NMSU photo by Derek Flodmand
New Mexico State University has identified a number of new projects and initiatives that will leverage federal pandemic relief funds to further the university’s strategic goals, including student success and social mobility.
The selected projects – 23 in all, totaling $6.3 million – are designed to address limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, enhance faculty and staff readiness to improve student success at NMSU, and align with NMSU’s LEADS 2025 goals. The funding for this COVID-19 Performance Fund comes from Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, or HEERF.
NMSU’s Vice President for Research and Graduate School Office received 140 project proposals, of which 33 met both eligibility requirements: alignment with NMSU LEADS 2025 goals and alignment with the allowable uses of HEERF funds. Eligible proposals were those designed to defray expenses associated with the pandemic, carry out student support activities, and implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress coronavirus spread.
“We selected a wide range of projects that support our mission and the intent behind HEERF in diverse ways,” said NMSU President John Floros. “They run the gamut from COVID-19 wastewater testing and furnishings for outdoor classroom tents to expanding the library’s e-book collections and supporting a number of student success initiatives.”
One of the largest of those initiatives is aimed at supporting students through technology and skill acquisition. Part of that involves enhancing incoming students’ digital literacy skills by providing iPads to each new freshman student at the start of the fall semester.
“The pandemic showed how essential it is for our incoming students to be ready to use technology to access classes, learn about activities and opportunities, and stay connected to their peers,” said Renay Scott, vice president for Student Success. “Many students face a gap in resources – particularly when it comes to technology. This is a first step toward addressing that gap for our incoming students and setting them up with tools and skills that will help them be successful in completing their degrees.”
In addition, NMSU’s individual colleges will share $1 million in HEERF funds for teaching assistantships. Institutional allocations to the offices of the Chancellor, Provost and Academic Affairs, Student Success and Enrollment Management, Vice President for Research and Graduate School, and Administration and Finance amounted to $4.7 million, and support pandemic-related needs such as classroom technology, cybersecurity and graduate student support.
The total HEERF allocation for the university’s use, to date, is $12.1 million. A list of funded projects is available, via this link.
NMSU has also distributed more than $13 million in HEERF funding directly to students in need in the form of emergency financial aid grants totaling $800 to $1,200 each for things like course materials, technology, food, housing, health care and childcare costs as a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU