UNM President Robert Frank is talking with Faculty Senate about the future of UNM West, indicating he would like to build the academic program at the campus on three pillars: health sciences, technology and liberal arts. The programs are not really separate because what will be needed is a campus that can offer flexible degrees that combine elements of all three, he said.

Proximity to Sandoval Regional Medical Center is a critical part of the plan. Physicians who work at the center see their lives and work being based in Rio Rancho.  Frank said they are interested in creating a medical community in which there might also be faculty and laboratories.

He noted the medical center will need a flow of workers to support the health care and any potential research that may be conducted there.

Frank also wants to connect the UNM academic program with degrees that will be valued by technology companies in Rio Rancho.  He has asked the provost to create five degree programs in line with the overall vision.

It is important for the UNM Faculty Senate to be actively involved in the program because under UNM’s shared governance policies they ultimately must approve the degrees that will be offered, he said.

The Chief Executive Office for UNM West Wynn Goering said, “We’re determined to have a solid curriculum of core classes and selected degree completion options in place by the end of the academic year.” Goering said he will also focus on attracting new students to campus.  “As a matter of financial viability we know UNM West needs to grow and bring new students into the university in the process. That will entail outreach to residents not currently served by UNM programming, from dual enrollment partnerships with area high schools, to degree completion options for working adults,” he added.

Considerable planning currently being done for UNM West, according to Goering.  For more background, visit the planning pages on the UNM West website.  The future of UNM West is still being charted and Goering invites anyone who is interested to visit the campus.