Episode 1103 | THE LINE: Higher Education in New Mexico

October 21, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


>>WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE. DOES NEW MEXICO HAVE TOO MANY
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING? FORMER GOVERNOR AND NEW MEXICO
STATE UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR GARY CARRUTHERS THINKS SO. HE
WOULDN’T BE ALONE. CARRUTHERS SPOKE DURING AN
ECONOMIC FORUM IN ALBUQUERQUE LAST WEEK AND POSED THE IDEA
THAT THE STATE SHOULD RE-EXAMINE THE PUBLIC HIGHER
EDUCATION SYSTEM WHICH SOAKS UP 13% OF THE STATE’S GENERAL
FUND BUDGET AND HAS ALSO BEEN HIT HARD DURING THE BUDGET
CUTS. ACCORDING TO THE ALBUQUERQUE
JOURNAL, THERE ARE 31 PUBLIC HIGHER ED INSTITUTIONS ACROSS
NEW MEXICO. TOM, WE SPOKEN AT LENGTH ABOUT
IT AT THIS THE TABLE. YOU WERE THERE AT THE FORUM
WHERE MR. CARRUTHERS SPOKE. WAS THIS A SURPRISE TO THE
ROOM? DID PEOPLE GENERALLY HAVE
AGREEMENT WITH HIM OR WERE FOLKS SURPRISED TO HEAR THE
THAN CHANCELLOR SAY SUCH A THING?>>THERE WAS A LOT OF NODDING
HEADS BECAUSE OF AN ENGAGED AUDIENCE. HE ADDRESSES THE FORUM ABOUT
ONCE A YEAR, AND HE ALSO BRINGS THE SAME KIND OF
MESSAGE, JUST DIFFERENT TWIST ON IT, AND WITH ALL THE
ATTENTION THAT HIGHER EDUCATION HAS RECEIVED OVER
THE MANY MONTHS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE MARTINEZ
ADMINISTRATION MAKING THE MOVES THEY DID, EVERYBODY WAS
A LITTLE BIT MORE HEIGHTENED AS FAR AS WHAT WAS GOING TO BE
SAID. WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT, YOU
KNOW, THE RESTRICTIONS THAT KEEP THE 31, YOU KNOW, AT 31
AS FAR AS THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, THAT REALLY
RESONATED BECAUSE WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE ROOM ARE A LOT OF
FOLKS USED TO BEING ABLE TO MANAGE THEIR BUDGETS
APPROPRIATELY. IF YOU HAVE A SCHOOL, A
UNIVERSITY THAT HAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE PARTNERSHIPS, AND MANY
DIFFERENT CAMPUSES, AND, YOU NEED AN ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE
TO GO AHEAD AND REMOVE THAT, THAT TAKES A LOTS OF, YOU
KNOW, PLAY OUT OF YOUR GAME SO TO SPEAK. SO, YOU KNOW, THE ECONOMIC
FORUM MEMBERSHIP WERE VERY INTERESTED BUT THEY ARE
INTERESTED IN WHAT THE RESULTS ARE, SO, WHAT THEY REALLY
CONNECTED THOUGH WAS HIS MANAGEMENT STYLE AS FAR AS
TALKING ABOUT THE NUMBER OF DIRECT REPORTS THAT HIS FOLKS
HAD AND REALLY MINIMIZING THAT AND STREAMLINING MANAGEMENT. I THINK IT IS A GOOD SHORT
TERM SOLUTION FOR OTHER UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES TO
TAKE A LOOK AT, BUT I THINK THE WALK AWAY WAS, YOU KNOW,
THAT IS JUST NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH. YOU NEED TO HAVE THE WHOLE
