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Campus News
     
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
April 19, 2004
Volume 39, Number 14

‘Good start’ result of successful summit


A message from UNM President Louis Caldera

CalderaCONGRATULATIONS to everyone who participated in the first-ever University of New Mexico Budget Summit. You showed what the UNM community can do when it commits itself to confronting our challenges and articulating the aspirations we have for our institution.

More than 300 people came to Rodey Theatre April 1 to learn about and share their perspectives on UNM’s critical budget challenges. Six members of UNM’s Board of Regents spent the day with us, as did several members of the Finance Committee of the New Mexico State Legislature. Other leaders in state finance and higher education made presentations, as did many UNM staff members, on the issues at hand.

GPSA representatives speak at the Budget Summit help April 1.Most important, the summit delegates who represented faculty, staff, administration, alumni and UNM students responded with thoughtfulness, candor and courage. Everyone had clearly done their homework and worked hard to understand the complex issues facing the university. Groups that might have had competing interests in the university’s budget were respectful of each other’s positions. I was especially impressed with the students – with their maturity and creativity, with their understanding of the relationship between their tuition and the overall university budget, and most of all with their willingness to invest in the quality of their own educations.

Out of this month-long process has come a consensus recommendation to the Board of Regents to raise resident tuition and fees by 12.8 percent, and compensation levels by 5 percent. This will allow us to make a good start on the strategic initiatives we have been discussing in the areas of improving our core educational mission, raising our competitive position, upgrading our facilities and information technology systems, and expanding our ability to provide educational access to all qualified students. We can all be proud of the steps we have taken and the goals we have set for ourselves.

By the time you read this, the final regents’ action will have brought this year’s “summit” to a conclusion. For a few moments we should allow ourselves to stand at the top and enjoy the view. Then it will be time to begin scaling other peaks that will also require our candor, courage and willingness to risk new ways of doing things. The Budget Summit proved we have all those qualities in abundance and showed what we can accomplish when we come together around our common goal of making UNM a greater university. I am eager to see what the next vistas will show us.