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NMJC approves pay raises, budget

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NMJC approves pay raises, budget

New Mexico Junior College Board members provided good news to staff, employees and president of the college at Thursday’s board meeting.

In fiscal year 2019, staff members will receive a three percent pay increase and hourly employees a 25 cent an hour increase. The board also extended NMJC president Kelvin Sharp’s contract to June 30, 2021, and increased his salary from $223,000 per year to $229,600 per year.

Those increases are part of the fiscal year 2019 budget of $28,860,162, approved at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. It is an increase of $1.2 million from the 2018 budget.

“I am excited for our employees,” Sharp said. “I know the board appreciates all the work they do and wish they could do more for them. We are grateful the legislatures approved a pay raise for higher education and we are grateful to pass it along.”

The board also approved a request from, Dan Hardin, NMJC vice president for finance, for an additional $5,150,000 to be allocated to capital outlay projects. Friday, Hardin said the money he requested is available from the 2018 budget.

Hardin’s report on the financial condition of the college indicated the school’s finances are in good shape. Friday, he said the financial condition of the college is likely to stay good because of “conservative budgeting.”

In addition to providing good news for Sharp, staff and hourly employees, the board listened to reports from the math department and the training and outreach department.

Math professor Shyla McGill reported that the college celebration of Pi Day on March 14.

“We started small in 2015,” McGill said. “We held the first one in Heidel Hall and 400 people came. In 2016 we worked with Hobbs schools and 1,750 came even though it was a Monday. In 2017, we had 100 booths at the Event Center and we were there this year with an attendance of 2,500. This isn’t a math and science event anymore. Every department helps. And we have volunteers from the community, from the high schools, and a motorcycle club. People came from Odessa and Midland, one (from the) University of Texas at El Paso brought his family.”

McGill said financing the event has become a problem, in part because of the slowdown of the oil and gas economy.

“We’re already planning for next year’s Pi Day,” McGill said.”Our volunteers are enthusiastic and we believe we will get the funds we need for another great day.”

Vice president for training and outreach, Jeff McCool, introduced director of the New Mexico Research Foundation, Dale Gannaway, who showed members of the board a shiny, stainless steel device that he describe as a “downhole tool” invented by a local entrepreneur. The college’s research foundation is working to help the inventor patent and develop the tool and sell it to oil companies to enhance production, Gannaway said.

The board then heard a summation of the quarterly report from Larry Sanderson, vice president of development, institutional effectiveness and accreditation. His report indicated that NMJC is experiencing a high level of success in both the training and the academic departments at the school. It is attracting and retaining students in both departments.

Sanderson did not tell the board he will be moving into a different role on July 1. He did provide information about the move to staff members in an email earlier in the week. According to his letter, he is scheduled to become vice president for instruction when Dennis Atherton, who now holds that position, retires effective July 1.

“I am very excited about the impending move. I am truly looking forward to working more closely with faculty and deans as you do your work of educating our students,” Sanderson wrote.

In the same email, Sanderson said Lisa Crandall, dean of the business, math and science department will leave NMJC to become the vice president for academics at Vernon College in Vernon, Texas.

Sanderson also told staff that the New Mexico Higher Education Department (HED) “is mandating changes in the general education curriculum, common course numbering, changes in the way new programs are approved, and mandating creation of new meta-majors that facilitate transfer from community colleges to baccalaureate institutions.”

Both the HED and the Public Education Department are looking at changes in the way dual credit programs operate in New Mexico, Sanderson said. However, Sanderson said the HED policy director assured him that “NMJC is the gold standard in dual credit in New Mexico and the last thing we intend to do is force changes to your system.”

Sanderson’s letter emphasized that changes are coming and “We just need to be ready for them.”

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