. The IBP office also reviews and assists with authorizing international travel and developing and overseeing international academic agreements.
IBP currently has a leadership vacancy. I will be taking both short-term and long-term steps to ensure that all programs related to international and border initiatives have both strong support and leadership moving forward.
Long-term, the NMSU LEADS 2025 strategic plan provides new avenues to pursue, and new ways to think about how we develop and deliver international and border programs. It also emphasizes the need for collaboration across all campuses and units to achieve our goals.
Several new efforts are already underway that seek to do just that. One is the grassroots effort led by the NMSU Office of Strategic Initiatives under the umbrella of ‘healthy border issues’ – one of the NMSU LEADS 2025 Strategic Plan’s Global initiatives. Deploying the collective impact strategy known as Strategic Doing (https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/13568/nmsu-launches-strategic-doing-training-for-collaborative-action), this initiative seeks to accelerate innovation across organizational and political boundaries.
On September 10th I attended the fourth convening of the healthy border initiative, which currently consists of approximately 40 individuals from across our institution. Many of these individuals are active in current internationalization efforts; others are new to these efforts and are attracted by the possibility of growing support for such efforts in the future. The healthy borders initiative is an example of NMSU’s ongoing efforts to develop a more functional border ecosystem in all respects: educational, economic, social, environmental, and public health, etc. There is room for all in this big tent. The conversation was stimulating, and I urge you to attend future convening if you are interested in international and border programs. It is my hope that the strategic planning process results in an ambitious vision for renewed emphasis on globalization of our programs in the future. Initiatives like this have great potential to provide new ways for us to think about identifying, organizing and supporting international and border projects in the future.
Given that such conversations are actively underway in a number of places across the campus, it is imprudent to fill the leadership vacancy in IBP until our long-term strategy for advancing initiatives to globalize our curriculum, research and outreach missions becomes clearer. I have consulted with the academic deans and several other stakeholders regarding our current and future leadership needs and will continue to do so as the conversation broadens.
In the interim, I will continue to oversee international academic programs, but I plan to take steps in the short-term to address some current challenges.
First, revenue to support growth of international and border programs is essential, especially regarding Mexico. NMSU enjoys many relationships and commitments to collaboration in Mexico, and right now many of these remain under- or un-funded. I plan to create a grant-writing position to seek revenue to support programs that will become sustainable with time.
Second, student support and co-curricular programs will move to Student Affairs and Enrollment management, where they will benefit from the strong leadership provided by Dr. Renay Scott, Vice President for Student Success (VPSS). This includes Education Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, and the Passport Office. This will provide students with one point of contact for recruitment, admissions and advising support. Education Abroad fits well with other experiential learning efforts under VPSS oversight. IBP has also been active with International Student Organizations, and those important support activities will fit well within Student Success.
Third, the remainder of the IBP programs will continue to report to Academic Affairs through my direct reports. Confucius Institute will be overseen by Dean Enrico Pontelli of Arts and Sciences; the Center for Latin American and Border Studies and the Center for English Language Programs will temporarily report through Deputy Provost Greg Fant. He will also assist with the IBP function of authorizing international travel and overseeing international academic agreements.
I look forward to working together with all of you to shape the future of NMSU’s international and border programs as we move forward with implementing the NMSU LEADS 2025 strategic plan!
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
New Mexico State University