Regents Minutes - December 2013
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Board of Regents
1:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 3, 2013Albuquerque Country Club 601 Laguna Blvd., SW Albuquerque, New Mexico
The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents convened at 1:39 p.m., with Board of Regents Chairman Richard N. Carpenter presiding. Other Board members present were Regent Jerry Armijo, Regent Debra Hicks, Regent Deborah Peacock, and Student Regent Israel Rodriguez-Rios. University administrators, staff, and guests who were also present included:
- Daniel H. López
- Peter Gerity
- Lonnie Marquez
- Van Romero
- Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming
- Lala Garcia
- Mary Dezember
- Robert Lee
- Greer Price
- John Meason
- Miguel Hidalgo
- Mark Adams
- Warren Ostergren
- Richard Cervantes
- Alex Thyssen
- Thom Guengerich
- Valerie Kimble
1. Proof of Meeting Notice. The meeting was called to order at 1:39 p.m. by Chairman Carpenter after the President affirmed that proper legal notice had been given.
2. Approval of the Agenda. Chairman Carpenter said there was no need for an Executive Session. Regent Hicks then moved to adopt the Agenda as presented. Regent Rodriguez-Rios seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
3. Minutes. The Chairman reported no corrections for the Minutes from the Oct. 31, 2013 meeting. Regent Peacock then moved to approve the Minutes, followed by a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios. The motion passed unanimously. Ms. Garcia noted that all Board Minutes for calendar years 2012 and 2013 are now posted online.
- Enrollment. The good and bad news are that paid admissions are up, and number of applicants down, reported Jaramillo-Fleming. The University has beds for 99 percent of incoming students for Fall 2014 when President’s Hall will be back online. The President also reported on three proposals for the Lottery Scholarship: 1) Amount funded will not be credited at the front end. 2) Students would pay 10 percent of what they owe in tuition, and scheduled payments. 3) Credit funds that do become available at the percentage established by the Legislature. President López added that $700,000 would be needed to restore full funding for Lottery Scholarships at Tech if the steps aren’t taken during the Legislative Session to fully fund the program.
- Funding Formula. The President explained to the Board that since its peak funding period in 2008, New Mexico Tech has taken a $2.9 million budget cut, some of which has been restored in the last two years. However, from the peak funding in 2008, New Mexico Tech’s budget is $300,000 less than in 2008. At the same time enrollment has increased by 220 students.
Current funding levels for Tech makes it impossible, the President explained, to address a series of pressing needs, including adding faculty in growth areas such as Mechanical Engineering and other growth programs.
Tech’s funding needs have been discussed with Secretary Garcia and he understands the difficult situation for our institution. During the upcoming session, the President concluded, an effort will be made to improve Tech’s funding levels through the new formula.
- Meeting with Alumni Representatives. Jaramillo-Fleming reported that Advancement Director Colleen Guengerich and alumni John Dowdle and Paul Shoemaker had a frank discussion about a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and while no decision was made, a “more friendly communication” did take place. Chairman Carpenter noted he had received a favorable report regarding the meeting.
- Status of construction of the Bureau of Geology. Mr. Hidalgo announced that a pre-construction meeting had taken place for laying out the ground rules. Major construction on an active campus will require “the extreme cooperation of everyone,” he said. The President gave Mr. Hidalgo kudos for doing a “fantastic job.”
- Status of preparation for Higher Learning Commission. Dr. Dezember reported that a “very, very rough draft” is being planned for Dec. 9, with data that addresses issues currently under discussion in defining “who we are.” For example, she said 75 percent of New Mexico Tech students are engineering majors, with Mechanical Engineering (ME) accounting for 25 percent of that number. Her preliminary data shows that of the 50 total 2013 MENG grads, 39 were first-time freshman who averaged 144 credit hours in graduating in 5.05 years. During discussion, Regent Rodriguez-Rios noted that some students have to wait to take a key course, because not enough courses are taught each semester due to a lack of faculty. Dr. Ostergren, ME program chair, noted that students in ME could earn a minor in aerospace or explosives with only six additional courses, so their time wouldn’t be wasted.
- Report on Fundraising. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming reported that the annual Giving Campaign had launched with $16,000 so far; last year’s campaign had raised $80,000 between November 2012 and February 2013. “We’re still trying to tweak our gift financial report, so it’s easy to read,” she said, adding that two large donations had been received from the Hilton Foundation and the Starr Foundation. The V.P. recognized the work of Ms. Guengerich and her staff in following through on recommendations from their consultant.
- Report on Strategic Plan. Ms. Jaramillo-Fleming reported campus-wide forums in October and November explaining the Strategic Plan process. The Steering Committee has met twice. Dr. López addressed the committee at one meeting, and Dr. Dezember will speak on HLC expectations at the Dec. 13 meeting.
- Faculty Senate Report, Dr. Richard Sonnenfeld. The President explained that Dr. Sonnenfeld was unable to attend the Regents’ meeting due to the Faculty Senate meeting on the same day in Socorro.
- Other. Even with a mix of people working on it, no final decision has been made regarding the Lottery Scholarship Program, but a teleconference is scheduled for the following week, “and we’ll push for some kind of resolution,” the President noted.
5. Public Comment. None.
6. Degree Conferrals for November 2013. V.P. Gerity reported that a Master of Science and a Ph.D. were conferred in November. “You should be proud of your contribution in pushing this through,” said Chairman Carpenter to Dr. Gerity, referring to the policy granting the President authority to confer degrees year-round.
