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AQIP Systems Portfolio 2009

Institutional Overview


Western New Mexico University (WNMU) is a regional, comprehensive, not-for-profit, public university located in the mountain community of Silver City, population 15,000, which serves as the business and financial center for a vast four-county area extending west to Arizona and south to Mexico.


Western New Mexico University’s mission is to serve the multi-cultural populations of New Mexico, other states and other nations as a comprehensive university with an additional community college role.  While research and public service are important undertakings of the institution, teaching and learning are preeminent at WNMU.  We are a University that believes in the promise of every student, and together we work to create an educational community of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and talents that instills the values and develops the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare our students for the challenges of a changing world.


The WNMU President’s vision: is to be recognized as a leader among peer institutions as evidenced by measurable success in meeting the education, research, and service needs of the populations we serve.


On February 11, 1893, when the Thirtieth Session of the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico passed “An Act to Establish and Provide for the Maintenance and Government of the Normal Schools of New Mexico.” Silver City and Las Vegas were chosen to be the locations of these teacher-training institutions. A Board of Regents, appointed by Governor L. Bradford Prince, was given the task of selecting a site for the school. On June 2, 1893, the Board accepted Regent John W. Fleming’s offer of 20 acres situated on a high hill west of the community. In the early 1920’s the New Mexico Normal School became New Mexico State Teachers’ College. At the end of the 1930s, a secondary school associated with the college began operation in a new building on the east side of the campus. Western High School was turned over to the

Silver Consolidated School District on July 1, 1960. WNMU celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1993. Exemplary teaching, quality programs, and enhanced regional service characterize the University mission, as WNMU moves into its second hundred years.


WNMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, and by the New Mexico State Board of Education for offering undergraduate and graduate work. Western New Mexico University, through its School of Business Administration and Economics, is nationally accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) to offer the following business degrees:


• Bachelor of Business Administration degree with emphasis in Accounting and

         Business  Management

• Master of Business Administration degree


WNMU is also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The university received national accreditation for its nursing (ADN and BSN) programs, social work, and occupational therapy programs, and the economic development course/institute. The Early Childhood Program is also nationally accredited. WNMU is a member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Association of University Women, the Renaissance Group, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, Quality New Mexico, and The American Library Association. 


WNMU reports to the State Auditor for New Mexico 4-year public institutions, and is compliant with NCAA, Title IV, OSHA and EEOC regulations.


WNMU serves the educational needs of southwestern New Mexico, western Texas, and eastern Arizona with programs ranging from pre-University adult basic education and Welfare to Work through the master’s degree. As a state institution, Western addresses statewide workforce needs such as teacher education, selected health occupations, law enforcement, social work, early childhood development, vocational technology, business, and, at the pre-college level, literacy, citizenship, and work preparation.




1. What are your goals for student learning and shaping an academic climate? What are your key credit and non-credit instructional programs, and educational systems, services, and technologies that directly support them?


The goals and commitments for student learning and shaping an academic climate at WNMU are:


v  Put students first as we teach, prepare, and celebrate student success.

v  Provide appropriate students services to support students needs and success

v  Create learning opportunities that enable students to succeed in a competitive work environment while generating a thirst for lifelong learning and exhibiting ethical behaviors

v  View each and every student contact as an opportunity to add value and build relationships

v  Provide Innovative and relevant curricula, instructional methods, developmental experiences, scholarship, creative activities, and professional/public service

v  Provide tools for lifelong learning for students, employees, and the community.

v  Provide opportunities for personal and professional growth beyond current boundaries

v  Provide an environment that encourages innovation, dialogue, critical and creative thinking, and an open exchange of ideas

v  Provide curricular and co-curricular learning experiences that involve others in significant and meaningful ways


Some common learning objectives derive from dictated statewide policies or criteria provided through specialized accreditation/program approval agencies such as the New Mexico Higher Education Department.


WNMU offers 41 baccalaureate majors, including these key programs: Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Career and Technical Teacher Education, Chemistry, Computer Science, Counseling, Criminal Justice (available online), Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English, Expressive Arts, History, Mathematics, Movement Science/Kinesiology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Secondary Education, Social Work, and Special Education. Fourteen educational teaching endorsement fields are offered through the School of Education (SOE).


Master of Arts degrees are offered in Counseling, Educational Leadership, Interdisciplinary Studies (available online), and Teaching (Elementary, Reading, Secondary, and Special Education). Other graduate programs include: Master of Business Administration, Master of Occupational Therapy, and Master of Social Work. The latter two programs were added to the curriculum in 2009.


