It’s no secret that one of the more pressing issues facing New Mexico is education.

In higher education specifically, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has an unprecedented number of university governing positions to fill. At the University of New Mexico, she will have to replace five of seven regents whose terms have expired.

The unusual number of appointments stems from a legislative standoff. The Democratic-led Senate’s staged a years-long denial to act on former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s nominees for UNM regent positions. Martinez granted recess appointments to allow members to continue service despite term expirations.

Martinez most recently extended Regent Tom Clifford and Student Regent Garrett Adcock’s service until Dec. 31, 2018.

The board is facing increased scrutiny over its handling of issues ranging from financial crises from Athletics department, which led to the cutting of sports, declining enrollment and low payment for faculty, among others.

The Associated Students of UNM wrote to Lujan Grisham immediately after the election, demanding a more diverse Board of Regents that reflects the student body

Lujan Grisham instated advisory committees to facilitate interviews and vet candidates for the positions in late December 2018.

Albuquerque attorney and former UNM regent, Roberta Ramo, is leading the search on UNM applicants.

Other universities also have appointments to be filled.

New Mexico State’s former chancellor, Garrey Carruthers, who also served as Governor in the 80’s, will evaluate candidates for NMSU and New Mexico Tech.

NM Tech Associate Vice President for Research, Carlos Rey Romero, heads the committee the rest of the institutions across the state, a list that includes Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico Highlands University.

Danielle Prokop is a senior reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at or on Twitter @ProkopDani.