7. Financial Analysis for October 2013. Mr. Marquez reported that revenues for the first-third of the fiscal year were $15.9 million, compared with $15.2 million last year, with expenditures similarly tracking at $11.5 million and $10.9 respectively. The Geophysical Research Center is over budget, however, the rest of the Research and Public Service Projects (RPSP) are on budget. The accelerated expenditures in the Geophysical Research Center will be addressed by slowing down expenditures over the rest of the fiscal year. Any remaining over expenditures at the end of the fiscal year will be eliminated with other budget balances.
8. Quarterly Financial Ending September 2013. Mr. Marquez recommended approval for the quarterly report ending Sept. 30, noting its three components: statement of net assets, budget comparing original to actual, and budget comparing quarter with last year’s. Regent Peacock moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Hicks. The motion passed unanimously.
9. Emeritus Status Request. The President concurred with a recommendation from Dr. Ostergren to award emeritus status to retiring Academic Affairs V.P. Gerity, for his help during the Mechanical Engineering Department’s growth period, ABET accreditation, guest lectures and work with design clinic teams. Regent Rodriguez-so moved, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously. “Most people don’t realize the battles (Dr. Gerity) has been through the past four years,” Dr. López said. “He made difficult decisions with grace and courage, taking a business approach in dealing with these problems.” Chairman Carpenter then presented Dr. Gerity with a plaque and led Regents in honoring him with a standing ovation. In related business, President López said he would announce his choice for Dr. Gerity’s interim replacement before the holiday break, and hoped to have a permanent successor on board by June 30, 2014. During discussion, the President confirmed that his vice presidents serve at-will, and that he would prefer to retain such standing unless it becomes a negotiating point.
10. Restricted Fund Purchase Negotiations. Regents were told the data was in their packets, and was given to them for informational purposes only.
11. Investment Policy. Mr. Marquez reported that the New Mexico Tech Investment Policy had been updated to include the Prudent Investor Act (NMSA 1978 § 45-7-601). Chairman Carpenter noted “outdated language” in the policy, and the President suggested having legal counsel review it. Regent Armijo moved to accept the Investment Policy subject to language revisions and contingent upon counsel approval. Regent Peacock seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
12. Local Government Investment Pool – Certification of Authorized Persons Update Form. Mr. Marquez reported that the N.M. State Treasurer’s Office has requested an updated signature certification and updated information for three New Mexico Tech accounts, and requested that Regents approve the authorized signatures and updated account data. Regent Armijo moved for approval, followed by a second from Regent Rodriguez-Rios. The motion passed unanimously.
13. Selection of Architect – Chemistry Building. Mr. Hidalgo informed the Board that a selection committee listened to oral presentations from three firms culled from eight RFPs, and asked Regents to allow the University to negotiate a contract with Van H. Gilbert Architect PC of Albuquerque. “How does this fit in with projections for additional ‘smart’ buildings?” asked the Chairman. The President replied that the University would make provisions for the building to be retrofitted as such. V.P. Gerity noted that it would be short-sighted not to include resource support and power needs to meet “best-guess future needs.” Total project cost was estimated at $16 million including architect’s fees and other soft costs. During discussion, it was noted that the existing Jones building would be refurbished to handle the overflow from the growing Mechanical Engineering department. “I think we need both spaces,” the President said, and Dr. Ostergren agreed. Regent Armijo moved to accept the President’s recommendation for approval. Regent Hicks seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
14. Individual Board Member Comments. Regent Rodriguez-Rios suggested that the University impose a tuition increase to hire additional faculty and boost faculty salaries. President López said it was a legitimate discussion to have. Regent Hicks reported on an informal discussion with Foundation members earlier in the day on commercializing intellectual property through the Research Park, and enabling the development office to receive funds. Regent Peacock added that the Foundation has agreed to assist the Office for Advancement with funds for advertising and to bring in an additional employee. The President noted that a primary goal is to hire a seasoned fund-raiser, adding that Regent Peacock in that role has been very helpful in securing face time with potential donors. In responding to Regent Peacock’s remarks that the Foundation does not appear on the University web page or under Advancement, President López that such a site is being developed and periodic reports will be given to the Board. In addition, “We’d like to begin to do something for donors separate from the President’s Dinner,” he said. The Chairman thanked Regents Hicks and Peacock for their comments, and requested that the Board appoint Regent Armijo to the Foundation Board, as he has been a member of the Research Park Foundation since its inception. Regent Hicks so moved, followed by a second from Regent Peacock. The motion passed unanimously.
15. New Business. None
16. Employee Benefit Trust. Regents recessed the meeting at 3:18 p.m. to convene as the Benefit Trust. Mr. Marquez reported that the Trust is slowly building up cash and the deficit is shrinking. He also cited from a 10-month report from Meritain on expenses, claims and administrative fees, adding that plan changes led to cost-shaving and a richer plan over the years. Regents adjourned the Trust meeting at 3:20 p.m., and reconvened the regular meeting.
17. Possible Executive Sesssion, NMSA 1978, Sec 10-15-1 (H)(2) (If Required to Consider Legal and/or Personnel Matters): N/A
18. Reconvene in Open Session and Take Final Action, if any, on Such Limited Personnel Matters Which Shall be Acted Upon in Open Session Following Conclusion of the Closed Session: N/A
19. Adjournment. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:21 p.m.