Applied associate and certificate programs include: Business Administration, Computer Technology, Criminal Justice, Digital Media Communication, Early Childhood Education and Family Support, e-Commerce and System Administration, Educational Assistant, Electrical Technology, Financial Services, Graphic Design, Industrial Maintenance, Law Enforcement Training (Police Academy), Liberal Studies, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Welding Technology. Non-credit instructional programs for adults are offered through the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL).


Key learning centered delivery processes include regular classroom instruction with a variety of specialized learning activities: lecture and discussion, group work, use of technology, problem-based learning, field experiences, simulations, active learning, and classroom assessment. Web-based delivery of courses plays a growing role in serving the students and other key stakeholders. While Blackboard-Vista is the platform commonly used for delivery of online courses and for required enhancement of ITV classes, an increasing number of faculty are using the institutional web portal, Mustang Express (ME), for the same purpose.


Services to support Helping Students Learn include the Academic Support Center, where placement testing, tutoring, and advising services are available; J. Cloyd Miller Library, which also houses the Technology Resource Center and the Writing Center; and ten student computing labs, located across campus and at each of the learning centers in Deming, Truth or Consequences, and Gallup. Recently, the position of Dual Enrollment Coordinator was created to provide our growing population of dual enrollment and concurrent high school students with admissions, placement testing, registration, and advising services.


2. What key organizational services, other than instructional programs, do you provide for your students and other external stakeholders? What programs do you operate to achieve them?


Key organizational services provided to students and other stakeholders are designed to support student learning and address the needs of the communities we serve. WNMU’s first priority is to utilize its scarce resources on the educational programs and support services identified in section 1 above; beyond that, selection of organizational services is determined by alignment with the Mission, identification of need within the strategic planning process (SPP), response to changing environmental conditions within and beyond campus, and stakeholder feedback. Other Distinctive Objectives at WNMU are:


v  Scholarship

v  Quality of Environment

v  Diversity

v  Building Public Trust

v  Quality Practices

v  Economic & Community Development


Key organizational services to students include: regularly scheduled activities throughout the academic year (e.g. The Great Race, cookouts, concerts, fundraising); sports events and recognitions; recreational and wellness facilities; childcare services; scholarships; leadership experience through involvement in WNMU committees and AQIP Action Project Teams; involvement in Institutional Advancement activities.


Key organizational services to employees include: sabbaticals and tuition waivers; professional development; multicultural programs and events; Quality New Mexico/Baldrige examiner training; Alumni Association programs and activities (many WNMU employees are graduates of the University); community organization service.


Key organizational services to external stakeholders include: WILL, One-Day University, and other programs offered to the public; use of facilities, including Miller Library; childcare services; multicultural programs and events; Town & Gown and other forums with university leaders; access to WNMU website, including AQIP page; Alumni Association programs and activities; small business advising services; economic development initiatives.


Programs used to operate these services and/or the offices that coordinate them include Multicultural Affairs/Student Activities (MASA), WNMU Athletics, the WNMU Foundation, Early Childhood Programs, the Office of the President (for all Quality Initiatives), the Small Business Development Center, and the Office of Institutional Advancement, Economic and Community Development.





3. What are the short- and long-term requirements and expectations of the current student and other key stakeholder groups you serve? Who are your primary competitors in serving these groups?


Short- and long term needs of key stakeholder groups, including students, are represented in Figure O3.1.



Figure O3.1 Key Stakeholders and

Their Needs/Expectations

Key Stakeholder

Key Stakeholder Needs/Expectations


  Quality of education

  Relevant education

  Safe environment

  Communication about policy changes

  Low cost, available financial aid

  Availability of classes

  Effective advisement

  Technology access

  Childcare and other special needs met



  Safe place to work

  Supportive work environment

  Shared governance

  Adequate compensation


Employers, Especially Public Schools

  Educated “quality” workforce with writing, computer, communication skills

  Ethical graduates

  Advisory opportunities to WNMU

  Easy access to information on graduates

Community Members, Taxpayer Citizens


  Access to key leaders/players

  Access to facilities and programs

  Information about campus happenings

  Continuing education opportunities

Potential Students

  Quality educational programs

  Affordable program cost

  Availability of financial aid

  Ease of application

  Timely and accurate information


  Connections with WNMU & other alumni

  Athletic and other events where alumni especially welcomed

  Opportunities to contribute to WNMU’s growth

  Positive institutional image


  Safe campus

  Student success

  Financial support for students

State Agencies including Governing Boards


  Compliance with appropriate guidelines and policies

  Fiscal responsibility

  High standards of quality

  Student success



Primary competitors in serving these groups are:
  Universities & community colleges in the state and the Southwest
  Online universities nationwide
  Other local employers, such as Gila Regional Medical Center and the U.S. Forest Service
  Alma maters of Silver City “transplant” population
  WESST (Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team), SCORE, and other economic development service agencies
































