Campus News - December 3, 2001

Faculty Senate mulls legislative priorities

By Carolyn Gonzales

Faculty Senate met recently. Both President William Gordon and Provost Brian Foster addressed the group.

Gordon reported that the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) requested that institutions revisit their priorities for the legislative session because of revenue short falls. The presidents of two and four year schools presented a revised plan, but CHE, Gordon says, had formulated their own recommendation.

The highest priority is full formula funding. “UNM stands to gain much more than any other institution in the state. This is the base of funding that supports everything we do,” said Gordon.

CHE is looking at a four percent salary increase, “This will keep us in a holding pattern in an effort to gain on our peer institutions,” Gordon said, adding that the University wanted at least five percent.

A CHE priority is to provide in-state support for summer school funding. Additionally, funding will be available to assist institutions addressing critical work force shortages of teachers and nurses. Gordon noted that UNM and TVI are working together so that prospective teachers who complete the two-year associate degree at TVI can readily transfer into the College of Education to complete teacher training.

Gordon noted the significance of institutional development efforts in light of the short falls, adding, “We are $.5 million over this time last year in our fundraising efforts.”

Provost Foster indicated that the searches for the Taos director and the graduate school dean are underway.

Of the strategic plan, Foster noted that the next phase is to develop a financial scenario for the plan. “Of the 240 tactics, 120 require little money or a minimal amount of cash one time only,” he said, adding that they are looking for money for those tactics requiring funding.

Foster announced a strategic international agenda, or a focus point for all international initiatives at the University. The agenda will be more global than just Latin American/Iberian and will be topical. He is creating a task force to determine what the initiative will be. A memo will be going out to all faculty and senior staff, he said.

He cited that the goal will be a plan or program that for example, fills a need, promotes a UNM strength or strengths, is affordable, provides a natural link with both graduates and undergraduates. “It will be an initiative we’re positioned to make a statement on – health, art, environment, culture. It will be an important contribution for the world to take notice of,” he said.

Human Resources Director Susan Carkeek spoke about health plan options. [The topic will be addressed in a HR column in the next issue of Campus News.]

College of Education (COE) Dean Viola Florez presented recommended changes in the COE organizational structure. The change proposes that academic divisions become departments, aligning the college with the academic units across campus.

Additionally, COE is aligning degree programs with the academic department that houses student files and degree programs. This will provide an efficient and cohesive way to advise and assist students, says Florez.

A discussion of honorary degrees was postponed due to loss of quorum.

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