Legislative Finance Committee member John Arthur Smith with UNM Director of Government Relations Marc Saavedra and UNM President Robert Frank
Legislative Finance Committee member John Arthur Smith with UNM Director of Government Relations Marc Saavedra and UNM President Robert Frank


The Legislature's interim road show has come to UNM’s central campus. Today, the Legislative Finance Committee commenced three days of hearings at the SUB on a variety of topics that will generate varying degrees of interest.

Of greatest interest to UNM and higher education was this morning’s presentation on how institutions are responding to the newly implemented higher ed funding formula. UNM President Bob Frank and Provost Chaouki Abdallah anchored a panel that included CNM President Kathie Winograd and NM Highlands President James Fries.

Their discussion focused on student success, which as defined by the Provost is 1.) supporting, challenging and doing what’s needed to ensure that students graduate, and 2.) retaining and rewarding faculty to ensure No. 1. Each institution gave a comprehensive rundown on how that issue is being tackled and their degrees of success. Committee members were particularly interested in articulation, which they continue to consider a problem, despite the influx of transfer agreements, MOUs and the Common Core. Provost Abdallah reminded committee members that even though course credits can transfer, the course has to be needed by a particular degree to be counted toward that degree.

Funding Formula Debate
President Frank made the case for three separate funding formulas that would acknowledge the different missions and funding requirements of research, comprehensive and two-year institutions. He wants each formula to be a stable and predictable source of funding for its respective institutions. CNM President Winograd agrees that the formula must be stable and predictable, but disagrees with the three-formula approach. She believes one formula will work with more cooperation and less competition among institutions. Highlands President Fries doesn’t care if there is one formula or three, as long as the source of funding is again, predictable.

When asked if there is a timeline on the formula discussion, President Frank suggested that this complex conversation might need to be structured by either the Legislature or the Executive if any movement is to occur.

Behavioral Health
This afternoon’s hearing on this emotional issue has attracted hundreds of advocates from all over the state who have packed into Ballroom C and have spilled out into the adjacent hallways. University Communication reps have secured a spot in the crowd and will be reporting on the progress of the discussion.