SYSTEM REALLY TURNED OVER AGAIN.>>INTERESTINGLY, VIKI, IF I
HAVE THE NUMBERS RIGHT MR. CARRUTHERS AND OTHERS,
THEY LAID OFF AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE.>>700 AND SOMETHING FROM
NMSU.>>THAT IS A LOT OF BUDGET
CUTTING RIGHT THERE. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. SO THERE IS NOT MUCH MORE, I
AM GOING TO TAKE A GUESS HERE, THAT ONE CAN CUT. THIS IDEA OF TOO MANY COLLEGES
OF COURSE HAD TO COME TO THE FORE AT SOME POINT ONCE YOU
GET BY ON CUTS. IN YOUR VIEW, IS IN FACT THE
PROBLEM OF TOO MANY SCHOOLS OR WE JUST NOT CREATING ENOUGH
COLLEGE READY STUDENTS. A COMBINATION OF BOTH.>>THAT IS THE THING THAT I
QUESTION BECAUSE OF OUR GRADUATION RATES FROM HIGH
SCHOOL, WHICH STILL SHOCK ME TO THIS DAY, AND, YOU KNOW,
WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT THE NUMBERS WERE AROUND 155,000
STUDENTS ENROLLED AND YOU DIVIDE THAT BY 31 AND YOU’RE
LOOKING AT A LITTLE OVER 4,000 PER SCHOOL. THAT DOES SEEM EXCESSIVE BUT I
WOULD WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT. AS TOM SAID, ARE THESE
PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND THESE ARE
DIFFERENT BRANCHES, WHICH I THINK IS A GREAT THING FOR A
RURAL STATE LIKE US. I KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED
THE CAMPUSES ALL OVER THE STATE FROM UNM. ALTHOUGH I DO HAVE A BEEF WITH
THE UNM INTERIM PRESIDENT AND THIS IDEA OF JUST COMBINING
ALL THE BIG SCHOOLS INTO ONE.>>STATE, UNM AND ALSO NEW
MEXICO TECH.>>RIGHT. I MEAN, I DON’T KNOW, WHAT IS
GOING TO HAPPEN TO OUR RIVALRY WITH NMSU AT THAT POINT? I MEAN, I AM A LOBO PEOPLE. I WANT TO STAY A LOBO.>>I MEAN, I COULD HAVE BEEN
MEMPHIS AND THEY TOOK MEMPHIS STATE AND TURNED IT INTO
UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS SO NOW WE CALL IT TIGER HIGH. SO, I MEAN, I JUST THINK THAT
WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING AT 4,000 STUDENTS PER CAMPUS, WE REALLY
NEED A LOT MORE DETAILS BECAUSE THERE IS A BIG
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOME OF OUR SMALLER COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND
CNM OR UNM, FOR EXAMPLE.>>THAT IS A GOOD POINT. I CAN THINK OF THE CAMPUS AT
VALENCIA COUNTY FOR UNM. IT IS A HUGE HIT. PEOPLE LOVE THAT CAMPUS DOWN
THERE. THEY HAVE ALL KINDS OF GREAT
SUCCESS. TAOS, GRANTS, BUT, AGAIN,
LAURA, THESE PLACES ARE ALSO ECONOMIC DRIVERS FOR SOME OF
THESE COMMUNITIES AS WELL. THE IDEA TO JUST ELIMINATE A
SCHOOL WHOLE CLOTH IS A BIG DECISION.>>I THINK IT IS SOMETHING TO
LOOK AT AND LOOK AT IN TERMS OF WHERE THE EXCESS MIGHT BE
AND WHERE YOU ARE ABLE TO CUT. IT IS ASTONISHING THEY CUT 700
POSITIONS. WHERE DO THOSE PEOPLE GO? BECAUSE I CAN’T IMAGINE THAT A
COUNTY LAS CRUCES COULD REABSORB THEM IN SOME AREA. WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM WOULD BE
