As 2016 came to a close, a statewide tour that began in August, covered thousands of miles and included dozens of meetings, also came to a close.
New Mexico State University’s Rolando Flores, the new dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, completed visits to all of the college’s Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station research and science center sites across the state.
With Extension offices in all 33 New Mexico counties and 12 research and science centers as far as 400-plus miles away from the university’s Las Cruces campus, the five-month project was time intensive and a logistical challenge, especially considering the countless on-campus responsibilities Flores also has as dean of a large college at NMSU. But Flores said it was all very worthwhile.
“The meetings gave me a first-hand understanding of the major programs relating to the teaching, research and Extension service that we carry out at different sites,” Flores said when asked about the value he derived from his visits. He also said “the one-on-one interactions helped me learn about the challenges and opportunities of each county and of the many people who are impacted by the work that is being done by our Extension educators and in our research centers.”
Flores became dean of the college on Aug. 1, 2016, and since then he has been learning about the college’s on-campus academic departments as well as the many programs, projects and outreach efforts being conducted across New Mexico. To have a better understanding about those many activities, Flores held meetings with numerous faculty and staff of the college, including those who are off-campus.
For Flores, visiting the counties’ Extension offices and science centers took many forms, from combining trips with various purposes to taking advantage of annual events, like agricultural field days at several research and science centers. Flores even arrived astride his own motorcycle at some sites when he participated in the college’s annual Ride for the 4-H Clover motorcycle tour in northern New Mexico in late August.
“Extension is a people’s business; we deal with real problems that affect individuals and communities, and the issues varied from place to place,” Flores said. “My visits gave me a general idea of the state of affairs and at the same time allowed me to share my vision for the college while reminding people of the challenges ahead.”
The introductory visits have been completed, but the trips are not over. Flores plans to maintain a close link with the county offices, research centers and academic departments. He sees many future trips ahead … perhaps some more via motorcycle!
Author: Darrell J. Pehr – NMSU