Las Vegas, N.M. – More students at Highlands University will succeed if a campaign to raise $250,ooo to increase high-impact practices like undergraduate research is successful.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department will provide a 2:1 match if the Highlands Foundation raises $250,000 in private money, creating a permanent $750,000 endowment.
“When it comes to what matters most in college, we know that it’s high-impact educational practices like working in the laboratory of a professor, conducting field research, service learning activities that connect directly to classes, and internships,” said Highlands University President Sam Minner. “High-impact practices are directly tied to improved learning outcomes, and there’s also a very positive correlation with improved retention and graduate rates.”
Minner said he wants Highlands to be known as a university where students can come to experience high-impact practices, or HIPs, like its existing ARMAS program, or Achieving in Research, Math and Science.
“ARMAS has a remarkable success rate of assisting students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines and has been recognized as a model program in our nation,” Minner said. “Another exceptional example of high-impact practices at Highlands are the multimedia community projects media arts students create, like a recent video oral history project documenting World War II veterans’ memories. It’s meaningful service learning the students will never forget.”
Minner said the HU-HIPs endowment is a rare opportunity to support the university’s students in perpetuity through interest earned on the $750,000 corpus, which is not touched.
“The annual yield from the $750,000 endowment would be based on interest rates. For instance, a 5 percent interest rate would generate $37,500 per year,” Minner said.
If the HU-HIPs campaign is successful, the endowment proceeds will fund faculty development aimed at expanding high-impact practices at Highlands.
“Our university has teaching at the heart of its mission,” said Brandon Kempner, English professor and Faculty Senate chair. “This endowment will allow faculty to experiment with new ideas to redesign or enhance our courses in and out of the classroom, improving the learning experience for our students.”
Kempner said the endowment will give faculty access to additional resources ranging from attending high-impact practices conferences to buying more software for their classroom.
“Faculty can then bring new knowledge and techniques back to campus. When combined with the new Center for Teaching Excellence at Highlands, this endowment will give faculty the chance to be innovative. It’s exciting,” Kempner said.
Robert Amai, chemistry professor emeritus, said he firmly supports the HU-HIPs endowment.
“The way technology and society have changed so rapidly in recent years, it’s no longer sufficient for students to only have classroom learning,” Amai said. “Through increased undergraduate research opportunities and other high-impact practices, students will develop critical thinking skills to solve practical problems. This ability will ensure greater success in their professional work.”
Highlands has until March 31, 2016 to raise $250,000 for the HU-HIPs campaign. On Dec. 4, Minner and his wife Joan made a $1,000 personal donation to the fundraising effort.
“I urge you to make a donation to help us meet this challenge,” Minner said. “I assure you that your contribution will be put to good use helping our Highlands students succeed. On behalf of our students and their families, I thank you for your support.”
Tax deductible donations to the HU-HIPs campaign may be made online at www.nmhufoundation.org/hu-hips-make-a-difference Or mail your contribution for HU-HIPs to New Mexico Highlands Foundation, NMHU, Box 9000, Las Vegas, NM 87701.