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Higher Education Secretary still wants consolidation

January 3, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A state higher education official said she will continue to push for additional research into possible consolidation among New Mexico’s two-year colleges.

Higher Education Department Secretary Barbara Damron said she was disappointed to hear that a committee did not recommend changes to the state’s governance of its large array of colleges and universities, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday.

Currently, there are 21 governing boards that manage the state’s 31 public institutions.

After researching higher education systems in other states and considering various scenarios, the committee decided that centralizing the state’s system through a single “super-board” would not save New Mexico more money and could possibly lead to complications.

It also dismissed two ideas of a two-board model. The first suggested one board would be responsible for all four-year institutions while the other would handle only two-year institutions. The second envisioned one board overseeing all schools in the north while the other would oversee all schools in the south.

“There was not a silver bullet, magic answer to how we as a state should be governed,” Damron said. ”(But) I do not feel keeping our 21 governing boards is the way to go.”

Instead of changing the current governance model, the committee suggested reforming the Higher Education Department, said Joe Shepard, committee co-chair and Western New Mexico University president.

The committee recommends moving away from cabinet-level agency under a governor appointee and changing to a council with representatives from the several institutions.

The shift could help maintain stability between administrations, Shepard said.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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