Aug. 18, 2020 Update from President Wells
New Mexico Tech Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome to the beginning of a new academic year, one filled with promise and apprehension. To our new and returning students, as members of the New Mexico Tech’s community, you stand at the threshold of another significant step in your academic journey. I’m excited for the ingenuity, intellect, and work ethic you bring to our campus. More importantly, as an institution, we’re every bit as enthusiastic to provide you with the education, support, council, and guidance that our institution is renowned for nationally. As students, you are either launching or progressing towards one of the most valuable college degrees in the nation due to the exceptional professional and personal efforts of our faculty and staff.
Unlike any other academic year for nearly a century, we start this academic in a global pandemic. By now you are all very well aware of the numerous protocols our university has implemented to protect the wellbeing of everyone in our campus community, available on our COVID-19 Page. I use the word community precisely because we are indeed a community, and we are all in this together. These protocols are in place because they protect not only you but also those around you. All of these precautions are guided by science and are critical to our university enjoying a healthy, successful year.
The science is clear--wearing a mask and practicing proper social distancing will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. According to the CDC, the spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when masks are used along with other preventive measures: specifically, social distancing, frequent handwashing, contact tracing (keeping track of those you have interacted with each day), and cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces.
While wearing an appropriate face covering and practicing social distancing is mandated by state law and NMT campus policy, more simply, it is just the right thing to do for our community. Proper face covering habits, along with the other protocols, are going to be key in keeping our campus open.The bottom line is that it is the personal responsibility of each and every person in our community to follow the protocols at all times. Letting our guard down for even a moment could lead to a campus closure. All of us want to keep our campus open and provide the highest quality of education to our students, but quite simply this depends upon you the individual.
We need look no further than the University of North Carolina and its sudden campus closure as an example of what can happen if we, as a community, don’t strictly adhere to all health protocols. We are relying on you to make sure your classmates and coworkers are reminded at all times to keep all of us safe--and that includes when you are both on and off campus. Please keep this in mind as we approach the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
As you navigate campus in person and virtually this year, remember to be respectful and considerate to each other. If you need help, ask for it. And if you see someone who needs help, offer it. Remember that there is a campus filled with people to help and support systems built to ensure your wellbeing and success.
In addition to the standard set of academic challenges you face at a university, all of us will be addressing a new set of challenges due to COVID-19. However, know that by being here at Tech, you have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, and through this resilience you are and forever will be a Techie!
In the end, you will make new friends, find new mentors, discover and build wonderful new items and devices, and you will do this all in an NMT community filled with amazing faculty, researchers, and extraordinary students working to transform the world. So again, Welcome to New Mexico Tech.
Take care of each other, work hard, and remember that even if it’s simply to introduce yourself, my door, or email inbox, is always open.
Stephen G. Wells
New Mexico Tech