INTERESTING FOLLOWUP. FOR THESE OTHER COMMUNITIES,
LOCAL UNIVERSITIES, A BRANCH, WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU ARE
DOING IS HUGE. I LOOK AT NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS
UNIVERSITY, WHICH, IN FULL DISCLOSURE, IS ONE OF OUR
CLIENTS AT OUR FIRM. I WORK CLOSELY WITH THEM. THEY ARE SUCH AN IMPORTANT
PART OF THAT COMMUNITY. IT IS VERY EASY TO SAY, YEAH,
WE SHOULD COMBINE THEM OR WHATEVER BUT THEY HAVE THEIR
OWN DISTINCT FOOTBALL PROGRAM, DISTINCT HIGHER EDUCATION IN
TERMS OF EDUCATING TEACHERS. IT IS A HUGE PROGRAM. THEY DO A LOT OF SOCIAL WORK
TRAINING. SO, EACH SCHOOL HAS ITS OWN
SPECIFIC IDENTITY AND SO TO COMBINE THEM JUST SEEMS LIKE
SOMETHING UNNATURAL TO ME, BUT, ALSO, LEGALLY, I AM NOT
SURE YOU CAN DO IT BECAUSE SOME OF THESE SCHOOLS ARE
CREATED BY THE CONSTITUTION. THEY ARE ACTUALLY
CONSTITUTIONALLY NAMED, HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS. YOU CAN’T JUST, YOU KNOW, GET
RID OF THEM GIVEN THAT THEY ARE A PART OF THE
CONSTITUTION. YOU HAVE TO HAVE, LEGALLY,
SOME KIND OF REFERENDUM TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO GET
RID OF SOME OF THESE SCHOOLS. I JUST DON’T THINK THAT IS
HAPPENING, BUT I DO THINK THAT ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS HERE,
HIGHER EDUCATION IS ITS OWN ECONOMIC DRIVER. IT CREATES JOBS FOR PEOPLE IN
CERTAIN COMMUNITIES JUST BY BEING PART OF THE UNIVERSITY,
BUT THEN WHEN YOU GRADUATE STUDENTS, WHERE ARE THEY
GOING? THERE AREN’T JOBS HERE IN NEW
MEXICO, SO MANY LEAVE THE STATE, TAKING THEIR EDUCATION
ELSEWHERE. THAT IS THE BRAIN DRAIN WHICH
IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO ADDRESS.>>PICK UP ON THE
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE SCHOOL, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN,
THAT IS A HECK OF A POLITICAL FIGHT LAURA IS DESCRIBING. THAT WOULD BE, YOU KNOW, I
COULDN’T IMAGINE A LOCAL LEGISLATOR GOING, OKAY, I AM
FOR THAT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.>>RIGHT. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. WELL, IT IS INTERESTING. SO THIS IS A DEBATE WE HAVE
HAD FOR A LONG TIME. WHEN I WAS IN THE LEGISLATURE
WE TALKED ABOUT THIS AND ACTUALLY THE NUMBERS TELL US
THAT WE DO HAVE TOO MANY COLLEGES. SO WE HAVE PER CAPITA, WE HAVE
27% MORE COLLEGES THAN COLORADO, 40% MORE THAN
ARIZONA AND WE HAVE 15% REDUCTION IN STUDENT
POPULATION IN LAST SIX YEARS. AS GOVERNOR CARRUTHERS
MENTIONED IN HIS TALK, HIGHER ED SUFFERED A 44% BUDGET CUT
IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. SO, THE LEGISLATURE IS NOT
GOING TO MAKE ANY CHANGES, I MEAN, YOU’RE RIGHT. BUT THE MARKETPLACE MIGHT AND
THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. SO, UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES GET
LESS MONEY FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT, THEY HAVE TO LOOK
AT TUITION INCREASE, GRANTS, FOUNDATIONS THAT KIND OF
THING. BUT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THE
BACKDROP OF WHY, TOO. YOU KNOW, HIGH SCHOOL
GRADUATION RATES, THAT IS ONE, BUT, YOU KNOW, AN ICONIC
ECONOMIC DEVELOPER IN A BOOK, “WHY BOOMERS FAIL,” SAID A
BIGGER PROBLEM THAN ISLAMIC FASCISM AND GLOBAL WARMING IS
THE FACT THAT BOOMERS DIDN’T HAVE KIDS AND MILLENNIALS
AREN’T HAVING KIDS. THAT IS ONE OF THE BACKDROPS. SO, WE HAVE A NET EVEN GROWTH
RATE IN A REGION THAT IS GROWING. THOSE ISSUES NEED TO BE
ADDRESSED AS WELL, BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS UNIVERSITIES ARE
REORGANIZING. I KIND OF LIKE THE IDEA,
DESPITE THAT FACT WE WOULDN’T HAVE THE AGGIE-LOBO THING
GOING ON, I LIKE THE IDEA OF BECOMING MORE COMPETITIVE
NATIONALLY, BECAUSE YOU BRING THE TECH SKILLS OF TECH INTO
THE MIX AND SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING
DOWN AT NMSU AND THEN OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE DOING A
GREAT JOB. I KNOW THE NURSING PROGRAM AT
UNM, YOU COMPARE THE NURSING AT UNM VERSUS CNM, A LOT OF
NURSING STUDENTS WOULD RATHER BE AT CNM. SO THE MARKETPLACE MAKES
DECISIONS BUT DON’T LOOK TO THE LEGISLATURE TO DO IT.>>STAY WITH YOU FOR A QUICK
SECOND. THE IDEA OF TECH TRANSFER OUT
OF UNM. WHAT IS NOT HAPPENING VERSUS
WHAT IS HAPPENING, MEANING WE ARE DOING A GREAT JOB
DEVELOPING COMPANIES THAT ARE COMING OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY
AND GOING OUT THERE BUT WE ARE LOSING EIGHT OUT OF THE 12
THAT WE SPUN OUT. THEY HAVE GONE OUT OF STATE
AND WE ARE HAVING A PROBLEM. YOU WERE RECENTLY IN SILICON
VALLEY. I WANT TO GET YOUR
PERSPECTIVE. WHAT IS GOING ON? THESE HAVE LONG-TERM
IMPLICATIONS FOR US.>>WE NEED TO MANAGE OUR
EXPECTATIONS AND KEEP IN MIND WE HAVE A POPULATION OF TWO
MILLION IN NEW MEXICO. WHO IS OUR COMPETITION? THE RESEARCH TRIANGLE IN NORTH
CAROLINA, THERE IS THREE UNIVERSITIES, THREE MILLION
PEOPLE IN THAT METRO AREA. YOU LOOK AT SILICON VALLEY, MY
GOODNESS, STANFORD OUT THERE, BERKELEY. YOU HAVE GOT A HUB OF MILLIONS
OF PEOPLE. WE’RE TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE QUESTIONS
OF WHAT GAVE BIRTH TO SILICON VALLEY, YOU HAD STANFORD
BRINGING THEIR IDEAS TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR. WE HAVE COMMERCIALIZATION THAT
IS OCCURRING FROM SANDIA, FROM THE UNIVERSITIES INTO THE
PRIVATE SECTOR. WE HAVE PUBLIC PRIVATE
PARTNERSHIPS. WE PUT THAT PIECE TOGETHER. SO, WE HAVE TAKEN THAT STEP
FORWARD. WE HAVE INCUBATION NETWORKS. WE HAVE TAKEN THAT PIECE AND
