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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Hispanic Association of Colleges and University (HACU)

October 26-28, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
Attendees: Laura Gutierrez Spencer

“Becoming an Undocumented Student Ally” from Northeastern Illinois University

Tribune Tower, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Dan Perry via Flickr.

Tribune Tower, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Dan Perry via Flickr.

The session discussed forming a committee and trainings that were modeled after LGBT SafeZone trainings. The all-day training for university staff was called “Undocumented Student Ally Training.” Staff in some departments were told by their supervisors that the training was mandatory. After the training, they gave out decals and signs that workshop participants could put on their doors or office windows that say “undocumented student ally.” These signs helped students seeking allies, but also helped recruit faculty and staff allies. Buttons were made for the staff to wear at high school college fairs and orientations. A resource book is available with more information containing the names of allies.

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Homecoming and SAEM

Homecoming Candidates including Queen Lupe Saldivar and King Ryan Garcia, as well as candidate, Chris Lombardo.

SAEM students were well represented in the Homecoming Court. Lupe Saldivar, this year’s Homecoming Queen, is a TRiO student, president 0f TRiO Scholars, President  of The Society of Human Resource Management, a Peer Educator for University 150, and a work-study at the Office of Assessment.

Homecoming King was Ryan Garcia, an employee at the Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center and member of the Stonewall QSA. He ran with Chris Lombardo, also an active in Stonewall QSA. They were sponsored by the Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center at NMSU. Ryan and Chris ran for homecoming with the slogan, “Add some diversity to your royalty!” and are highly involved advocates for human equality for all.


Department Door Display Contest

Second place – Student Success Center – Hardman Hall

Department Office Display Contest
First place – Campus Activities
Second place – Registrar’s Office
Fourth place – Career Services


Activity Report, November 1

Office of the Vice President

The Lottery Scholarship Work Group finalized letters to go to students regarding the status of the Lottery Scholarship for Spring 2014. New Mexico Higher Education Department has not yet determined how much of the scholarship will be funded, and this work group, under Dr. Montoya’s direction, is working to ensure the best possible outcome for our students system-wide.

Dr. Montoya gave the welcome address at the Student Leadership Conference on November 2. Students from across campus and throughout the system spent a day focusing on developing their own leadership skills.

Assistant Registrar Hector Sanchez hosted a demonstration of U-Direct, academic planning software which provides students options for completing a degree. This system-wide project will begin in February 2014 and be completed by 2015.

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Activity Report, October 25

Office of the Vice President

SAEM staff and student employees at our annual picnic.

SAEM staff and student employees at our annual picnic.

Marilyn Alejo (left photo) and Monica Dunivan (right photo), 2013 recipients of the SAEM Staff Recognition Awards.

Marilyn Alejo (left photo) and Monica Dunivan (right photo), 2013 recipients of the SAEM Staff Recognition Awards.

Dr. Montoya updated the Board of Regents on October 21 about enrollment. Although enrollment is down, this is consistent with nationwide trend of decreasing enrollment.

Dr. Montoya held the first meeting of the Legislative Lottery Scholarship work group tasked with creating NMSU’s response to upcoming changes to the Lottery Scholarship. The taskforce has representatives from finance, academics, governmental affairs, ASNMSU, and student affairs.

At the staff picnic on October 25, SAEM staff voted on a new mission and vision statement and enjoyed wonderful barbeque from Rudy’s.

Marilyn Alejo from Career Services and Monica Dunivan from Military and Veteran’s Programs received the SAEM Staff Recognition Award, which recognizes staff members who exhibit exceptional performance above and beyond their normal job duties. The winners each received a $500 award.

Dr. Montoya attended the Aggies for Kids luncheon as an Advisory Board member and to support the Myrna’s Children’s Village.

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SAEM Staff Picnic

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SAEM Mission and Vision


Thanks to the almost 250 people voted who for the SAEM mission and vision statements at today’s staff picnic. The winners:

SAEM empowers students by engaging them in all aspects of the student experience. We encourage students to learn through discovery of self, others, and their world to become effective members of their community. (106 votes)

SAEM is a valued team of student affairs professionals who support our students’ academic journey toward the successful completion of their goals. (100 votes)

Thanks to everybody who voted and who otherwise contributed to this process!

Winners from the BBQ!

Congratulations! Winners of the giveaways from picnic are:

  • LineAggie Gear: Rene Samaniego (Health and Wellness); Barbara Shen (University Registrar); Carylee Summers (Health and Wellness); Rainy Estrada (Student Life)
  • Rec Sports packs: Catherine Antony (Student Information Management); Nisha Todi (Student Life); Anton Magallanez (University Admissions); Mary Chavez (University Admissions)
  • Lunch with Bernadette: Montevis Price (Counseling Center)
  • University Admissions won the Office Coffee Break (to be scheduled at a later date)!

Your prizes will be delivered Monday (except for the coffee break)!

Thanks to Rec Sports and University Admissions for donating the prizes.

Congratulations to Marilyn and Monica!


MACHeckCongratulations to Marilyn Alejo (left photo) and Monica Dunivan (right photo), winners of this year’s SAEM Staff Recognition Awards!

Marilyn Alejo, Administrative Assistant in Career Services, was nominated by colleagues Elizabeth Ortega, Kevin Andrew, and Tony Marin. They cited her professionalism, work ethic, and outstanding contributions to the office, explaining that Marilyn takes initiative in learning new features of AggieCareer Manager, that she advises students from the heart, and that she is well known for her extraordinary customer service. A Valero Energy representative and former NMSU student who participated in the Co-Op program mentioned how much he valued Marilyn’s guidance. His company is now recruiting at NMSU for the first time!

Monica Dunivan was nominated by Jacobo Varela, Director of Military and Veterans Programs. Jacobo described Monica as a respected advocate in her work with veterans, active duty military, and their dependents in addition to her work with Employee Council. Monica’s positive approach to students helps make MVP a trusted resource for students. Due to staff turnover this fall, Monica was suddenly called on to accomplish work normally done by two people. Her dedication in completing the work on time meant that students faced no delay in benefit payments for their education.

This is the second year SAEM Staff Recognition Awards have been a part of our Annual Picnic.


Activity Report, October 18

Office of the Vice President

Dr. Montoya at the TETWP art gallery opening.

Dr. Montoya at the TETWP art gallery opening.

A panel of vice presidents of student affairs from around New Mexico discussed higher education administration at the NMASAP Symposium at UNM.

A panel of vice presidents of student affairs from around New Mexico discussed higher education administration at the NMASAP Symposium at UNM.

Dr. Montoya delivered the opening address for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Art Gallery opening on October 14. The event was attended by Jill Conley, a breast cancer survivor and TETWP guest speaker, and her husband. Dr. Montoya concluded her address by singing from “Fight Like a Girl”.

Dr. Montoya served on a panel with student affairs vice presidents from around the state at last week’s New Mexico Association of Student Affairs Professionals Symposium at UNM. She also delivered the closing keynote address on retaining and graduation students.

Sodexo created two Aggie-themed green chile pecan pies for Dr. Montoya to donate to the Cibola County 4-H Pie Auction and BBQ Luau on October 18 in Grants. The Pie Auction is the primary fundraiser for this group and is run by the senior 4-H students. The pies and some Aggies gear raised nearly $400 for the group!

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Activity Report, October 11

Office of the Vice President

SAEM staff attended Darby Roberts’s workshop on building a culture of evidence.

SAEM staff attended Darby Roberts’s workshop on building a culture of evidence.

Dr. Montoya attended the Senate Memorial 101 Lottery Work Group on October 11 in Santa Fe with representatives of ASNMSU. Our students have played a leading role in working toward a new model for the Lottery scholarship by setting an excellent example of cooperation with other student governments and in creating creative and sustainable solutions. We recognize the work of David Maestas, Jeremy Witte, Lydia Hammond, Daniel Sonntag, and Sage Peterson in this endeavor.

