Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Mesalands president hopeful pays visit

Robert Munoz was on campus for public forum.


One of two potential candidates for Mesalands Community College's president position visited the campus Monday for a public forum.

"Being a president of an institution has been a goal of mine, on my journey as a vice president I am seeking a place to grow and expand my skill sets," said Robert Munoz from Fort Worth, Texas.

Munoz said there are some very unique programs at Mesalands, including ferrier science and silver smithing. He said these two programs are appropriate for the region and capable of producing graduates that can find jobs with their skill sets.

"One of the main programs that stands out is the wind energy programs at the North American Wind Research and Training Center," Munoz said. "It is fantastic that the college has agreements with corporations and train and educate students to enter a field with high-paying jobs."

Munoz said the faculty at Mesalands has a vested interest in the lives of their students. He said the faculty has a family oriented atmosphere geared towards the student's success.

"What it really comes down to is if this is the right fit for my wife (Kristi) and I," Munoz said.

Munoz said there are trade-offs, such as Tucumcari being a smaller and rural community.

"We knew Tucumcari was a rural community coming into this tour," Munoz said. "There is something to be said about that, as we didn't have to deal with the oppressive humidity like that in Fort Worth, Texas."

Munoz said the college is very much engaged in the community, and Mesalands sets the tone what it can do with its resources. He said the staff and faculty was engaged when asking about his qualifications and his visions for the college.

"It is very difficult to give my plus and minuses of the institution in the short time I've had to visit the college," Munoz said. "No leadership coming in should try to create change right away."

Munoz said he wants to be ingrained in the culture, to see what makes Mesalands so unique and has people wanting to stay. He said he was also asking questions of the group. "I'm interviewing about the community and college just as well," Munoz said.

Munoz said he was very impressed after touring the campus and the facilities located off campus.

"The dinosaur museum blew my mind; as a kid I read a lot of books on dinosaurs and paleontology," Munoz said. "The work they are doing and the facilities are impressive."

Munoz said the wind energy center has greatly skilled instructors who are vested in the students' success. He said the wind center gives students an opportunity to obtain the skills to enter a high paying and competitive field.

Munoz said one of the most impressive statistic for Mesalands is the student retention rate. He said at 70 percent Mesalands has a higher retention rate than most colleges that are struggling in the 40 percent range.

The two candidates selected by the college's board of trustees were Munoz and John Groesbeck from North Ogden, Utah.

Groesbeck will tour the college on Thursday and will take part in a public forum at 1 p.m., also at the NAWRTC's lecture hall.


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