After 22% enrollment decline since 2013 and steep loss of research revenue, compensation packages require and reward university growth in key areas
LAS CRUCES, NM – Today, the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Board of Regents finalized performance-based relationship with its incoming Chancellor and President, offering its new leadership team nationally competitive base salaries, with expectations and self-funding incentives for increased student enrollment and retention, research revenue, and alumni giving. NMSU Regents selected Dr. Dan Arvizu and Dr. John Floros to lead the University following a competitive national search.
“We have set clear expectations for Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros – to grow our student body in a financially sustainable way after many years of decline and expand the influence and research contributions of New Mexico State University,” said Regents President Debra Hicks. “They understand what success looks like and will be compensated for achieving it. As the university revenues grow, faculty and staff will also share in the success, and more resources will be available to invest in student learning, and campus infrastructure.”
Over the past 6 years, student enrollment at NMSU has declined 22% – to a 30-year low, while peer universities like Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Montana State, and the University of Nevada-Reno have experienced increased enrollment over the past decade. At UTEP, for example, enrollment has increased for 19 consecutive years. For NMSU, every 1% increase in net enrollment is approximately $1 million in additional revenue to the university. Another area for focused improvement is in research, as annual research funding has fallen from $141.7 million in 2009 to approximately $100 million last year – declining nearly 30% in 9 years. The unfortunate result of these losses and other trends has been the elimination of nearly 800 jobs at NMSU in recent years.
“NMSU, with its 5 campuses, 12 research & science centers, and extension office in 33 counties, is a critical part of our local economy; and our state’s economic future depends upon institutions like ours conducting groundbreaking research and producing highly-skilled workers,” said Regents President Debra Hicks. “Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros will be required to significantly increase our research footprint, adding revenues while building a brand proposition and student experience that will drive recruitment and retention of students.”
Under the compensation packages approved today, Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros will receive annual base salaries of $500,000 and $450,000, respectively, with provisions that require and reward future growth of the student body, research portfolio, and overall revenues of NMSU. “We know that the compensation packages also need to be competitive on the national level to attract and retain the very best leadership. It is important for NMSU to become nationally competitive to avoid a revolving door at the top. The incentive packages will represent a fraction of the revenue gains generated by our new leadership. We have diligently prepared the budget to make this initial investment” adds Mitchell.
“We expect more, New Mexico deserves more, and we are committed to invest to achieve more. While improving efficiencies is a must, we cannot continue to cut our way to success, growth is the only viable solution to respond to the rapidly changing higher education environment. We intend for our new leadership structure and approach to produce aggressive growth at NMSU,” adds Regent Kari Mitchell. “We want NMSU to be the school of choice for more New Mexico students and a compelling option for students from around the world who are seeking an exciting, consequential higher education. Chancellor Arvizu and President Floros are leaders with proven track records who, working together with our talented faculty and staff, will be able to move with the agility, focus, and determination necessary to ignite and sustain the kind of growth we should expect at a university as tremendous and proud as ours.”