Santa Fe, NM- On Wednesday Afternoon, University President Dr. Joseph Shepard met with Dr. Barbara Damron, the New Mexico Secretary of Education, to discuss the future of Western New Mexico University. Also in attendance were Board of Regent members Arlean Murillo, Janice Baca-Argabright, and Jerry A. Walz, Esq. as well as representatives of the Associated Students of Western New Mexico University and the WNMU Early Childhood Education program.
Dr. Shepard explained that he hoped to receive state funds to complete renovations of the Harlan Hall Science building, explaining that STEM is a critical part of education and that the current laboratories in Harlan Hall aren’t much different from those found in high schools, suggesting that it could use an upgrade. He also expressed his wish to increase compensation for faculty and staff members who haven’t received pay raises in some time.
ASWNMU Tim Stillman also spoke of virtual applications and the benefits they will have for the WNMU student body, especially for the university’s rapidly growing online program.
Dr. Damron stated that WNMU has an excellent President and a wonderful Board of Regents. She also stated that she saw the big picture of what the university needs and complimented the university for how efficient it is in getting students degrees. She also agreed that the faculty and staff for the university were due their increased compensation.
An idea that was floated around during Grant County Day, started by Dr. Shepard himself in a meeting with state representatives was Western New Mexico University bringing back a college-level baseball team, citing that as something the Grant County community wants. Damron agreed that athletics are indeed a major draw for students seeking higher education.
Additional Reporting by Brenda Acosta