Regents discuss Ruidoso branch

By Tony Parra

By Tony Parra
The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents discussed placing another branch on the tree that is ENMU Friday during a meeting.
The discussion was about converting the instructional center in Ruidoso to a branch campus, similar to the one in Roswell. The instructional center in Ruidoso was established in 1991. It provides a “limited” community college that offers a 2-year academic and vocational curriculum.
Converting the instructional center into a branch of ENMU would allow the Ruidoso branch access to government and state funding denied to them because of their current status. The transformation would also help the Ruidoso branch access to scholarships and grants to offer to students, according to Ruidoso Instructional Center Director James Miller.
“We hope to copy the transition made by UNM-Taos (University of New Mexico) to a branch site,” Miller said. “UNM-Taos made the transition from 1999 to 2003 and it was completed in July of 2003. We believe we have the support from the (Ruidoso) community to be able to do this.”
Miller has been communicating with ENMU President Steven Gamble, and went before the regents for their support.
“Our representatives, such as (W.C.) “Dub” Williams, have advised not to send it to legislature until 2005,” Miller said. “We need to submit a plan to the CHE (Commission of Higher Education) in April of 2004 and then go through with it in the 2005 legislature.”
Another item on the agenda was an update on the strategic plan by Dr. Patrice Caldwell. Some of the goals under the strategic plan are to increase the number of online courses to 55 for the 2003-04 school year, provide at least $30,000 for faculty instructional and research development activities, and keep ENMU’s rate of satisfaction above 90 percent.
Annual senior exit surveys reflected a 93.4 percent satisfied/very satisfied rate with the institution for the 2002-03 year. The number was at 95.8 percent for the seniors’ surveys during the 1999 to 2000 school year.
“We (ENMU) were very pleased with the approval rate,” Gamble said. “We had the highest percentage in the state. No other 4-year institution was over 90 percent.”
Some of the other goals for ENMU dealt with continuing the increase of freshman enrollment. The 2003 freshman class increased by 2.7 percent and the most dramatic increase in enrollment came from the 14.8 percent jump in the Hispanic freshman class.