Extended University-Taos strives to meet community needs
By Carolyn Gonzales
UNM-Extended University-Taos, with classrooms located at the new Klauer campus facility on the outskirts of Taos, was formerly a component of UNM-North offering upper-division programs in Taos, Santa Fe and Los Alamos. It is now one of Extended University’s centers administered by UNM Vice Provost Jerónimo Domínguez.
|Mary Lutz, Gary Cook and Norah Flatley-Lovell of Taos. Photo by Gina Vigil.
Other Extended U sites are in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Farmington, Gallup, UNM West, Valencia County and at Kirtland Air Force Base.
“The Extended University’s mission is to create access to UNM’s main campus programs. Our centers are critical in reaching out and supporting students in their communities,” said Domínguez.
Mary Lutz, M.F.A., operations manager for the program, has been a UNM employee in Taos for 11 years, following three years at UNM’s main campus where she worked at the Tamarind Institute.
Because branch campuses offer 100 and 200 level courses, they receive a state appropriation as well as tax support to keep tuition down.
Extended University, because it offers upper division and graduate level programs, follows main campus guidelines for its online, live, correspondence and satellite courses.
“We have a good relationship with the branch campus, UNM-Taos, as well as with main campus in Albuquerque,” Lutz said.
During fall semester, Taos Extended U had 176 students. Live coursework includes the interdisciplinary requirements of the bachelor’s in university studies, including social sciences, art and art history, art studio, health education, Spanish, anthropology, psychology, language, literacy and socio-cultural studies and women’s and American studies. Online, independent study and correspondence courses provide students with access to upper-division and graduate-level courses.
UNM-Extended U-Taos offers a BUS degree on site and master’s degrees in public administration and educational leadership via satellite.
Extended U-Taos administrators, faculty and staff are interested in expanding programs to meet the needs of the community.
“We have many teachers in the Taos Valley who are professionals looking to upgrade their skills, particularly to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind,” Lutz said.
Teachers are also requesting coursework to earn the English as a Second Language endorsement and bilingual certification.
“Extended U-Taos needs to offer master’s degrees programs in education in response to community needs,” Dominguez said.
Lutz said that family and jobs keep Taos Valley residents from being able to attend UNM in Albuquerque. She suggests that UNM could create cohort programs to make the teacher training programs available in Taos.
Extended U-Taos has graduated 187 students with baccalaureate degrees.
“We know we could do more,” Lutz said.
Meanwhile, the UNM-Taos branch features an extensive art curriculum.
Gary Cook, program director for the school’s Arts Academy, said they offer 27 art classes per semester taught by 16 instructors.
“In some classes, 80 percent of the students are professional artists,” Cook said. The program allows high school students, local budding artists and professionals to work side-by-side. “We have a 72-year-old woman creating art. Her work is exhibited in a major gallery,” he said.
Included in the school’s Arts Academy is music, theater, dance and media arts. Norah Flatley-Lovell, head of the academy, said that the arts program is tremendous, but could be better.
“Painting, drawing and ceramics are progressing well. Photography could grow. We hope to expand our photography program to include a digital emphasis. We have the students, space and faculty. What we need is additional resources,” she said.