Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Mesalands changes test policy


October 23, 2019

The Mesalands Community College board of trustees on Oct. 15 unanimously changed its admissions policy so non-graduates of high schools no longer are required to take aptitude tests.

College President John Groesbeck said the Test of Adult Basic Education or the Pearson ACCUPLACER assessment, once required for non-graduates, was “not an accurate barometer of success in college.” He said the best indicator was past success in high school.

Groesbeck also said such tests are unnecessary for students taking only one or two classes and not pursuing a degree.

The revised policy states prospective students “are encouraged” to take the Test of Adult Basic Education or Pearson ACCUPLACER but not required.

Groesbeck, who urged the alteration, said the revision is consistent with other community college policies across the nation.

In other business by the board:

• It heard a report from Loni Monahan, the director of the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. Summarizing the report as “we’re doing really well,” she said the museum saw attendance increases of 246 this year from 224 a year ago during Museum Day and 324 this year from 142 a year ago during the recent Fossil Festival.

She said artist Doug Quarles finished a new dinosaur mural on one side of the museum. Monahan said she received permission from the New Mexico Department of Transportation to paint dinosaur footprints on First Street from Interstate 40 to the museum to help guide tourists. The tracks will be added “sooner than later” because applying the paint requires a minimum temperature of 40 degrees.

She said the museum likely will make food-grade molds from its fossils so it can make and sell chocolates during the Christmas season.

Monahan asked for guidance on selling “old-fashioned” T-shirts acquired two to three years ago. The shirts are discounted in price but aren’t selling as briskly as newer shirts. Monahan suggested a parking-lot sale, and Groesbeck said: “We will find a way to get rid of them in a cost-effective and expeditious manner.”

• Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs, reported the state’s Nursing Education Advisory Committee had approved the college’s feasibility study on launching a nursing program. The study awaits approval from the nursing board. Gillard said the next step would be an application to the board. Mesalands hopes to offer a nursing program by fall 2021.

— Gillard said Mesalands is starting a pilot program at the Santa Rosa prison for substance abuse and addiction counseling. The college plans to expand it to other prisons it serves, then on campus as a degreed program.

• Groesbeck said he was negotiating with the Clayton school district to acquire a modular building to be converted into a Mesalands outreach center. He said he views the possibility of the transaction “very positively.”

• Groesbeck said he made a presentation to Torrance County about establishing a mobile wind-energy training center there, especially with new wind farms going online in Corona and Estancia.

• The board approved a revision of its debit and credit card policy that removed a 2.5% fee for transactions. The college recently received a deal for card processing that charges just 34 cents per transaction.

• The board approved an AimBank cash management certificate of resolution that was required after AimBank recently acquired FNB New Mexico banks.

• Board chairman Jim Streetman withdrew an agenda item to change monthly board of trustees meetings from the third Tuesday to the second Tuesday, which had been the arrangement years ago. The proposal received pushback from Amanda Hammer, vice president of administrative affairs, because some financial data wouldn’t be ready at an earlier date.


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