Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Welcome to new Director of Student Services

UNM-Gallup bids a warm welcome to Jeannie Baca who joined our campus on February 24th as the new Director of Student Affairs.  Ms. Baca comes to UNM-G from Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque where she was the Associate Dean of the School of Applied Technologies.  In her new position, Ms. Baca will oversee all functions of student services including enrollment, registration, advisement, financial aid and student life.
                In an effort to become acquainted with the campus, Ms. Baca has introduced herself to her staff and all those she encounters on campus and has been asking lots of questions.  “Marcus Largo and a couple of outgoing and friendly student ambassadors gave me a first class campus tour and shared their perspectives on student life,” noted Ms. Baca who has also made it a point to meet with each of her direct reports, the faculty division chairs, the Dean of Instruction and the local advisory board members.  In her first staff meeting with Student Services staff, she shared background about herself and used it as an opportunity to highlight “bright spots,” teamwork and customer service.
                In her new role, Ms. Baca has several main goals for UNM-Gallup.  “My top priority is to work with staff and faculty to ensure that students and the UNM-G community receive exceptional and efficient service and to create a welcoming and supportive environment that fosters student engagement, personal growth and student success.”  Secondly, Ms. Baca would like to enhance and build positive interdepartmental relationships through collaboration and open communication.  She would also like to promote UNM-G to our community through active outreach efforts by providing information about the incredible programs we offer.  “Additionally, I look forward to working closely with staff to examine processes and share best practices as well as assess training and support needs to ensure we provide optimal student service.  Much exciting work ahead!  We will work hard and have fun!” adds Director Baca.
                Ms. Baca would like potential UNM-Gallup students to know “UNM-Gallup is a great choice!  We are here to help you achieve your educational and career goals.  We want you to succeed and are here to lift you to new heights.  We are here to serve you and provide you with an exceptional learning experience.  Allow us to be your resource.”
                When asked about challenges and opportunities for the campus as a whole, the answer was characteristically positive. “Staff, faculty, and students have been extremely welcoming and friendly and are sharing ideas on ways to improve departmental communication and collaboration.  I am listening and will continue to seek collective input to ensure we provide exceptional customer service and information to support all aspects of student academic success, safely and student life.”
                Ms. Baca’s office is in the Student Services Technology Center, Room 276.  

(Written by Marilee Petranovich, Marketing and Communications Officer)    

Hero Twins Workshop

The UNM-Gallup campus provided the backdrop for the Hero Twins Workshop which was held in the Calvin Hall Center on Saturday, February 22, 2014. Approximately 200 young Navajo men and boys were instructed in native traditions through a series of workshops presented by the Miss Navajo Council, Inc.  Lectures and interactive workshops were presented in an atmosphere of respect for native cultures and positive life attitudes.
                The Miss Navajo Council, Inc., a non-profit group, is comprised of former Miss Navajo Nation title holders who encourage Navajo communities to become educated in their native traditions and preserve the Dine/Navajo language and culture.  One of the event organizers was Dr. Jennifer Wheeler, assistant English professor at UNM-Gallup, who promotes educational endeavors both inside and outside the classroom.  As a former Miss Navajo, Dr. Wheeler noted that presenters volunteered their time for the event which involved a series of workshops, demonstrations and lectures.  Students, family members and other supporters were encouraged to attend to learn about their Navajo traditions and culture within a supportive environment.

                Workshop Topics and presenters included:
·         Self- Identify of Warrior Twins – Wilson Aronilth, Jr.
·         Importance of Navajo Clans & Kinship – Joe Kee, Jr.
·         Traditional Fire-Making Methods – Gino Antonio
·         Life Principles in Horsemanship – Josephine Tracy & Jaime Begay
·         Respect within the Family & Home – Valonia Hardy, RN & Dr. Michael Tutt, MD
·         My First Hunting Experience – Waunekanez Wheeler
·         Geological Features in and around the Navajo Nation – Dr. Paula Watt

Dr. Lamont Yazzie was the keynote speaker for the morning session and spoke on “The Value of Navajo Heritage, Language & Culture in Education.”  The afternoon session included a presentation by Professor Joe Kee, Jr. on the “Adaptation & Dubbing Process of the Navajo-Dubbed Star Wars Movie.”  Professors Kee and  Wheeler were instrumental in the translation and production of the Navajo Star Wars movie.
                Life principles and Navajo traditions were woven throughout all of the presentations and demonstrations.  All presenters emphasized the importance of learning, recognizing and appreciating the culture and history of the Navajo people.  This is the fourth workshop conducted by the Miss Navajo Council, Inc. and the first one held on the UNM-Gallup campus.  

(Written by Marilee Petranovich, Marketing and Communications Officer)     

Thursday, March 6, 2014

UNM-Nursing Accreditation Site Visit

Dr. Camille Reese speaks with community members during a public forum as part of the nursing department accreditation visit.

The road to accreditation for the UNM-Gallup Nursing program began over 2 years ago and passed a major milestone with a visit from the accreditation site review team the last week of February.  The site review team, consisting of 3 representatives from the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing, met with members of the administration, nursing faculty, and finally community representatives in an open public forum.  Dr. Camille Reese, chairwoman of the review team, noted that the purpose of the site visit was to “verify, clarify and amplify” a self-study report which was submitted by the nursing program as one of the final steps in the accreditation process.  Dr. Reese felt that the self-study was well-written and she expressed her desire to present the program in the best light possible.

                The process began nearly two years ago with the preparation of a candidacy application packet.  The packet was submitted in the summer of 2013, and candidacy was granted in September of 2013.  The next step was the construction of the self-study report which was written collaboratively by the entire faculty and staff of the nursing department.  The document was divided into sections with every person taking at least a part of each section.  Assistant Professor Robert Galin assisted by compiling all of the sections into one document with a consistent tone.  Sally Vink, adjunct faculty member, assisted with document compilation.  The large accumulation of documentation supporting the self-study included syllabi, samples of student work, CV’s and transcripts.  The arduous task of preparing the self-study was done by the team at the same time they were fulfilling their fulltime teaching and administrative duties.

                The visiting team conducted an exit interview with the nursing faculty as the final step of their visit.  They will now complete their report and allow the UNM-Gallup nursing program the chance to edit for any errors of fact.  From there, the site review team’s recommendations will be submitted for a peer panel review in Atlanta, Georgia in June.  Their board of commissioners will make a final determination as to accreditation status in July.  For this initial accreditation process the only two options will be “accreditation for 5 years,” or “not accredited.”

                The public forum was well-attended by community members, students, parents, UNM-G board members and local nurses, many of whom were alumni of the program.  Feedback from the audience was very positive and indicated the strong local need for trained nurses, as well as the importance of having a quality local program available for students.  Erik Nourse, nursing program alumni, said that he happened upon the UNM-G nursing program, but it was “the best decision he ever made.”   He went on to say that the training he received at UNM-G prepared him for everything he has seen and he plans to continue on with his bachelor’s degree.

                Marji Campbell, Nursing Program Director, was optimistic about the results of the site visit and said “The visit went better than I dared to hope it would be.  The site visit experience depends so much on the site visitors.  All three were fellow nurse educators and they were all collegial and professional.  We owe a big thank- you to everyone on campus from the students to the top administrators for helping with the site visit.”

                Ms. Campbell went on to say that the site review team was especially impressed with the students, past and present, in the program.  Their knowledge, dedication and praise for the program were noted by the site visit team members.      

(Written by Marilee Petranovich, Marketing and Communications Officer)