Mesalands to fund faculty endowment

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Mesalands Community College took its first steps to establish a higher education faculty endowment.

The endowment would provide funding for chairs, lectureships, professorships, scholarships, graduate assistantships and faculty development, said Phillip O. Barry, president of Mesalands, at the college’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

The New Mexico Higher Education Department has funds that can be used by two-year institutions to create endowments, Barry said.
The board approved a request of $50,000, with the state-required caveat that Mesalands match 30 percent, or $15,000, of the requested funds.

The board will seek its matching funds from the Mesalands Community College Foundation, Inc. The foundation was established in 1996 to raise funds for scholarships and has also raised funds for the college’s Dinosaur Museum.

While the endowment will provide for future educators, the board also looked to ensure its student population through a retention plan presented by Aaron Kennedy, dean of Student Services.

The plan focuses on more faculty involvement with the students to increase the number of students who graduate from Mesalands, Kennedy said. Faculty are expected to communicate individually with students about their studies and work to resolve any problems they may be having within 48 hours, Kennedy said.

“It is important that we work on keeping our local students here in Tucumcari,” Kennedy said. “We are in a community that is not growing and the retention of students is a problem affecting larger communities as well.”

Other items approved by the board include:

l A release of liability and consent form for the college’s Health and Wellness Facility, or fitness center. All people who want to use the facility will have to sign the waiver.

l The strengthening of language in a section of board policies to encourage the president and board members to attend state and national workshops, activities and other functions that would promote and benefit Mesalands, such as advocating for legislation that would benefit the college.