New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus sits empty on Thursday, March 26, 2020, as the university prepares to move all instruction online by March 30. (Photo: Nathan J Fish/Sun-News)
LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State University will launch a task force to explore combining two colleges and a division of another college into the new College of Health, Education and Social Sciences.
The proposal would bring together the colleges of Education and Health and Social Services as well as the Social Sciences division of the College of Arts and Sciences.
If approved, it would eliminate several administrative positions and reduce NMSU’s degree-granting academic colleges from six to five.
The new college would include four multidisciplinary schools:
- School of Nursing, which already exists
- School of Education (Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership), which already exists
- School of Health Professions and Clinical Sciences, which would be a combination of programs in the Health and Social Services and Education colleges
- School of Social Work/Social Sciences, which would be a combination of programs in the Health and Social Services and Arts and Sciences colleges
But the new college “would reduce administrative overhead by eliminating one of two dean salaries, two of four associate dean salaries, and replacing as many as 10 department head salaries with four school director salaries.”
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The amount of money that would be saved is yet to be determined
The university stated it would hope to avoid layoffs by making changes over a period of a year or two to allow for normal attrition and retirement.
NMSU leaders are looking for ways to save money after regents approved a budget reduction in July. President John Floros earlier this month asked every unit at the university to submit plans by Sept. 15 for a 6%, 9% and 12% budget cut.
New research center
In a news release, the university stated the consolidated colleges plan could offer more opportunities and support for interdisciplinary research and graduate education while reducing administrative cost.
“This would formally bring together many of the NMSU faculty whose work is focused on promoting improved outcomes in health, education, social services, social mobility, criminal justice, and socio-economic opportunity,” said NMSU Provost Carol Parker in a news release.
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Parker said the initiative could also allow NMSU to seek extramural funding to create a new research center focused on “eliminating the downstream effects of inadequate or counterproductive public policy, systemic bias and racism, which adversely affect outcomes in health, education, social mobility, criminal justice and economic opportunity.”
The three deans of NMSU’s colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Health and Social Services will lead a task force to gather input through a series of listening sessions and surveys. However, the ultimate decision of whether to create the college would be made by the school’s board of regents.
“In in my opinion, there is a real sense of urgency related to the need to genuinely consider restructuring,” Parker said. “It is through initiatives such as this that NMSU will come through the current pandemic and fiscal crises stronger, rather than weaker, and well positioned for future growth.”
For more information, visit provost.nmsu.edu/provost-office-projects/hes/index.html
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