The University of New Mexico (along with most of our State’s higher education system) wants to be all things to all people. External pressure is finally forcing some painful change, but are they the right changes and will it help our State or merely shift the proverbial deck chairs?
Let’s look at a few facts:
1) New Mexico already spends a lot on higher education (6th-highest in the nation);
2) UNM enrollment is down 7.2%. CNM enrollment is down also;
3) UNM faculty is underpaid relative to their peers;
4) The University’s sports programs operate at a deficit and plans to cut four sports have generated outrage and opposition from both candidates for Governor.
5) New Mexico has a plethora of branch campuses.
Cuts to athletics as were recently made by the Board of Regents are appropriate given the $4.7 million deficit facing the program (and issues with Title 9 compliance, but the exact makeup of the cuts is open to question.
It would seem that branch campuses should be on the cutting block, but absolutely no politicians seem interested in that. Enough money is being spent as former UNM President Chaouki Abdallah once told the Albuquerque Journal, “Our higher ed spending is more than most other states; the trouble is we don’t spend it wisely and (we) spread it across so many entities.”
It is a real mess and the only thing politicians seem to want to do about it is to spend more money.
2 Replies to “UNM priorities: sports, better-paid faculty, or a multitude of branch campuses?”
New Mexico’s higher education system is driven by political patronage, with the primary mission of building campuses and creating administrative jobs. Educating and graduating students is beside the point.
I’d like to see a constitutional amendment to place the entire state college system under unified administration. Many states have an elected board of trustees and this may be a good model for New Mexico.
I do not expect this to happen, however.
Don’t expect any significant higher education reform if Ms. Grisham is our new governor. The budget surplus of over one billion (from oil and gas) takes away the sense of urgency. Just more of the same in the land of man~ana ,as it has been since 1931