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Opportunity in Crisis

Opportunity in Crisis



Looking back at Fall 2016, we were operating in a crisis mode when Surveying program was slated for elimination, a decision made due to low enrolments in that program. I remember collecting no less than a hundred letters from practicing surveyors all over New Mexico and beyond.

What followed after that was a great example of how an opportunity could present itself in the guise of a crisis. The NMPS (New Mexico Professional Surveyors) and our faculty began a series of meetings to design a new curriculum, Geomatics, modernized and online, to attract enrolments and to reflect the evolving profession of Surveying.

The industries have put in funding to the tune of about $110k/year during the last two years, and NMPS has helped us with aggressive recruiting efforts. NMSU upper administration has noticed the promising potential of the program and it has agreed to allocate two faculty lines back into the program, after the cuts made in 2016.

The enrolment trend has reversed now, and the program is expected to take in 40 new students by 2020 (from a single digit enrolment in 2016). The newly-designed program has received NCEES innovation award, and it now serves as a classical example for an industry-engaged design of an academic program, recognized by many of our peers.

I hope the discussion in State Legislature committees this week on the requirements of surveying education for licensure considers the progress our faculty and staff made in this important program.