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Leading & Reinvigorating NMSU’s International and Border Programs

Seven months into my role as your Provost, I am more inspired than ever by the privilege of leading Academic Affairs.  I look forward to working to reinvigorate and strengthen our initiatives to globalize our curriculum, research and outreach missions, under the banner of NMSU LEADS 2025. Innovation in this area will enhance NMSU’s reputation, visibility, and reach, while potentially growing new resources to further strengthen the NMSU system.

In September of 2019, I announced that I intended to take both short-term and long-term steps to ensure that programs related to international and border initiatives have strong support and leadership moving forward. At that time, we had a leadership vacancy in our International and Border Programs office (IBP), and our long-term strategy for advancing initiatives to globalize our curriculum, research and outreach missions needed to evolve in concert with the new strategic plan. To address immediate needs and to better align offices and services with NMSU’s leadership structure, I retained oversight of the academic aspects of our international programming and moved student support and co-curricular programs to Student Success. The programs moved to Student Success last fall included Education Abroad, International Student and Scholar Services, the Passport Office, and International Student organizations. This provided international students with a single point of contact for recruitment, admissions, advising and co- curricular support. I have continued to consult with the academic stakeholders regarding our current and future leadership needs. We are now ready to move forward with several new strategies.

Today, I am announcing the creation of a community of practice called Beyond Borders.The non-hierarchical administrative structure of a community of practice will provide (1) member mentorship, (2) support for project incubation, and (3) convening, coalescing, communication, and clearinghouse functions for work that focuses on international, hemispheric and border regions. In alignment with the LEADS 2025 Global Challenge, “Healthy Borders,” the Beyond

Borders community of practice will support faculty and staff who are interested in creating a self- supporting community around interdisciplinary internationalization of the curriculum, research/creative works, and community engagement and extension. The implementation of a supported community of practice is a relatively new concept at NMSU, developed through convenings and discussions throughout the Fall 2019 semester. The Beyond Borders community of practice will receive programming and logistical support from the Provost’s Office as well as the Office of the Vice President for Research, and will work with the research office to secure externally funded contracts and grants to facilitate and incubate initiatives that will become financially self-sustainable. Its base of operations will be the Nason House. I encourage anyone working on matters related to international, hemispheric and border regions to join the Beyond Borders community of practice. If this approach is successful, NMSU will develop additional supported communities of practice to focus on other LEADS 2025 Global Challenges.

To lead the initiative, I will soon launch a search to identify and appoint a Faculty Fellow who will report to the Provost’s Office and serve as the founding leader, convener and faculty administrator for the Beyond Borders initiative. This quarter-time faculty administrator will work closely with faculty and academic leaders from across NMSU and with members of the external community. I will announce when the posting is open and expect to be seeking nominations and applications in the very near future.

In addition, I will soon launch a search to find and appoint a second, quarter-time Faculty Fellow who will serve as the leader, convener and faculty administrator for a newly reinvigorated Center for Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS). The Center’s mission will be focused on promoting excellence in scholarship, research and creative works on topics and issues concerning Latin America, the US-Mexico border, and border studies generally. This work will include supporting the creation of symposia and events within colleges and academic programs to promote and foster CLABS initiatives; hosting at least one academic symposium or conference at NMSU each year featuring scholars in related fields; and providing support and mentorship for NMSU scholars, including faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, who seek to publish in topically related literature.  The Center’s priorities will be shaped with the assistance of a Faculty Advisory Committee, chaired by the newly appointed Faculty Fellow, with representatives from each NMSU college. The Center will continue to operate out of the Nason House, and its work will complement that of the Beyond Borders community of practice.

Academic services that will continue to be administered by the Provost’s Office include: (1) oversight and approval of all international academic agreements and related memoranda of understanding; and (2) approval for international travel. Cindy Garrett, who had worked for the former IBP director, now works in my office and will assist me in overseeing this work.

Services that that will no longer be centrally supported include English language testing and tutoring. A review of current practices across the Las Cruces campus showed that the majority of testing was being administered directly by the academic programs, and English language tutoring can be more efficiently accomplished by referring students to qualified tutors instead of maintaining an administrative structure to operate a fee-for-service system. Our webpages will soon be reworked to reflect this information.

I look forward to continuing to work 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, the new Beyond Borders community of practice, and the reinvigorated Center for Latin American and Border Studies!

Carol Parker

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


Leading and Invigorating NMSU's International Border Programs (PDF)