1.00 NMSU Structure of Governance

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: RPM Title 1 | Institutional Governance

Policy Administrator:

Last Updated: 05/06/2022



Revision History:

08/30/2023 Title change from "Chancellor" to "President"
Recompiled 2017
03/06/2017 Policy adopted by the Board of Regents
05/06/2022 Policy revision adopted by the Board of Regents

A. History

New Mexico State University was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College. The Territorial Legislature of 1889 established the land-grant Agricultural College and Experiment Station, which officially opened on January 21, 1890.

During its first full academic year, the college became known as the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, the first degree granting institution in the Territory. Under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862 and subsequent federal legislation, the special mission of land-grant institutions has been to provide a liberal and practical education for students and to sustain programs of research, extension education, and public service.

In 1960, New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts became New Mexico State University (NMSU).

B. Mission

The mission of the New Mexico State University system is to serve the diverse needs of the state through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension and outreach, and public service.  As the state’s land-grant and space-grant university, and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, NMSU fosters learning, inquiry, diversity and inclusion, social mobility, and service to the broader community.

C. Establishment and Governance

The New Mexico Constitution establishes New Mexico State University as one of the state’s postsecondary educational institutions, and requires the legislature to provide for the control and management of the institution through a five member Board of Regents (Board), which serves as the governing body for both New Mexico State University as well as for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA).

D. Board of Regents Authority and Responsibility

The authority and responsibility of the Regents to control and manage the institution is prescribed by the legislature in state statutes. See Appendix RPM 1.00 – A for additional details related to the Board’s constitutional and statutory authority related to NMSU and NMDA.

In order to fulfill those responsibilities, the Board has adopted and will be governed by the Bylaws of the Regents of New Mexico State University. The Bylaws include information about internal operations of the Board, related to Board member duties and responsibilities, meeting notice and agenda preparation, and details about established Board of Regents committees (See Appendix RPM 1.00 – B Bylaws of the Regents of New Mexico State University.)

The Board carries out the duties and functions authorized by law and specified in this policy manual including, but not limited to the following:

  • The Board appoints the President of the university and the director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and delegates authority to implement the directives and policy decisions of the Board.
  • The Board adopts and files, in accordance with the State Rules Act [14-4-1 NMSA 1978], regulations as may be necessary to carry out the duties of NMDA.
  • The Board adopts Regents’ policies for the governance of the University, and periodically reviews the Regents’ Policy Manual for compliance and revision.
  • The Board approves the annual operating budget submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department and any Budget Adjustment Requests (BAR) that may be required.
  • The Board may establish or abolish from time to time such offices and positions as may be necessary to support the Board in their governance and policy-making roles on behalf of the university and the NMDA.
  • The Board of Regents approves conferral of degrees, including honorary degrees, and the creation, reorganization, relocation, or elimination of any academic organizational unit, degree or major field of study. The Board considers proposed rules establishing student admission criteria. (RPM 4.00)
  • The Board adopts a campus master plan and approves significant real estate, tangible property, and water rights transactions which would permanently affect NMSU’s rights in real estate, asset inventory or water rights and may determine the use of any funds derived from these transactions. (RPM 12.00, ARP 12.90)
  • The Board approves any new or significantly revised capital project that results in the addition of building square footage or the demolition of all or any portion of existing buildings. (RPM 12.00, ARP 12.30)
  • The Board approves any proposal to issue bonds for capital improvements. (RPM 12.00)
  • The Board approves the funding for the acquisition, restoration or preservation, improvements or deaccession of certain types of art, archives and other collections. (RPM 12.50)
  • The Board approves the addition or elimination of athletic programs, and approves changes in conference membership. (RPM 17.00)
  • The Board approves naming the university’s major physical entities including buildings, structures, indoor and outdoor spaces, academic and administrative organizational units at the college, school or department level or above. (RPM 18.00)

E. Role of the University General Counsel

The University General Counsel (UGC) attorneys represent the interests of the Regents of New Mexico State University (NMSU) as a constitutionally recognized legal entity (applicable to each NMSU component and NMDA), acting through its Board of Regents (Board). The general counsel, also referred to as chief legal affairs officer, reports functionally to both the Board of Regents and to the President, and reports administratively to the President.  The general counsel is selected by the President, upon consultation with the chair of the Board of Regents.

F. Shared Governance

Shared governance refers to the governance of the university in which responsibility is shared among the Board of Regents, the faculty and the administration, system-wide. Consistent with the principles of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the general faculty are represented through the Faculty Senate and other faculty representatives. For purposes of this policy, the President and respective direct reports, will be collectively referred to as “administration”.

The following directives apply to the practice of shared governance of the university:

  1. The Board of Regents governs the NMSU system, by the enactment of policies and by its delegation of operational authority through the President.
  2. The administration has responsibility for and will involve faculty in strategic plan development, budget, operational policy development and process. With the exception of interim appointments, the administration will involve faculty in the selection process of academic and other executive administrators.
  3. The faculty has responsibility for and will involve administration in areas of curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.

G. Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate has legislative prerogative to initiate and develop rules and procedures affecting the university’s academic mission in regard to education, research, and service, including but not limited to the Administrative Rules and Procedures of NMSU and the Course Catalog. The NMSU Faculty Senate Constitution provides specifications relating to the Faculty Senate’s composition, elections, terms of office, officers, committees, meetings, legislative processes, and methods to amend the constitution.  See Appendix –RPM 1.00 – C –Constitution of the Faculty Senate. Additional details about the operation of the Faculty Senate are contained in the Faculty Senate Bylaws.

In accordance with principles of shared governance and in recognition of the critical role of the Faculty Senate in formulating academic policy:

  1. The Faculty Senate will develop recommendations for changes to academic policy, including modifications of programs, adding or removing programs and other matters directly relevant to the faculty experience in the classroom.
  2. Recommendations (or propositions) affecting academic policy approved by the Faculty Senate are subject to acceptance or veto by the President.
    1. The President will propose recommendations or propositions for consideration to the Board in accordance with the Board of Regents Bylaws.
    2. If a proposition or recommendation is denied or vetoed by the President, the President will inform the Board and faculty senate regarding this decision.
  3. Faculty Senate legislation will become effective upon approval by the Board of Regents or by the President’s delegated authority.

In recognition of the commitment required to serve as officers of Faculty Senate, the chair and vice chair of the Senate will be provided with commensurate compensation for their time and effort based on their teaching load. The chair of the Faculty Senate will serve as an Advisory Member to the Board of Regents and the vice chair may serve as a proxy if the Faculty Senate chair is not available.