The search for a new student regent continues, as student governing entities have interviewed and selected potential candidates that they believed will be suitable to help decide the strategic direction of the University, and also be the voice of the student body.
“Student regent is the only member of the Board (of Regents) to walk, live and breath the UNM community on a daily basis,” said current Student Regent Ryan Berryman, whose term finishes at the end of the month. “It is vital to bring that grassroots perspective to the board.”
Potential candidates have already been interviewed, and a short list has been sent to UNM President Bob Frank for consideration. The selected candidate must be approved by Gov. Susana Martinez.
The committee in charge of finding Berryman’s successor — a diverse group of student leaders — was looking for qualities in candidates that exemplified a commitment to serving UNM students, said Kyle Biederwolf, Associated Students of UNM president. Specifically, sought-after traits include an understanding of challenges facing the University, and those that possess critical thinking skills that could help solve these challenges.
“The committee recognized that the student regent position is a difficult one to take on, and we were looking for candidates who demonstrated the maturity and integrity to hold a voting position on the Board of Regents,” he said.
The expectation of the student regent is to responsibly make long term decisions that are in line with the University’s mission, and represents the interests of the whole student body, Biederwolf said.
“We are confident that the applicants we sent forward will be able to enthusiastically take on this role,” he said.
Undergraduate candidates — who would not be disclosed to the Daily Lobo in order to retain their confidentiality — were asked a series of questions by the committee in an effort to get information about their motivations for filling the seat of student regent, as well as their experience and an idea of what they would like to accomplish if selected.
The Graduate and Professional Student Association submitted its own list of candidates to Frank, according to GPSA president Glenda Lewis, consisting of eight students the graduate student governing body felt would serve UNM and had experience with community engagement and effective communication, and who could solve problems.
Lewis said GPSA officials hope that the student regent chosen will be in communication with the student body and are aware of the needs of the University, she said, adding that the candidate should be an advocate for student issues and concerns, as well as a liaison between students, administration, and the Board of Regents.
“The learning opportunities are endless in the position of student regent,” Berryman said. “New endeavors and issues are discussed at nearly every meeting. A student regent is sure to learn more about higher education, finances, management, local politics, student success and more.”
In addition to the position being a great learning experience, Berryman said he felt his opinions were heard and valued on the board.
In a recent Academic Student Affairs and Research meeting, he said that becoming a student regent is much like having a full-time job.
The ASAR committee went on to thank Berryman for his contributions to the University, despite his term being short.
His main goal as regent was to help move UNM forward, and he said he is proud of the direction the University is heading.
Student regents fulfill a unique and vital duty to their constituents, with their success relying on how much they want to give back to the University.
“One of the biggest challenges for a student regent is to always remain forward thinking,” Berryman said. “Some hard decisions may have to be made in the present for the benefit of the University two, five, or ten years down the road. I am incredibly thankful to have worked with a board who values my opinion.”
Nikole McKibben is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nmckibben92.