4. What are your administrative, faculty, and staff human resources? What key factors

determine how you organize and use them?


WNMU employs 106 faculty, 282 staff members, and 519 student workers. Breakdowns by administrative unit are provided in figure O4.1.


Western New Mexico University is committed to providing equal educational and employment opportunity regardless of sex, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, handicaps, or military involvement (veteran or disabled veteran, including Vietnam era). Equal educational opportunity includes recruitment and admission; access to courses and facilities; access to counseling, testing, and tutoring services; housing; financial assistance and student employment; health and insurance services; extracurricular programs and activities; and participation in athletics.


Employee work is managed largely through the areas administered by the four VPs, as depicted in figure O4.1. The institution’s overall work organization is influenced primarily by accreditation factors, quality efforts, programmatic considerations, environmental scanning, financial resources, and existing traditions in higher education.


A specific human resource plan does not exist; however, an AQIP Action Project Team was formed early in 2007 to address this issue. The Human Resources Team has to date identified critical gaps for immediate action and is also, in its bi-weekly meetings, drafting policies and procedures for campus-wide vetting. Each vice president offers suggested changes or needs related to personnel during the budget and strategic planning processes, as well.


Reorganizations occur based on the factors identified above as influencing work organization. Within their areas, VPs or unit leaders are free to organize their units as they deem most appropriate within certain constraints (such as tenure) that impact the work environment at WNMU.


WNMU’s part time employees include 60 to 80 adjunct faculty depending on the semester and less than 5 percent temporary part-time staff. Temporary staff positions receive a contract for no more than twelve months. WNMU work study student employees are hired in virtually every unit/department of the institution and are an integral part of the work environment. Work study students apply through the Financial Aid Office and are assigned based on the interests of the student and the availability of openings in a particular department or unit. Not listed in figure O4.1, but certainly a part of our workforce, are the part-time volunteers that staff the WILL office, the WNMU Call Center, and other areas on campus.


Each VP prioritizes personnel, capital equipment, and critical program needs.  These prioritized lists feed directly into university level decisions regarding priorities and greatly facilitate budget preparation and execution. Decisions related to workforce needs are influenced by long-term market trends and environmental factors affecting higher education—one key being technology. The proliferation of non-traditional educational opportunities and distance education provided via ITV, Web, and other means creates new competitors almost daily and influences the type of employee WNMU now seeks.



5. What strategies align your leadership, decision-making, and communication processes with your mission and values, the policies and requirements of your oversight entities, and your legal, ethical, and social responsibilities?


The Board of Regents (BOR) ensures the University has an effective President, an appropriate vision and mission, and sets general policies. Four WNMU BOR members serve staggered six-year terms with the student regent serving a two-year term. The Governor of NM, WNMU’s President, and Faculty, Staff and Student Senate Presidents are ex-officio, non-voting BOR members. A minimum of four BOR meetings is required annually. HED coordinates higher education activities in the state.


Internal strategies that align WNMU’s leadership, decision-making, and communication processes with the Mission, values, requirements and responsibilities are developed largely through the strategic planning process (SPP). For the WNMU 2009-2012 strategic plan, these include:


v  Serve identified key markets and aggressively recruit and retain students from these markets, while remaining open to new opportunities as informed by University assessment methods and strategies.


v  Create, expand, and market programs and services to meet customer needs identified through various assessments and environmental changes.


v  Meet or exceed the customer service and support needs of our students.


v  Identify and use benchmarks to help evaluate and improve external and internal supplier/vendor relationships that impact students, such as bookstore, food service, and residence hall facilities, practices, and policies.

v  Better prepare present and future students for their higher education experience. (cf. ASC, Admissions, and Financial Aid services)


v  Create an environment that supports faculty and staff dedication to WNMU’s mission, vision and values.


v  Use effective and inclusive communication strategies and processes.


v  Create educational services that enhance WNMU’s relationship with its education and economic development partners.


v  Continue to assess community needs, such as alumni, DOL, HED, regional residents, etc., and implement actions to meet those needs.


v  Regularly review existing processes, programs, and practices to evaluate whether there are “smarter” and more cost effective ways to accomplish them.


v  Regularly inform stakeholders.


v  Regularly seek stakeholder feedback.

6. What strategies align your key administrative support goals with your mission and values? What services, facilities, and equipment do you provide to achieve them?


The WNMU strategic planning process (SPP) is the primary context in which key administrative support goals are aligned with the mission, vision and values of the University. The SPP process is presented in detail in Category 8P1.1. Strategies most directly linked to key administrative support processes fall under Strategic Challenge 2: “Improve, broaden, and sustain a quality life experience for all WNMU students,” and include:

Strategy 2.1   Meet or exceed the customer service and support needs of our students.

Strategy 2.2   Define and implement a student complaint process that incorporates continuous monitoring and evaluation of its effectiveness.

Strategy 2.3   Identify and use benchmarks to help evaluate and improve external and internal supplier/vendor relationships that impact students,  such as bookstore, food service, and residence hall facilities, practices, and policies.

Strategy 2.4   Expand and broaden student curricular and extracurricular activities at all campuses and in their respective communities.

Strategy 2.5   Systematically promote cultural awareness and appreciation within the institution.

Strategy 2.6   Better prepare present and future students for their higher education experience. (cf. ASC, Admissions, and Financial Aid services)

Strategy 2.7   Continue to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of First Year Experience actions in response to the Foundations of Excellence recommendations.


Services, facilities, and equipment provided to support institutional operations include: the Academic Support Center, the Child Development Center, Student Health Services; GED, literacy, ESL and citizenship preparation; Financial Aid services; automated Admissions and Registration processes; the Writing Center; facilities expansion; new student orientations; Student Success Seminars; grant funding to support technology and facilities expansion; It Help Desk; and Advising Space on the web portal, Mustang Express.




7. What determines the data and information you collect and distribute? What information resources and technologies govern how you manage and use data?


Data collection and distribution is determined by a variety of reporting requirements, including:

v  Council of University Presidents annual Performance Effectiveness Reports

v  Volunteer System of Accountability reporting

v  Higher Education reporting requirements (various budgets and audits, Fiscal Watch reports, capital projects requests and updates, Research and Public Service Projects, accreditation self studies, enrollment data)


Data collection occurs at many levels; as its storage and accessibility may vary according to its source and its purpose. Institutional data is now gathered, aggregated and disseminated, as requested, by the Office of Data Analysis & Research. The Director of this office leads the WNMU Data Integrity Team. This group exists to ensure reliability and validity of all data obtained from the SCT Banner system, and develops procedures for data reporting.


Recent development of WNMU by the Numbers, the Institutional Scorecard, has facilitated distribution of data and information related to strategic objectives and targets for improvement in all divisions. It is also a powerful tool for sharing WNMU’s successes.


Department-specific data is collected, stored, and distributed through the department office, usually on Excel spreadsheets. Institutional data is collected in the initial office where it is needed and entered into the Banner system, WNMU’s integrated administrative information system, where it is available to all users. The student/administrative information system includes registration, financial aid, degree audit, finance, and human resource modules and is available through the campus network and via the Web to those with authorized access. The Banner system allows a single point of data entry with availability to all appropriate users. Via Mustang Express, students can access relevant information such as grades, transcripts, and financial aid information; faculty and staff can access information essential to their work responsibilities and personal information such as mailing address, payroll, and leave—all password protected. The library utilizes Voyager software as its primary information system.


Collection and transfer of knowledge among faculty and staff occurs through many mechanisms mentioned previously including VP Councils, Faculty Senate and General Assembly meetings, Staff Senate and General Assembly meetings, departmental meetings, workshops, publications, and cross-functional teams that may include students and external stakeholders, as well as poster sessions sharing assessment and Writing Across the Curriculum information. Mustang Express, the WNMU web portal, email distribution lists, and a variety of WIKI pages enable sharing of information.


Finally, because WNMU is a small campus, distribution of information and best practices frequently occurs by personal interactions. This mechanism is used formally in the strategic planning Communications Tree reporting structure. Other examples of communications techniques used to distribute data and information are provided in figure 5P7.1 WNMU Key Communication Mechanisms.


