New Mexico Highlands University Awarded $20.5 Million in State Endowment Funds

Funding to boost critical needs in New Mexico’s rural and Native communities

September 21, 2022

New Mexico Highlands University has been awarded $20.5 million in endowment funding from New Mexico’s Higher Education Department (HED) to bolster its education, social work, and nursing degree programs.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Roxanne Gonzales, said the HED is providing this funding to help address the shortage of qualified professionals in these fields in New Mexico and to address the state’s specific cultural, linguistic, and social needs.

According to Gonzales, the endowment funding at NMHU will allow the university to hire more faculty and staff to support program expansion and to serve more students.

“It’s intended to really respond to our cultural and rural identities here in New Mexico,” Gonzales said. “It’s also a response in many ways, at the educational level, in particular, to ensure that people who graduate stay in their fields and help our rural and Native communities.”

NMHU’s School of Education is receiving $10 million and will be using the funding to support a new Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Learning and Teaching (ICLRLT). The school plans to hire new faculty and staff to support the institute, and new professors will include researchers in culturally sustaining pedagogy, indigenous knowledges, inclusive education, and bilingual education among other focus areas.

The Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Mary Earick, said the endowment funding will fill a critical need in New Mexico: “The ICLRLT will build professional development with communities to make sure the cultures of all children and youth in New Mexico are honored.”

The NMHU Facundo Valdez School of Social Work was awarded $8 million in endowment funding, which will be used to hire four new faculty members and two educational support staff members.

The NMHU Nursing Department was awarded $2.5 million dollars in endowment funding, which will support new tenure-track faculty hires and facilitate clinical placements for students.

Gonzales said NMHU’s priorities for the funding as a whole is to hire the faculty and staff needed to provide programming to underserved communities in New Mexico.

“Essentially, all of these awards are going to help us expand the teacher, social worker, and nursing pipelines,” Gonzales said. “It’s really going to benefit all of New Mexico because we’ll be able to reach those rural communities and Native communities that we have not been able to reach before.”