UNM President Robert Frank is one of four university representatives who have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the White Sands Missile Range to establish a planning forum to facilitate greater collaboration and partnerships. Other universities signing the agreement include New Mexico State, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the University of Texas at El Paso.
For Frank, it's a bit of a homecoming. He lived there and attended White Sands Missile Range Jr. High School. He values the wealth of information and resources that can be shared between WSMR and the University. "This partnership provides great opportunities for our students and faculty through internships, shared research and other collaborative projects and efforts," Frank said. "We are anxious to get started working together for the benefit of all involved."
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman also participated in the event. "I think it's just a great thing, most of the useful work that goes on around the state is a result of collaboration," said Bingaman. "We've always had a strong military presence. That connection to higher education is important to our future."
Initially UNM is looking for possible areas of collaboration. The process will include a faculty visit to meet with potential collaborators. In addition UNM will begin to identify areas of collaboration with WSMR and the other institutions of higher education signing the agreement.
Brig. Gen. John Ferrari, the commanding general of WSMR noted, "It's these university leaders that have helped set the initiative, and enable us to do what can't be done anywhere else in the world. This is just another step forward today."
The agreement itself says WSMR will provide an assessment of strategic initiatives and direction that includes
- Emerging systems capability requirements, supporting technology, instrumentation requirements, and other demand issues that are projected in the foreseeable future.
- Estimated needs for future graduates from institutes of higher learning, required skill sets and descriptions of working conditions and locations.
- Annually, or as they arise, provide opportunities, where possible, for internships, special projects, and other activities that can enhance the learning experience, better prepare potential future employees, enhance capabilities and development of future capabilities and promote collaborative or individual research objectives.
In addition, WSMR will coordinate an annual forum, to present results and to support collaborative initiatives. The point of contact at UNM will be John McGraw, Interim Vice President for Research.
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