Mesalands offers new courses

Russell Anglin

Dean of Student Services Aaron Kennedy addressed a crowd of 15 new Mesalands Community College students Wednesday afternoon. He emphasized to the group, which included teenagers, young adults and middle-aged students, the importance of turning work in on time.

“This is for community colleges, four-year colleges, graduate schools,” Kennedy said. “Know when your assignments are due. Turn them in on time.”

Kennedy expressed optimism about the spring 2011 semester.

“We have the brand new wind energy building and I think that’s building a lot of excitement. An exciting program is equine dental care. That’ll be a part of farrier science. Students in record numbers signed up for that brand new program. Students that are getting farrier science or other degrees can get that certificate.

“Then we have a lot of interest in our metal arts certificate. A lot of community members are signing up for it. We had 22 graduates for fall semester, which was the largest amount of fall graduates ever. Things are going really well,” Kennedy said.

Robin Alden, director of enrollment management for the college, said the official head count of students enrolled this semester is not complete. She offered an estimate based on the figures she had available Wednesday.

“What I’ll do is give you a ballpark on where we’re at today. Head count, we’re at 449 for the main campus and we’re at 507 for all campuses. However, we have now just become one of the only two colleges in the state that has access to all the correctional facilities, and we do not enroll them for the first two weeks of school. We also have one of the biggest amounts of dual credit students in the state. We’ll probably have right around 600 by next week when we start putting in the (correctional facility students) and the dual (credit students), and we’ll end up with right around 1300 students total. The main campus will probably be between 6-700,” she said.

She said newly offered correspondence bachelor’s courses from the University of New Mexico “will grow us also.”

Becca Alden, Robin’s 16-year-old daughter and a new student at Mesalands this semester, said she came to Tucumcari from Ojai, Calif. to go to college and rodeo.

“My mom works here and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the rodeo team, and it allowed me to get my GED and immediately go into college to get my associate’s so that I can go to a bigger school,” Alden said. “I would love to be in the field as a speech therapist, working with kids, using the knowledge that I’ve gained through this school and hopefully a school like WT (West Texas A&M University) to help these kids heal and be able to work in the field with them.”