MOVED IT FORWARD AS WELL. WHAT WE ARE LACKING IS FUNDING
AND IT TOOK DECADES FOR THAT FUNDING PIECE TO RISE IN
SILICON VALLEY. THERE IS A WHOLE STREET ON
SAWMILL AVENUE IN PALO ALTO, YOU DRIVE DOWN AND IT IS
VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS. SO WE ARE TAKING RIGHT STEPS. ACTUALLY INNOVATION IS NOT
JUST GOING TO COME OUT OF SANDIA AND UNIVERSITIES. YOU KNOW, SCIENCE FAIRS,
SANDIA LABS PUTS ON WITH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, THIS IS
AMAZING.>>IT IS GETTING THERE.>>THERE IS AGREEMENT, TOM,
WHAT MARK JUST MENTIONED IS THAT NEXT CRITICAL STEP, THAT
IS GETTING THAT VENTURE FUNDING ONCE YOU’RE OUT THERE
AND READY FOR THE WORLD. YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE AMOUNT
OF FUNDING OUT THERE. THIS HAS BEEN A TOUGH GO FOR
10 OR 15 YEARS. NOT A NEW ARGUMENT AT ALL. HOW MUCH SHOULD THE STATE BE
PUTTING IN, PICKING FAVORITES? THAT GETS TRICKY, YOU KNOW
WHAT I MEAN.>>WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE
AVAILABLE FUNDING, TO US, YOU KNOW, TO THE NORMAL PERSONAL,
YOU LOOK AT THE TYPE OF FUNDING THAT TECH TRANSFER ARE
RECEIVING AND YOU GO, WOW, THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY BUT IN
THE BIG SCOPE OF THINGS, IT IS BARELY DROPPING A PEBBLE INTO
THE WATER. THE SOLUTION IS TO FOCUS ON
ONE OR TWO AND REALLY –>>CATEGORIES.>>– CATEGORIES OR VERTICALS,
THINGS OF THAT NATURE. THE LARGER ISSUE AT PLAY IS,
WHERE IS THE WORKFORCE THAT IS GOING TO BE TO SUPPORT THIS. THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS A
LOT OF COMPANIES DECIDED TO LEAVE. FACEBOOK ANNOUNCED THEY ARE
DOUBLING THE SIZE OF THEIR DATA CENTER. THAT IS GREAT. WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE
GOING TO BE 500 WORKERS NEEDED AND NOW IT IS 1000 WORKERS
THAT ARE NEEDED. WHERE ON EARTH DO THEY COME
FROM? IT IS SEPARATE FROM THE HIGH
TECH DISCUSSION, BUT WORKFORCE IS REALLY ONE OF THESE THINGS
THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. WE CAN GROW AND NURTURE ALL
THE GREAT COMPANIES IN THE WORLD, BUT IF WE DON’T HAVE
VENTURE CAPITAL THAT IS HERE AND GROWING SLOWLY AND DON’T
HAVE THE WORKFORCE, THEY ARE GOING TO PLACES LIKE SILICON
VALLEY AND BOLDER AND AUSTIN WHERE THEY HAVE A WORKFORCE.>>THERE IS OTHER THINGS THAT
COME WITH THAT. YOU LOSE THE CHANCE TO HAVE
LOCAL PEOPLE BECOME MANAGEMENT PEOPLE, WORK UP THROUGH THE
RANKS, AND THEN OWNERS AT SOME POINT BECAUSE WHEN YOU PICK UP
AND MOVE, A LOT OF TIMES THE SERIOUS MANAGEMENT CHANGES
THAT COME WITH VENTURE CAPITAL MONEY. IT IS NOT JUST WHERE YOU GO. IT COMES WITH CONSEQUENCES. TOUCH A LITTLE BIT. IT IS COMPLICATED AS TOM
MENTIONED. HOW DO YOU GET THIS TURNED
AROUND SO PEOPLE STAY HERE RIGHT AFTER THEY HATCHED, SO
TO SPEAK?>>WELL, FOR ME, NOT KNOWING
