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Fries: Highlands fiscally sound

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By Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University is fiscally sound and is continuing to grow, a top school official said last week.

“This university is such a rich multicultural mix of people and experiences,” said President Jim Fries at the annual faculty and staff breakfast. “There is a sense of revitalization and stability on campus that is exciting and bodes well for our university’s future.”

During his talk, Fries gave some highlights for Highlands in the last year and a half:

• Fifty full-time faculty, including 28 new tenure-track professors, have been hired.

• The new residence hall under construction will house 276 students. It will help ease the student housing shortage and features green building practices.

• A 6,000-square-foot facility for the School of Social Work was added in Albuquerque. This semester, the expanded center enrolled about 100 first-year master of social work students and expects 40 to 50 new juniors.

• The College of Arts and Sciences was reorganized into two separate colleges, a move that is expected to better serve students: the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The College of Education also reorganized its departments.

• Staff in recruiting, orientation, financial aid and coaching all had a hand in attracting a large number of new students to Highland’s main campus and its centers throughout the state.

“Whether you’re helping students on campus or teaching them in the classroom and lab, you are a crucial part of what they’ll take with them when they leave Highlands,” Fries said.

Fries noted that in many other countries, college graduation rates are increasing significantly while rates in the United States remain at about the same historical level.

“The United States is treading water while the rest of the world is doing the crawl,” Fries said. “Our job as a university is to stimulate the curiosity and excitement for learning that is innate in every one of us at birthee. We have a responsibility to help our students understand the importance of education and completing their degree.”