We started addressing the issue of remediation in New Mexico three years ago. We have pushed all of our higher education institutions who provide remediation to move away from traditional to alternative remediation models, specifically Corequisite Support. We’ve done a number of webinars on Corequisite Support, and some of our institutions have begun providing implementing it. In every single presentation I give to the legislature or on a statewide platform, I talk about what the success we can provide our students with the Corequisite approach to remediation. Complete College America has the data and the evidence to show that Coreq works, and we are setting the groundwork to adopt it statewide. Because we are such a decentralized higher education system in New Mexico (we have 21 governing boards and 10 advisory boards for our public higher education institutions!), getting anything done at the statewide level takes major collaboration.

The annual development education day on the Alamogordo campus in February provided us with the perfect opportunity to offer a full day of education around this strategy. The real beauty of the event was that it was actually requested by the developmental education faculty themselves. Often, we have to create grassroots buy-in amongst the faculty, but that was not the case this time. They wanted to learn more about Coreq and how they could implement it. We sent out letters to all 31 of our public institutions about the event. We tried very hard to inform our institutions about the event – to garner excitement – and it worked. We had over 100 people in attendance from all over the state. We’re the fifth largest land mass in the United States, so many of them traveled quite a distance to participate. The discussion day was extremely successful. Many connections and plans were made and faculty were excited about implementing Corequisite Support at their institutions.

We are also preparing for another big event. The Governance Summit on April 19 will focus on our governance structure and its impact on student success. As I mentioned, New Mexico has a very decentralized higher education system. To generate buy-in for an initiative, I have to visit 31 campuses and engage 31 different presidents and boards. It dilutes our efforts and makes it far more difficult to launch an initiative than it would be in a state with a more centralized governance system like Indiana.

At the Governance Summit, we will focus on “Learning from the Best.” Higher education leaders from Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Montana, Colorado and Oregon will lead presentations on the governance models in their states and their college completion efforts. CCA Senior Vice President Sarah Ancel will also talk about best practices around governance. On the second day of the summit, there will be several simultaneous forums where groups can ask questions and share feedback.

Over the summer, I will be making a formal recommendation on New Mexico’s higher education governance structure. The goal of the Governance Summit is to help pave the way for a more streamlined system that will allow us to peel back the layers and move forward with student success efforts, like statewide implementation of 15 to Finish.

I’m proud to be a member of the Complete College America Board of Directors. CCA has been a game changer on the national landscape of higher education. The organization has identified best practices, proven that they work, and is helping states to implement them. With CCA’s partnership, there is much more we want to do for the 134,000 students in our public higher education system. The Governance Summit is an important step in that process.