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Saturday, December 20, 2014

‘Conditional’ admissions mulled

K-12 prep inadequate for UNM admissions

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By Ruby Santos / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Terry Babbitt, associate vice president for enrollment management, presents at the regents Academic/Student Affairs and Research Committee meeting on Wednesday. Babbitt said that although the University has continued to increase admissions requirements for incoming freshmen, a summer-school program should be included in admissions requirements for certain students who have low ACT scores or did not pass the Standards-Based Assessment.

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Although the University has increased admission requirements for incoming freshmen, about 1,500 freshmen enrolled at UNM this fall need at least one remedial course.

The grade point average requirement for incoming freshmen has increased one-tenth of a point every year since fall 2010, when the requirement for incoming freshmen was a 2.2 GPA. The current GPA requirement is a 2.4.

Students seeking admission must also have an additional social sciences and lab science course since the 2010 requirements change. By fall 2013, admissions requirements will include a 2.5 GPA and an increase in the number of math courses from three courses to four.

At an regents Academic/Student Affairs and Research Committee Meeting on Wednesday, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Terry Babbitt said the administration needs to find new ways to address the level of education incoming freshman receive before they enter the University.

“We are not in an environment where we can walk away and say they are better prepared, they are going to do better,” he said. “We are not anywhere near the level of preparation that doesn’t take tons of resources and tons of interventions.”

According to the 2012 Quality Counts report, an annual report that grades state efforts to improve K-12 public education, New Mexico received a D- and is ranked 47th among the 50 states for quality of its K-12 programs. New Mexico’s rank has continued to drop since 2010, when the state received a C and was ranked 24th. In 2011, New Mexico received a C and was ranked 32nd.

Babbitt said one option for addressing the situation is a “conditional” admission program, which would require students who scored below a certain level on the ACT or who did not pass the Standards-Based Assessment for their high school diploma to attend summer school before they are admitted to the University. He said that if students pass a placement test after summer school, the admission status would no longer be conditional.

Babbitt said summer school would include remedial courses as well as UNM credit courses that would be taught on campus. He said the Lottery Scholarship would not be available for summer school students.

Faculty
UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said 50 new faculty members were hired this year and that the University has began a national search for a dean of the Honors College and a vice president for research. He said that the internal search for the dean of the Office of Graduate Studies is being finalized.

Abdallah said an internal search began for an interim law school dean after the confirmation of former law school Dean Kevin Washburn to serve as Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Department of Interior and that a national search will follow for the position permanently. He said two candidates for the position have been reviewed so far.