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ENMU-R gathers ideas from local business leaders

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“We are very fortunate to have ENMU-R in our community offering a good mix of educational opportunities,” says Matthew Martinez, the new president of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce. He and other members of the organization, as well as the Roswell Chamber of Commerce, provided ideas that will be used to create the university’s five-year strategic plan. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Skills that employers want, ideas for future partnership and initiatives, and how Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell is perceived by community residents were some of the topics discussed in the second forum held as part of the university’s planning efforts.

About 50 business and academic leaders, including members of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, met Thursday night on the ENMU-R campus to hear updates about the university’s activities and to discuss how the university is functioning now and how it can serve students, employers and the community in the future.

A prior forum Nov. 29 gathered information from about 175 members of the university’s 37 academic program advisory boards. Senior administrators are also meeting with students, staff and faculty as they prepare a strategic plan due to be finished in July that will guide university actions and initiatives for the next five academic years.

“I think it is great having representation from the chambers and also having the input from the community members and our academic advisory board members,” said Shawn Powell, president of ENMU-R, who said that work to develop a campus master facilities plan also has started.

“When I was interviewed for the position, I was asked what I thought of community colleges, and I said that I’ve always thought the goal of the community college is to meet the needs of the students, the community and state,” he said. “That sounds like a sound bite, but it’s really not. That’s what we are here for, to help those students get where they need to be in terms of professional development or professional training or transfer capabilities. And then looking at the business community, as we are tonight, trying to figure our what community or business leaders want from the college and trying to come up with that programming.”

Comments from the various discussion groups Thursday included ideas for how local organizations could work with the university to develop professional certificate programs in new areas and to provide internships related to those areas and the need for continued efforts to provide students with “soft skills” such as empathy, good work habits and communication skills, as well as computer and technology skills, financial planning knowledge and managerial and entrepreneurial training.

Documents related to the planning process, including summaries of comments from prior forums, are available on the ENMU-R website, roswell.enmu.edu, under the “Vision, Mission and Core Values” tab.

ENMU-R outlines capital outlay funding requests

Equipment and software to support existing academic programs make up the 2019 legislative capital outlay requests for Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.

Members of the university’s various boards have been provided information about the requests, which total $259,378, said Shawn Powell, president of ENMU-R.

The funding asks will be considered during the upcoming legislative session running Jan. 15 through March 16. These requests are separate from the instructional and general operating funds allocated as part of the state’s appropriation bill or any possible funding allocated through severance bonds.

• The university is asking for $140,278 for lab equipment, including simulation mannequins and virtual reality computer systems, for use in various health care programs. Health care degree and certificate offerings include nursing, emergency medical services, paramedic, medical assisting, occupational therapy, phlebotomy and respiratory therapy programs.

• A request for $90,000 has been made to replace aging media arts computer lab equipment used to train students for work in the film, graphic design, animation and entertainment industries. According to information provided by ENMU-R, workforce demands in these fields are expected to increase in New Mexico, partly because of a planned Netflix expansion in the Albuquerque area. The California-based entertainment company is expected to hire 1,000 people a year and invest $1 billion during a 10-year period at its New Mexico production hub, according to a press release issued in October.

• ENMU-R is seeking $29,100 for a four-wheel alignment machine and gas analyzer for its automotive technology program. The program is expecting increased workforce demand due to oil and gas industry needs and is introducing a light diesel program as a result. Last year, the university was authorized to receive $3 million in general obligation bond funding for a renovated automotive and welding facility, with voters approving the bond issue in November.

A need to replace the main electrical backbone serving the campus has been discussed at previous board meetings, with funding and construction options still under consideration.