UNM President Bob Frank and SFCC President Sheila Ortego

UNM President Robert Frank and Santa Fe Community College President Sheila Ortego signed a Memorandum of Agreement recently with Santa Fe Community College Higher Education Center (HEC), a learning district established by SFCC. Under the agreement "UNM shall offer, at its discretion, courses facilitated through the Extended University operation."

The MOA reads, in part, "HEC wants to provide facilities, services and resources to UNM and UNM's students and personnel and UNM wants to accept such facilities, services and resources."

HEC will provide computer laboratories and library facilities as well as testing and tutoring services at no cost to students. Textbooks for the courses will be available for purchase and resale at SFCC. UNM and SFCC HEC will coordinate marketing of courses.

Ortego said that the agreement allows UNM to have space at SFCC. Students can talk to advisers about courses of study, taking UNM courses online, or plotting an academic plan.

Tina Ludutsky Taylor, the director of the SFCC's Higher Education Center, said, "Students can identify a desired degree program early on. They can complete an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree in the most economical way with appropriate advisement." She added, "The community wants specific articulation agreements with UNM. They want UNM degree programs to be made available."

Ludutsky Taylor said that streamlining the educational process for New Mexico students would also benefit the institutions. "We all get to report faster completion rates," she said.

The next step is to establish the agreements between the UNM's and the SFCC HEC's various programs and colleges.

Some UNM colleges and programs already have established ways for students to move through an associate's program at a community college into a bachelor's program at UNM. President Frank encouraged Provost Chaouki Abdallah to take the necessary steps for success of the MOA, saying, "It's pragmatic to do this."

Jerry Dominguez, vice provost, Extended University, was instrumental in developing the MOA. He doesn't want to stop at undergraduate degrees. "Engineering and other graduate programs are wanted, too," he said.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu