WNMU Football def. Western State (Colo.)

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From the WSC web site:

Western New Mexico rushed for 287 yards and scored a 24-0 victory over Western State today at Mountaineer Bowl.

Western New Mexico improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in RMAC play. Western State fell to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in conference.

Dakota Woodard led the Mustangs with 14 rushes for 105 yards, while Lateef Azziz rushed 16 times for 78 yards and Rod Windsor went eight times for 55 yards.

As a team, Western New Mexico gained 396 yards of total offense.

After a missed Western State field goal attempt, Western New Mexico jumped on the board with a 15-yard pass from Windsor to Josh Gill. The Mustangs held a 10-0 lead at the half on a 27-yard field goal.

Windsor opened the scoring in the second half with a 27-yard run and then Gill and Windsor connected again for a score – this time from 61 yards out.

WNMU ‘Focus on the Future’ forum

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6:07 — Due to the weather, looks like the forum is going to start bit late. Be back when things get underway.

6:15 — Looks like we’re getting things started.

6:19 — Dr. Counts: two purposes of the meeting tonight: information on the university, and what the school was doing, and to plan for the future.

6:22 — Counts: interesting the ways in which change has occured throughout the world since I took over in 1993, in terms of economy, information technology, etc.

6:23 — Moving on to the transition to a university and a community college. Focus remains on education, but Counts said WNMU is the only school in New Mexico that serves as a community college and university.

6:26 — Counts says there’s been a shift, as the school has expanded througout the state. Focus on Gallup, T or C, Deming, and the associated programs there.

6:29 — Counts: Now we have distance learning in Silver City, linked with Quemado, Reserve, Magdaleno, Lordsburg, and soon in Socorro. Also have connections with T or C and with Deming. 861 students took classes online last year, a 20 percent increase year over year.

6:33 — “In the history of teacher education in New Mexico, nobody’s ever done better than we’ve done.”

6:38 — Average age of a full-time incoming freshman is 23; average age of underclass is 27; for graduate students, 39.

6:41 — Counts: We’re measured by the number of faculty who have the appropriate terminal degree, and at Western 90.8 % and 92% have the appropriate terminal degree.

6:46 — $40 million in capital improvements in the last 10 to 12 years.

6:50 — Counts: “Here we have the largest collection of Mimbres pottery in the world. We have the possibility of getting some additional collections, but the museum is going to need to be renovated.”

6:54 — Counts: “I think the longer I’m here, the more it occurs to me how vital this university is to economic development.”

6:59 — Getting into enrollment – impact for next budget year, will be slightly more than $300,000, or two-percent smaller.

7:04 — “The most important thing for success of children in schools is the quality of the teacher. We need more teachers, and there is an incredible shortage of teachers in this country, particularly in rural areas.”

7:10 — “Compensation: people aren’t paid enough. That’s our number one priority at the next legislative session.”

7:12 — Question and answer session.

7:14 — Discussion of the impacts of the economy on enrolment at schools acros the country and New Mexico. Counts says that new Mexico Junior College and Clovis Community College are facing enrollment issues worse than WNMU.

7:26 — Lot’s of discussion on the role of the school of education, and the programs being created there. In addition, talk of the ways in which WNMU can help to improve education across the board in the state.

7:30 — Shorter Faye Vowell, VP of academic affairs: “Women are more likely to pass math classes than males at WNMU.”

7:38 — Judy Ward: we need more training for service workers in the town to improve the tourism base in Grant County.

7:46 — Chris Farren, VP of student affairs, talking about the ways in which the school is recruiting younger students. Talk of making sure graduates and students are proficient in computers.

7:55 — Sunny McFarren, Gila Regional Medical Center: “We’re handicapped by a lack of classroom space, and we’d like to partner with WNMU for certain classes to help support the hospital.”

8:01 — Randy Jones, VP of business affairs, talking about the ways in which the university and the town can work on projects cooperatively. Also, discussion on increasing visibility of the university throughout the town.

8:04 — We’re done! More tomorrow.

WNMU Enrollment over the last three years

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Looking toward tonight’s “Focus on the Future” event at Western New Mexico University, I threw together this chart to highlight the growing problem of declining enrollment at the school.

WNMU Credit Hours

In blue are the credit hours for lower division courses, while the numbers in green and red indicate upper and graduate division courses, respectively.

To understand the significance of this chart (aside from the way the blue line is moving) you need to know how colleges in New Mexico are funded. It’s an incredibly complex formula, which I will condense for you thusly: schools are compensated by the state for the classes they teach. For every credit hour at WNMU, the state pays the school based on the type of course taken. Graduate level courses mean more money than lower division classes.

WNMU has been trying to increase enrollment in upper and graduate level courses (since those pay out more) and it looks like the trend there is OK. Upper level courses are increasing, while credit hours for graduate classes remains basically flat, though trending down. That’s not bad, if you have the lower-division courses to back it up.

We can expect to here more about this from Counts this evening.

Oh, for a look at the numbers as provided by the Higher Education Department, download this: WNMU_Enrollment FY05-06.pdf (Acrobat reader required).

Liveblogging WNMU’s Focus on the Future forum

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Tomorrow evening, univesity President John Counts will present a forum called “Focus on the Future,” at Western New Mexico University. I’ll be attending the event, and, thanks to the wonderful Wi-Fi access at the school, hope to live-blog the forum as well.

I’m interested in hearing what Counts has to say about WNMU, which has seen some stunning successes in the past few years. The university received the Zia Award for quality in 2004, and continues to excel with its nursing and education programs.

Unfortunately, a drawn-out battle for unionization and a large drop in enrollment have also impacted the school.

I think enrollment will continue to be an issue, and I wonder how well the university will adapt. If Eastern Arizona University’s plans to become a four-year school are approved, that might siphon some propsects from our western neighbor who might otherwise attend WNMU. In addition, a low unemployment rate might play a role.

Counts has about three years left on his contract. When he leaves, he’ll have served as president for something like 17 years. It might be time to start planning for a legacy…

Anyhoo, stay tuned tomorrow — if the wi-fi is working, I’ll start blogging at 6 p.m.

Un-snubbed

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Looks like I’m heading to the WNMU “Focus on the Future” forum after all. Carmen Maynes, in the president’s office at the school, called today to offer me a seat. The event will be packed, apparently — Maynes said she didn’t get an invite either.

Snubbed by WNMU

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Several things have been happening with Western New Mexico University recently to suggest the school is working on its image. The first sign was a call from university spokeswoman Julie Morales several weeks ago, when she told the Daily Press that university president John Counts would be meeting one-on-one with members of the community.

We were told at the time that a meeting with Daily Press staff would be scheduled. Then, we heard nothing.

Last week, two invitiations were sent to our office for a ‘presidential forum,’ to be hosted by Counts on August 3. While the university is my beat, invitations were sent to our publisher, Tina Ely, and my colleague Mary Alice Murphy.

Now, Tina wasn’t going to be able to attend, so when Mary Alice called and RSVP’d, she informed the university I would be going instead. This morning, we received a call from the president’s office stating the event is “invitation only,” and that those not on the guest list would not be allowed inside.

I guess the university doesn’t want me there.