Higher Education Department invests $110.5 million for teacher education, nursing, and social work

Stephanie Montoya

Endowment funds will support faculty and bolster state’s essential workforce for years to come

The New Mexico Higher Education Department announced that it has awarded $110.5 million in faculty endowment funds to 13 colleges and universities across New Mexico to recruit and retain faculty and put other supports in place to increase the number of teachers, nurses and social workers graduating and entering the workforce in New Mexico. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham approved the funds earlier this year, which the agency awarded through a competitive application process to ensure that the funds are put to work in the highest-need and highest-impact regions and programs. Educator preparation programs will receive a total of $50 million, with social work programs receiving another $30.5 million and nurse education programs receiving $30 million. Overall, awarded New Mexico colleges and universities will receive funds to support 58 endowed faculty positions statewide. The funds are expected to enroll over 700 new students and support nearly 7,000 students overall in New Mexico.  

“This funding will enhance our ability to attract and keep talented faculty to grow and sustain the pipeline of licensed educators, nurses, and social workers that support the lifelong success, health and well-being of New Mexicans,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. "These are critical fields that are experiencing workforce shortages around the country, and this administration is committed to doing whatever is necessary to build up our in-state pipeline." 

Faculty endowment funds awarded to select colleges and universities are invested to generate revenues year after year that fund faculty positions, support internships and residencies, and other activities to increase graduation and placement rates of students in relevant career fields. Endowment awards leverage one-time funding to create an ongoing revenue stream that can be used year after year to pay faculty salaries at the colleges and universities benefitting from the award.  

“Strengthening our workforce is a top priority at the Children, Youth and Families Department. We are excited to partner with the Higher Education Department in the creation of endowed faculty positions in social work at public colleges and universities in New Mexico. We also support the use of future resources toward increasing the number of graduates in social work,” said Children, Youth, and Families Department Secretary Barbara J. Vigil

“Education opens up a world of opportunity for all. Teachers are some of the most important professionals in our society, as they are pivotal in guiding and supporting students as they step through doors and discover new possibilities. These endowment funds in educator preparation will allow Western New Mexico University’s College of Education to expand its ability to prepare highly effective teachers who inspire their students to open the door to all of their possibilities,” said Western New Mexico University College of Education Dean Dr. Debra J. Dirksen.  

Santa Fe Community College’s Dean of Sciences, Health, and Engineering and Math Terri Tewart said, “The $2 million endowment funds for nursing faculty stipends at Santa Fe Community College is critical to meet the demand for expanding nursing education in the region. Each full-time nursing faculty will receive a stipend in addition to their salary. We’re happy to provide our faculty with a steady source of income, so they can focus on their roles as educators. This endowment will make it possible to accept eight to sixteen more students into our nursing program. Santa Fe Community College is expanding our faculty with one full-time and another part-time nurse educator. We are incredibly grateful to the New Mexico Higher Education Department and the New Mexico Nurses Association for working on the pathway for this grant funding.” 

The following New Mexico colleges and universities will receive funding for endowed faculty positions.