ANYTHING AT ALL REALLY ABOUT WHAT UNM DOES AND ALL OF THIS,
I MEAN, I WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, WE ARE GOING TO TRAIN YOU AND
GIVE YOU ALL THESE RESOURCES AND HELP YOU COME UP WITH THIS
FABULOUS IDEA, AND YOU NEED TO HANG OUT A LITTLE BIT. YOU CAN STAY IN NEW MEXICO AND
RAISE MONEY ELSEWHERE. AND WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
NOT HAVING THE WORKFORCE, FOR YEARS. WELL WE ARE NEVER GOING TO
HAVE THE WORKFORCE IF EVERYBODY LEAVES, WE HAVE TO
INVEST IN OUR STATE AND IT GOES BACK TO MUNDANE BORING
THINGS TO MAKE OUR ECONOMY BETTER. I MEAN, WE HAVE GOT — I FEEL
LIKE JANICE ARNOLD JONES, WE HAVE TO REFORM THE TAX CODE. IT IS A PROBLEM WITH THE BIG
BOX STORES DON’T PAY GROSS RECEIPTS TAXES, BUT BAIO’S
DOES. IT JUST — THERE IS SO MANY
ISSUES THAT DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS NOT
A TECH PERSON AND WHO HAS NOT WORKED IN VENTURE CAPITAL. ON YOUR FACE, YOU’RE OKAY, WE
SPENT ALL THIS TIME AND RESOURCES ON 12 NEW IDEAS AND
EIGHT OF THEM LEFT US. OKAY, WELL, LET’S QUIT
SPENDING ALL OUR TIME AND RESOURCES ON SOMEBODY WHO IS
GOING TO LEAVE.>>THAT IS A DISCUSSION THAT
HAS BEEN GOING ON IN TECH CIRCLES. HOW DOES ONE INCENTIVIZE ONE
TO STAY, MEANING PUNITIVE TYPE THINGS OR IS THERE A BETTER
WAY TO DO THIS THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE JUST TO STAY AND DO
THEIR THING HERE?>>I THINK, FIRST AND
FOREMOST, THERE NEEDS TO BE A REVIEW OF WHY THOSE PEOPLE
LEFT. WE DON’T KNOW. WE ARE SPECULATING AND
HOPEFULLY SOMEBODY IS DOING SOME FOLLOW-UP, IF NOT, THAT
IS A PRIME AREA FOR RESEARCH AND SURVEYS TO FIGURE OUT WHY
DID THE EIGHT LEAVE? WHAT WAS IT ABOUT NEW MEXICO
THAT WASN’T ATTRACTIVE TO THEM AND START TO SEE PATTERNS
ABOUT WHAT WE COULD ADDRESS. WITHOUT THAT KNOWLEDGE, WE ARE
SHOOTING IN THE DARK.>>IS IT PART OF THE PREVIOUS
DISCUSSION WE JUST HAD ABOUT BEING OVER COLLEGED, SO TO
SPEAK. WHAT IF WE WENT TO WHERE THEY
ARE ALTOGETHER WITH STATE AND TECH KIND OF TOGETHER, WOULD
THAT SOLVE PART OF THIS PROBLEM?>>I DON’T THINK THAT IN AND
OF ITSELF WILL SOLVE IT. I THINK YOU REALLY NEED TO
LOOK SPECIFICALLY AT WHY THESE COMPANIES — IF WE ARE SEEING
A PATTERN OF COMPANIES STARTING OUT HERE, USING
TECHNOLOGY THAT GREW UP SORT OF AND BORN IN NEW MEXICO, WHY
ARE THEY THEN SEEING BENEFITS MOVING ELSE WHERE, ESPECIALLY
IN A CULTURE NOW WHERE WE ARE ABLE TO WORK FROM ANYWHERE IN
A LOT OF SITUATIONS. YOU CAN LIVE IN NEW MEXICO AND
RAISE MONEY ELSEWHERE. YOU CAN TELECOMMUTE TO
ANYWHERE, WHY IS IT ATTRACTIVE FOR PEOPLE TO LEAVE? WE MAY SEE A VARIETY OF
FACTORS THAT ARE PERSONAL. BUT MAYBE THERE ARE THINGS WE
CAN ADDRESS.>>WHEN WE COME BACK TO THE
LINE, WE WILL TALK ABOUT A CONTROVERSIAL ORDINANCE
PROPOSED IN THE VILLAGE OF CORRALES.