Creating a New College and Research Center at New Mexico State University

Update: College proposal to go before NMSU Board of Regents

April 9, 2021

In January, NMSU Provost Carol Parker proposed that a new NMSU college be created by merging the administrative leadership of the current College of Health and Social Services, College of Education and Sociology Department to create the College of Health, Education and Social Transformation. The merger will positively position the academic units involved for much future success, not only in terms of NMSU’s student success goals, but also our research and outreach goals.  
 
Per NMSU’s current policies, the Academic Deans Council and the Faculty Senate issue recommendation on new college proposals. On April 1, the NMSU Faculty Senate decided not to recommend to the NMSU Board of Regents that the regents approve the new college proposal. The university administration is disappointed that the Faculty Senate took this position, especially given that the faculty in the academic units involved voted in the Faculty Senate’s survey in support of the merger, 60 to 30; the Faculty Senate’s Scholastic Affairs Committee recommended approval in March; and the Academic Deans unanimously voted in support last January. 
 
NMSU remains committed to continuing the process. Per NMSU’s policy, the next step will be to put the proposal before the Board of Regents, which has the final decision-making authority. Of course, the board will consider the Senate’s position, as well as the position of others who made earlier recommendations, but contrary to what you may have heard or read, the Faculty Senate does not have unilateral power to veto the proposal. The final decision-making authority clearly lies with the Board of Regents. 
 
The proposal could be presented to the board at its next regular board meeting, which is currently scheduled for May 14.

 

Goal:  Repositioning Health, Education, Social Services, and Social Sciences disciplines for Maximum Impact and Future Growth.

Proposal:  Administratively combine the separately administered colleges of Education, Health and Social Services, and potentially some of the Social Sciences, into a single, new college.  The current placeholder name for the proposed college is:  The College of Health, Education and Social Transformation (HES).  Several separately administered academic departments within these units could also be combined to create thematic schools.  A complementary research institute would also be established. 

A new college and research institute which supports these disciplines has the potential for increasing collaboration when related disciplines are organized together and may provide a promising structure for interdisciplinary work. This re-organization could be designed with the intent to break any existing silos and encourage groups of similar interests to identify additional and more in-depth opportunities. A properly designed organizational structure that emphasizes new processes and resources could be more effective than existing organizations in recognizing and rewarding interdisciplinary work. There is potential for the hiring of new faculty.  Students could more clearly see how they are able to work across disciplinary divides. More faculty working together in an environment that magnifies and supports similar discipline subject areas, research interests, and specializations could lead to additional outreach.

The establishment of schools with an underlying thematic element could consolidate disciplines that are currently fragmented across multiple smaller units, providing them with a stronger voice, a greater potential of having an influence on institution-wide priorities, and greater potential to secure resources (internally and externally). This could also improve visibility of work performed within such schools.

Frequently Asked Questions Faculty Town Hall

Current Status

A formal Proposition, #14/20-21, has been submitted to the Faculty Senate (see link below).  Please also follow the Faculty Senate’s website for details.  If the Senate approves the Proposition, it will go before the Board of Regents.

Since announcing the aspiration to create a new college in August 2020, Provost Parker has used a variety of strategies to obtain input and assure robust participation from the academic units involved in the process of evaluating the proposal.

A task force was charged with collecting input from the NMSU Community with respect to the suggestion that NMSU administratively combine several academic units within the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Social Services division; Education; and Health and Social Services, in order to create a new College. Feedback was collected using small working groups, listening sessions, surveys, etc. and included: Input on the opportunities and challenges the proposal presents; potential names of the new college; and ideas for how to improve upon the concept if possible. The Task Force's report is available in the Supporting Materials section. 

Faculty Town Hall, jointly sponsored by the Provost's Office and Faculty Senate, was held on November 5, 2020. 

In January of 2021, prior to preparing the formal Proposition, the Provost asked the faculty and staff from the academic units involved to vote on various aspects of the proposal to express their preferences. This was accomplished via a Ranked Choice Voting process, with all employees in the involved academic units invited to vote. 

Governing policies include ARP 2.15. The sole authority to ultimately approve this organizational structure rests with the NMSU Board of Regents (RPM 4.0, C.). It is anticipated that the Proposition could come before the Regents in March of 2021. 

Supporting Materials