A few months ago, I spoke at the Great Minds in STEM summit in California. I challenged those in attendance to find outside investment, including partnerships with corporations, philanthropy and government agencies, to improve education funding and methodology from kindergarten through college with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math.
Earlier this week, NMSU followed up on that challenge by bringing together some of the best minds from across the region to focus on transforming K-16 education in New Mexico, with a focus on STEM. Representatives from Great Minds in STEM, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Public Education, Jobs for the Future, NMSU, Doña Ana Community College and others from the private sector and industry shared their perspectives on the challenges, as well as the opportunities we have before us.
The theme that emerged was “Transforming Education in New Mexico.” As I’ve said before, the pipeline for university students is the nation’s K-12 education system. Unfortunately, New Mexico ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to our performance in K-12. If you add up our current resources, it’s just not enough to provide the education we must deliver for our children.
NMSU wants to lead a transformative effort on this front. We are fortunate that NMSU has a number of resources available to help improve New Mexico’s educational pipeline. Our College of Education trains the teachers who will prepare the next generation of students for college. We’re able to leverage our Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences to reach children across the state and provide them additional educational resources before they reach college. We also have additional outreach programs in our College of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and with other NMSU programs that reach school-aged children throughout the year.
Improving our K-16 ecosystem is a difficult challenge, but it’s one I’m certain our talented faculty, staff and even our students have the ability to accomplish. I look forward to our continued work in this area.