8. What are the key commitments, constraints, challenges, and opportunities with which you must align your organization’s short- and long-term plans and strategies?


The most significant strategic challenge facing the University today is: cost containment to accommodate national and State of New Mexico financial crises and budget reductions without compromising quality.


WNMU Strategic Challenges as developed in the strategic planning process are:

            1: Increase enrollment and student success.

2:  Improve, broaden, and sustain a quality life experience for all WNMU students.

3: Improve and sustain the welfare, morale, and work effectiveness of all WNMU employees.

4: Sustain and improve a quality technology environment that supports students, faculty, staff, and communities in the use and value of instructional, administrative, and communication technologies.

5: Improve, broaden and sustain WNMU’s economic development, community, regional, and global relationships.

6: Improve fiscal and material resources in order to address the needs identified in the strategic plan.

7:  Increase accountability to all stakeholders.

By 2012, general education elements and undergraduate hands-on practice will be integrated into programmatic coursework; classes and student services will be offered in a variety of modalities; enrollment will be continuous; and technological means of teaching, learning, and communication will be dominantly facilitated by wireless connectivity. Nationally recognized teacher education, business and economic development, health professions, social work, law enforcement, and early childhood development programs will attract students seeking the best education possible from the Southwest, Mexico, and Asia. Adult Education Services (AES) will continue to support high quality literacy, ESL, and GED programs. Wireless technology links will facilitate learning regardless of location. WNMU will be a national leader in the fields of academic advising and international economic development. Students will value active learning practices and demand higher standards from all professors. Faculty effort will focus on curriculum development and design. Scholarly/creative work will focus on teaching and learning. Faculty, staff, and administrative officers will work as a team through their respective governance organizations using the institution’s data warehouse and knowledge management system to support decisions reflective of institutional values. Collaborative relationships with Southwest and international higher education institutions, school systems, health care, and business organizations will facilitate joint programming and internship, clinical, fieldwork, and co-op placement opportunities for students, faculty and staff. WNMU will operate within a fully implemented culture of assessment.

Constraints and challenges include the economic climate world-wide and budget shortfalls in the state of New Mexico. While WNMU is currently experiencing record high enrollments, it is unlikely that state formula funding will fully reflect these increases in the coming years. Another significant constraint lies in the fact that retention rates are calculated on six-year matriculation of baccalaureate (not associate or certificate) students and do not take into consideration transfer students; the combination of these imposed parameters misrepresents WNMU’s graduation rates by nearly 75%.  Information regarding our significant community college role is currently being carried forward to the state level by WNMU administration in an effort to address this situation.


9. What key partnerships and collaborations, external and internal, contribute to your

organization’s effectiveness?


Figure 9P1.1 provides a listing of the institution’s key collaborative relationships and ways these relationships reinforce WNMU’s mission. Involvement in local and statewide groups and initiatives, from the New Mexico Higher Education Department to Quality New Mexico, New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention, and the New Mexico Council for Higher Education Computing/Communication Service, provide faculty and staff with opportunities to serve and to contribute to organizational learning.


The SPP, President’s Cabinet, and SEAT consider which of the various collaborative relationships are of highest priority. This may vary from year to year and within the year as the environment changes. For example, the Displaced Workers’ Assistance Team (DWAT) was formed quickly late last year when a local mine announced that it was effectively ceasing operations. A collaborative relationship between WNMU leadership, Workforce solutions (formerly known as the Department of Labor), industry leaders, local elected officials, and social welfare agencies collaborated to create educational programs and support services for displaced workers. 


Faculty and staff SP Forum participants saw collaborative relationships as enriching WNMU in a variety of ways. As they state it—collaborative relationships encourage development of new programs, enable WNMU to utilize expertise it does not have internally, create and validate ideas, enhance diversity, provide additional sources of stakeholder feedback, add to WNMU’s technical support, provide an external source of funding, encourage the institution to stay at the cutting edge in many areas, facilitate responsiveness to accepting change, and shape the direction of instruction and curriculum.


WNMU also benefits from the key partnerships established and strengthened from its newest division, the Office of Institutional Advancement. Efforts to enhance relationships with alumni, donors, and the community through Institutional Advancement strategic planning and marketing initiatives are producing results that are detailed in Category 2. 



PO Box 680  Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6149     Fax: 575-538-6243