The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NMSU Board of Regents continues its search for new president

David Castañeda
Panelists Garret Moseley (left) and Ben Woods (right) listened to the demands and concerns of those at the hearing on Aug. 22, 2023.

Attendees voiced their concerns to the panel of the New Mexico State University Board of Regents as they hosted two listening sessions for students, faculty, alumni, and the general populace to express what they would like to see in the next president. These listening sessions mark the end of the first phase in the long search process for the next leader of NMSU.  

The sessions were led by the Chief of Staff for the Board of Regents, Adam Cavotta, and the panelists included Student Regent Garrett Moseley and chair of the search committee, Ben Woods. Several members of the search committee were also in attendance.  

The overarching message of the listening sessions was that community input and direction is paramount in the search for the new president. This search has been ongoing since Dan Arvizu stepped down from his position on April 7, 2023, and Dr. Jay Gogue was appointed the interim chancellor in his stead.  

Moseley wanted to clear up any possible confusion regarding the difference between the chancellor and the president of the university.  

“We are a university system,” Moseley stated. “The NMSU main campus and system-wide leader will be president…our community colleges such as DACC have a chancellor — our global campus is chancellor. Historically, New Mexico State has had a president, not a chancellor, so we’re returning to those roots.” 

From the faculty side of things, Manal Hamzeh, a professor who teaches Borderlands and Ethnics Studies, asked some of the biggest questions of the listening session. One question asked was in regard to the search process itself and how the university has not had a recent president who was a great fit. Hamzeh also made many excellent points throughout the session. 

“One of the priorities that is hindering this university from thriving, because we have incredible faculty, students, and staff here, it’s the bureaucracy.” Hamzeh said.  

Many staff members of the NMSU community voiced their opinions regarding old leadership and what they expect from a new leader. Aug. 22, 2023 (David Castañeda)

The vice president of Facilities and Services at NMSU, Raghu Raghavan, also gave his input on what he would like to see from the incoming president. He would like to see more recognition for critical facilities and services as they are often seen as secondary, despite their great importance.  

Hamzeh also discussed the disjointed nature of past presidents and how she would like to see someone who is committed and knowledgeable about our university. 

“As you do a study on the last 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years of who was in [the] leadership position,” Hamzeh said. “One point that we all discussed is that those people come in and they don’t know the context. They don’t know the history of this place.” 

The Board of Regents is hoping to address this concern by appointing a candidate who they believe is committed to NMSU’s long term success, which Moseley emphasized as “our core mission as a land grant university.” 

A question about the desired characteristics and leadership traits for the next president was also posed during this listening session. Las Cruces community member, Myles Culbertson, agreed with Moseley’s statement.  

“We need to recall… the fact that this is a land grant university,” Culbertson said.  

Tony Ramirez, an alumnus from the College of Business who attended the meeting virtually, spoke up about what he would like to see in the next candidate. He believes the next president should have a strong, knowledgeable role in corporate engagement.  

“There’s a lot going on in the private sector right now, the electrification for automobiles,” he stated. “I think there’s innovation around sustainability that’s happening, certainly defense and aerospace with the assets NMSU has.”  

Jesse Martinez, a marketing/publications officer and alumni of NMSU expanded about the president’s on- campus presence and their student engagement. He explained the importance of NMSU students seeing their leadership present at events and walking around campus. He finds this comfortable, approachable leadership both unique to and necessary for NM State.  

Scott Eschenbrenner, president of the NMSU Real Estate and Water Development, gave his “hats off” to the Regents for their ability to expand past the community and across the state. Moseley expanded upon where exactly he had traveled around the state including Tucumcari, Carrizozo, Hobbs, and Alamogordo 

Cavotta gave a tentative timeline drafted back in July, with the next phase being Leadership Profile and Ad Approval, and the candidate finalized and the search formally concluding sometime in early February 2024. In an interview after the session, Moseley went a little more in depth as to when we can expect the new president to officially start at NMSU. 

“The latest start date we would be looking at would be July 1,” he stated. 

Cavotta also mentioned the search committee’s use of an outside executive search firm, WittKieffer. 

“It’s good for a search of this magnitude to have a search firm come in and really be able to provide a diverse pool of candidates and really strong candidates,” Moseley stated when asked about the firm.    

Regent Moseley concluded the session with gratitude and promise.  

“First, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for coming this morning, and sharing your thoughts — this is really valuable going into the search process for us,” he stated. “This is going to be a long process, but one thing that I can guarantee is as a board and in the search committee, we will not settle. We need — we deserve — a leader that is going to make good on the promises they give.” 


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About the Contributors
Kaden Martinez
Kaden Martinez, Staff Writer
Kaden Martinez is entering his first year at The Round Up as both a staff and a sports writing intern. This is his first time writing for a local publication (or any publication for that matter!). He is also entering his first year as a freshman majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Engineering. Since his dad is in the military, he has moved all around New Mexico, having lived in Albuquerque, Springer, Maxwell, and finally Rio Rancho where he graduated. He is the oldest of three siblings. Kaden has always enjoyed writing, whether it was school related or as a hobby. He decided to become a member of The Round Up both to broaden his horizons and step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. Some of his interests include exercising, playing sports, video games, TV shows, and movies.
David Castañeda
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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