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Friday, November 28, 2014

Board of Regents approves long-sought-after Chicana and Chicano studies major and related certificate programs

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Forty-two years after plans were set in motion, a Chicana and Chicano Studies major exists at UNM.

Chicana Studies student Olivia Romo said this is an important step for her and the University.

“Being from Taos and being from a very rural community was difficult to make it. When I got here, this program really embraced me and kind of helped me figure out my profession and my goals for the future. This degree is going to help provide me with a career,” Romo said.

A unanimous vote at Monday’s Board of Regents meeting was the final step in creating the major. Cheers could be heard from outside the SUB ballroom after the proposal was approved.

“This is a historic moment and I feel very empowered to be one of the first to graduate from UNM with a major in Chicana Studies,” Romo said.

The regents also approved certificates in transnational Chicano studies and in New Mexico cultural landscapes. The certificates each require 15 credit hours of relevant courses in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Regents also discussed dwindling Lottery Scholarship funds, which are projected to run out this July. ASUNM President Caroline Muraida urged regents away from what she called the “butcher’s cleaver” approach of broad funding cuts, and stressed what she called a “scalpel” approach. Muraida said officials should re-evaluate the terms of the Lottery Scholarship by taking student income levels into consideration.

The scholarship awards full tuition for all students from New Mexico and the award is based on the student’s ability to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and take 12 credit hours per semester, among other restrictions.

“The percentage of award will be based on your ability to pay. If you are high income you will receive less than low-income students,” Muraida said. “We’re pushing for both a merit and needs-based approach.”

Members of the board said that it may take about a year to work out all of the issues with the Lottery Scholarship.

Regents also discussed UNM 2020, a four-part initiative to modernize UNM for the 21st century. According to the meeting agenda, the four parts of UNM 2020 include setting objectives for the University to meet by 2020; creating meaningful, measurable goals for those objectives; making sure resources are available to accomplish those objectives; and ensuring additional growth is possible beyond these set goals.

At the meeting, regents set up seven goals for UNM 2020, including jumpstarting local economic development, increasing research at the University, using UNM to enhance public health in New Mexico and working to prepare graduates for “lifelong success.” Regents said they will reconsider these goals again in March when voting on a final draft of the proposal.

The regents also approved an expansion of the lease of the building that houses the Configurable Space Microsystems Innovations and Application Center (COSMIAC), an aerospace and defense-research center working with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The expansion to the lease of building would add more than2700 square feet to the building’s current 7800 square feet. The cost for the lease, including this expansion, would be $117,543 for FY 2014, and would come out of the appropriations to UNM Institutional and General funding.

The board also approved the first of three phases for the McKinnon Family Tennis Center at the south campus Athletics Complex. The first phase will include construction of six of these courts. The project will ultimately consist of a clubhouse, 12 playing courts and associated infrastructure. All three phases of the project will cost $1.2 million and are funded by private donations. As of now, the complex has seven outdoor courts, fewer than the required number needed to host Mountain West Conference tennis championships.