The Luna Community College Board of Trustees approved two new degrees last week. But one member said he would like to have more information on the costs of such programs beforehand.
At the trustees’ regular meeting, the board voted for associate of applied science degrees in military science and general agriculture. However, it delayed action on a proposed associate of arts degree in community college teaching.
Luna Vice President Vidal Martinez said he had been in contact with the New Mexico National Guard and that he had already identified a number of Guard members who would be interested in joining the military science degree program. The program would also be open for civilians.
The incentive for Guard members would be that their tuition would be waived, Martinez said.
As for the general agricultural degree, Martinez said the school had been working on it for a year and that Luna hoped to have classes available for the program at all of its locations. He said the agricultural program would involve a significant number of students and that Luna would work with New Mexico State University, known for its farming and ranching education.
Trustee Levi Alcon said he would like to have more information on costs, although he said he was definitely in favor of the agricultural program.
“What I’d like to see is a breakdown on the startup and recurring costs to make sure the programs are financially sustainable,” Alcon said.
He also said he wanted to ensure that the programs lasted long enough for students to get their degrees. He said he didn’t want students to work toward the degrees and then see Luna end the programs before they could finish.
The board’s chairman, Ambrose Castellano, said college officials had already presented information about the financial feasibility of the degree programs during a previous board work session.
“That’s why the work sessions are important,” Castellano said.
Alcon said that with his line of work, it’s hard to attend such sessions, adding that he would like to see the budget information in the board’s packet.
At the meeting, Martinez said the college had planned to make the community college teaching courses a certificate program. But he said officials decided it would be better to make it an associate’s degree.
Frankie Tenorio, a new board member representing Santa Rosa, said he had concerns with the proposal to add an associate’s degree for community college teaching. He said it would probably be better to start with the certificate, then add the degree later if there were enough interest.
Martinez said going with the degree meant that the college was simply adding core classes as a requirement. He said it’s been a concern across the country that many community college instructors have no training in teaching.
“This program would help address that,” he said.
The trustees unanimously approved the degrees for military science and general agriculture, but decided to table the one for community college teaching, so they could get up to speed on the issue.
In other action, the board approved a slight increase in tuition — from $28 to $29 a credit.