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ENMU cultivates STEM project

Staff writer

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Eastern New Mexico University’s Board of Regents approved a list of funding requests to the state Department of Higher Education for the fiscal year 2016 at its Friday meeting.

Scott Smart, vice president of ENMU’s business affairs, said seven of the eight funding requests through what is know as the Research and Public Service Project were for established programs.

The new project is to cultivate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, said Scott Smart, vice president of ENMU’s business affairs. The request was for $180,000.

“We asked for this new project as all of New Mexico is needing more people in the STEM field,” Smart said.

ENMU President Steve Gamble said the project could get additional funding as it is a goal for all New Mexico colleges to improve their STEM programs.

Patrice Caldwell, executive director of planning and analysis, told the board that only three of the seven existing programs got a 10 percent increase in requests.

Three of the funding request — athletics, KENW-TV and the nursing program — included a 10 percent increase from last year.

The athletics program requested $2.4 million, KENW requested $1.22 million and nursing asked for $283,100.

The athletics program provides support for student athletes in 13 sports, grants-in-aid, training and competition equipment and funding for away game travel. KENW partially funds the public television station, education programming and hands-on training for students.

Nursing program expansion funds incentive scholarships for nurses pursuing master of science degrees in nursing (MSN) and provides funding for instructional materials and salary stipends for doctorate-prepared nursing faculty.

“You have the away trips for athletics and the equipment for KENW that they have to do, but they spend more than they get,” Gamble said.

The other projects on the list included Blackwater Draw, student success, at-risk students and allied health, which includes social work and the speech/hearing rehab clinic.

Blackwater Draw’s request was $95,700, student success was $454,500, at-risk students was $244,800 and allied health was $155,200.

Project requests will be reviewed by the New Mexico Higher Education Department prior to the 2015 legislative session.