Home News Local News ENMU-R’s Madden announces retirement; VP Maguire to serve as acting president

ENMU-R’s Madden announces retirement; VP Maguire to serve as acting president

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Dr. John Madden, seen in a photo taken in September 2017, has decided to leave his post as president of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The head of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell for almost 10 years, Dr. John Madden, submitted his notice of retirement and is on leave from the campus.

He will remain on accumulated earned leave through the end of the summer, according to the president of the ENMU system, Dr. Jeff Elwell, who said that Madden announced his decision in an email sent either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

“I was a little surprised. I wouldn’t say shocked,” said Dr. Jeff Elwell, who became the new president of the ENMU system and its three campuses in July.

“Dr. Madden has done a good job, I think,” he said. “I enjoyed working with him on a lot of things. Obviously, like in any situation, we didn’t always agree on everything.”

Elwell alluded to the tension that arose publicly between ENMU-R and ENMU leadership in November after Elwell asked the regents to consider a proposal, ultimately adopted, to authorize three systemwide senior executive positions in business affairs, human resources and integrated technology to have authority on all campuses.

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After Elwell suggested the idea to regents, Madden, some ENMU-R board and foundation members, and some campus employees expressed consternation about not being consulted before the regents received the suggestion and worried about possible job eliminations or an ENMU “takeover,” which Elwell strongly denied.

In response to the upset, Elwell met with employees in meetings on the Roswell campus. He told them that the systemwide executives would exercise “oversight” on campuses, not take over their operations, and that the change was intended to allow the university system to find ways to achieve financial and operational efficiencies during challenging times for New Mexico institutions of higher education.

“I don’t have any real problem with that,” said Elwell about Madden’s differences with him over that situation.

Elwell said that he became aware about that time Madden might opt to retire. “But he was on a contract that was only for a year, and it ended this summer.”

Elwell said that Dr. Ken Maguire, ENMU-R vice president of Academic Affairs, who is expected back on campus next week following his visit to Hawaii, will serve as acting president at least until the next meeting of the ENMU-R Branch Community College Board scheduled for March 21.

“In an executive session, we will talk about potential interim president candidates and also starting the search for a permanent president,” Elwell said.

Elwell added that he has spoken to most of the Roswell board members to inform them about the situation. He also communicated with some at ENMU-R by email Wednesday morning.

In that email, Elwell stated that he would like to begin the search in April and have someone hired by Aug. 15, pending approval of board members, some of whom would serve on the search committee.

Elwell said that Madden will retain the title of ENMU-R president through the end of the summer. Madden also has agreed, once he has completed his leave, to work with ENMU administrators on the continuing effort to align Roswell and Portales policies.

Elwell said that, at this time, Madden’s departure is not expected to result in other staffing changes.

“Obviously any time there is a change, especially when it is one of the top people, to some people, I am sure it is concerning,” Elwell said. “Once I had seen the message that Dr. Madden had sent out, I had sent out a message with as much detail as I could give to people to let them know what is happening going forward.”

ENMU-R Community College Board President Eloise Blake said she has questions about what has happened.

“I am concerned because I want everything to keep going at the college,” Blake said. “I am concerned about how it happened so quickly and what could have been done to prevent it.”

Madden, who could not be reached by press time for comment, has worked in education for more than 35 years, according to information from ENMU-R.

During that time, he has served as a faculty member, director, department chair and dean with universities, community colleges, high schools and adult education programs in Michigan, Wisconsin, California and Arizona.

He joined ENMU-R as its president in August 2008.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.