Commentary: The New Mexico State University Board of Regents will soon begin a series of public forums as the group begins its search for the university’s next chancellor. During the board’s meeting Thursday evening, Regent Mike Cheney was appointed to chair the search process. Cheney chaired the Board of Regents during the last search five years ago when Garrey Carruthers was named chancellor. Regents noted the importance of keeping the campus and the communities served by NMSU informed during the process.
“Selection of the next chancellor of NMSU is the most important job our Board of Regents will perform,” said Debra Hicks, chair of the NMSU Board of Regents. “In this early stage, we have received valuable input from numerous stakeholders. In the upcoming weeks, we will host public forums seeking input on the assimilated job criteria for the individual who will lead the university where we want to be in the next decade and we encourage everyone’s participation.”
While dates for the public forums/listening sessions are still being set, the events will take place in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants and Albuquerque and should be completed by early November. Regents stressed the job description and the selection criteria for the next chancellor will not be finalized until after Regents hear from individuals during the open forums.
Regents outlined several high-level characteristics they are looking for in the university’s next leader, including:
• A demonstrated track record of improving the performance of higher education institutions;
• An appreciation for the significance of minority-serving institutions and land-grant institutions and the important roles they play for students and the state;
• The ability to connect with the university’s many generations of alumni;
• Flexibility to adapt to the changing landscape of higher education and the understanding of how the needs of the higher education consumer have changed over time;
• The ability to connect NMSU with the communities it serves, especially as a driver of economic development;
• An understanding that athletics is the front porch of the university and responsible for generating positive public relations; and
• Appropriately value shared governance in alignment with the best practices at other high-performing universities.
Regents said the next chancellor should also be outcomes-driven, have the ability to break down silos and should be a Level 5 leader who values the interests of the enterprise.
“I believe we can have continued stability at NMSU by building on our existing momentum,” Cheney said. “We need our next chancellor to be someone with strong, decisive leadership that supports a clear course for the future success of this university. The successful candidate will work closely with Regents to quickly attack areas lacking efficiency while realizing the only way for NMSU to excel in the new state of higher education is to focus on revenue opportunities. We need an industry leading visionary who leverages best practices.”
During their meeting Thursday, Regents said that over the past few weeks, they had engaged in meetings with more than 40 stakeholders, including higher education administrators, deans, NMSU’s faculty senate chair, the ASNMSU president, the university’s vice president for student affairs, the employee council chair, donors, elected officials, New Mexico Department of Agriculture representatives, business leaders and leaders from high performing higher education institutions, to seek input on the key leadership attributes needed to lead NMSU into the next decade of high performing success. They said the meetings were informative and reinforced the passion and commitment of the university’s stakeholder while also affirming the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Regents plan to finalize the composition of their search committee at their November meeting based on broad stakeholder representation and diversity. Regents also plan to select a search firm at that time. The search committee will recommend finalists to the Board of Regents with on-campus interviews and public forums with the candidates to follow. It’s anticipated the selection of NMSU’s next chancellor to be announced in May.