Endowed Faculty in Educator Preparation - $50 million  
  • Central New Mexico Community College will receive $2 million for their Teacher Education Faculty Fellowship that will focus on recruiting and retaining diverse teacher candidates, expanding public school partnerships, expanding teacher residency participation, and enhancing culturally-relevant teaching. This position will expand the capacity of the Teacher Education Program to train 100 additional teachers.  
  • New Mexico Highlands University will receive $10 million for their Cluster Hire for the Institute of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Learning and Teaching (CLRLT) to expand statewide professional development the institute provides in Indigenous Knowledge, Inclusivity, Bilingual Studies, Distance Learning, and other areas.  
  • The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) will receive $5 million to create a STEM Education Center, hire two faculty members to develop an innovative and evidence-based curriculum to train teachers to teach STEM subjects.  
  • New Mexico State University will receive $6 million for endowed positions in educator preparation in the areas of Native American education and Indigenous studies, borderland partnerships and community-based experiences in teacher education, and multicultural special education.  
  • Northern New Mexico College will receive $2.5 million to create a “grow your own” endowed faculty position that will support students enrolled in the Department of Teacher Education with academic advising and recruit new students through expanded dual credit opportunities and community outreach.  
  • The University of New Mexico – Gallup branch campus will receive $2.5 million to create a tenured faculty position to grow the pipeline of trained teachers entering K-12 classrooms in the Gallup-McKinley County Schools.  
  • The University of New Mexico will receive $17 million to support eleven new endowed positions at UNM’s College of Education and Human Services with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Faculty categories include residency supervisors, K-8 reading and literacy, K-12 mathematics education, K-12 science education, bilingual education, American Indian education, special education, graduate teaching and learning as well as education leadership.
  • Western New Mexico University will receive $5 million to create three new endowed faculty positions who will support educators to implement structured literacy and expand the teacher residency program. Positions that will be created include an assistant professor, reading specialist, a teacher residency director and a teacher education programs chair. 
Endowed Faculty in Nursing - $30 million  
  • Central New Mexico Community College will receive $3 million to support two new endowed faculty positions that will increase student access to faculty with a goal of increasing the number of graduates by 50 students per year.  
  • Mesalands Community College will receive $2 million to support the college’s newly established nursing program and to hire two full-time faculty, a program director, and up to four adjunct faculty to enroll and graduate more nurses to serve the eastern region of New Mexico.  
  • New Mexico Highlands University will receive $2.5 million to launch a Master of Science in Nursing program with a Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN/FNP) degree program for Spring 2023. The program will serve working nurses looking to advance their careers and support the placement of students and graduates in clinical settings. 
  • New Mexico State University will receive $2.5 million to hire an Assistant Director of Student Success who will focus on retaining nursing students, keeping them on-track in their program, and passing the licensing exam on their first attempt, with a goal of increasing pass rates to 90% over the next three years.  
  • New Mexico State University – Doña Ana Community College will receive $2.5 million for a new endowed faculty position at the Sunland Park Center to expand nurse education in southern New Mexico and Doña Ana County.  
  • Northern New Mexico College will receive $2.5 million to increase the number of students graduating from the nursing program and entering the workforce and expand capacity of the program.  
  • Santa Fe Community College will receive $2 million to provide an endowed stipend to nursing faculty enabling them to focus exclusively on their educator role. 
  • The University of New Mexico – Gallup campus will receive $2.5 million for a nursing faculty position aimed at increasing the number of students enrolling, graduating, and entering the workforce in northwestern New Mexico.  
  • The University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center will receive $6.5 million to support at least three additional nursing faculty who will conduct research and prepare graduate students to enter leadership and faculty roles in health care and nurse education. The University’s College of Nursing is the only nursing Ph.D. program in New Mexico and is key for producing nurse educators to serve the state’s 18 other public nursing programs.   
  • Western New Mexico University will receive $2 million for two new endowed faculty positions that will focus on increasing the number of students enrolling in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and increase the number of faculty available to teach clinical, didactic, laboratory, and simulation courses.  
  • San Juan College will receive $2 million for two full-time nursing faculty to provide clinical instruction to students in local health care settings and to increase the number of students enrolling the program, successfully completing a degree, and entering the workforce.  
Endowed Faculty in Social Work - $30.5 million  
  • New Mexico Highlands University will receive $8 million for the School of Social Work to improve the Faculty-In-Training (FIT) Program, the Native American Social Work Studies Institute, and the Online Master of Social Work Program, with the aim of increasing the number of Native American graduates and graduates practicing in Tribal communities and increasing the number of enrolled students from rural communities. 
  • New Mexico State University will receive $16.5 million for six additional full-time faculty in the School of Social Work with the aim of doubling the number of graduates from the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) graduates over the next five years. 
  • Western New Mexico University will receive $6 million to hire four new full-time tenure track faculty into the School of Social Work to improve and expand the Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work programs. Faculty will focus on increasing student supports including field internship placements.