The SAEM Assessment team hosted Dr. Darby Roberts, editor of Learning is not a Sprint, on October 11. Darby Roberts is the associate director of student life studies at Texas A&M; she worked with the SAEM Leadership team and the Assessment Team on next steps in creating a culture of evidence.

Dr. Montoya met with Alexandra Von Wolff, Executive Director of the RoundUp, to discuss strategies that will allow the student paper to enhance circulation and revenue streams.

SAEM social media presences have a fairly wide reach in the NMSU community. Last Thursday, a flash mob in Corbett Center ended in a (successful) marriage proposal. The event was recorded by a number of people and we posted and shared two of the videos on Facebook. In less than 24 hours the event was liked more than 800 times, shared over 90 times, generated more than 60 comments, and was seen by more than 45,000 people. That one event generated about four times the engagement we see for all our posts in a typical week. The video is at (http://www.facebook.com/newmexicostateuniversity). These outlets can be of great use for communicating with current and prospective students.

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Activity Report, October 4

Office of the Vice President

Dr. Montoya represented NMSU at the 3rd Biennial Policy Summit on Latino Higher Education in Albuquerque, presented by The Sereno Alliance for Higher Education and the University of New Mexico. The goal of the summit was to bring together Hispanic/Latino leaders, educators, elected officials, and others from around the country to discuss the challenges facing Latinos in higher education.

Dr. Montoya reviewed presentations and poster proposals for the 2014 conference for NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators). NASPA is a leader for the administration, policy, and practice of student affairs nationwide.

Melody Munson-McGee, Planning Officer, was elected co-chair of the NMSU OAC-CAO (the Outcomes Assessment Committee for Co-curriculum, Administration and Operations) along with Teresa Burgin, Director of the Center for Learning and Professional Development. The OAC-CAO mission is to support different areas in their assessments of enhancing students’ life-learning experiences.

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Save the Dates!

October 11, 2013 – Darby Roberts Meet and Greet plus Workshop, CCSU Colfax Room

The SAEM Assessment Team will host Darby Roberts for a full day of assessment activities in the Colfax room at Corbett Center Student Union on Friday, October 11. Dr. Roberts is the co-editor of Learning is not a Sprint and is an experienced practitioner in student learning in co-curricular areas. Join us at:

  • 9:00 am, for a Meet and Greet
  • 1:00 pm, Workshop: Getting Started

Refreshments will be served.

October 18, 2013 – Annual Employee Appreciation Picnic

The Annual Employee Appreciation Picnic will be held from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the NMSU Horseshoe. Chicken BBQ sandwiches and vegan entrees will be served. There will also be a shuttle running to the Horseshoe for those who cannot walk or drive.

October 21, 2013 – Board of Regents meeting

The Board of Regents meeting will be held at 8:00 am in the auditorium at DACC East Mesa Campus. The meeting will be available online at http://panopto.nmsu.edu/bor/.

Staff enjoying BBQ at the 2012 SAEM Picnic.

Staff enjoying BBQ at the 2012 SAEM Picnic.

October 25, 2013 – SAEM Staff Picnic

The SAEM Staff Picnic will be held on the grass on the west side of the Educational Services Building from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Barbecue including brisket, turkey, and sausage will be served from Rudy’s, as well as potato salad, three bean salad, and beans. Dessert options include peach cobbler and rice krispies. The SAEM Staff Picnic is a great time to mingle with coworkers and learn about different areas of SAEM.

Activity Report, September 27

Office of the Vice President

Before an audience of about 300, Dr. Montoya welcomed new members of the Greek Community with an address about the importance of involvement in campus life.  She encouraged students to set a good example for others through the work in their communities.

Dr. Montoya welcomed about 400 prospective students and their families at the Aggie Experience program on Saturday.  University Admissions hosts this event each year.

This was a busy week for interviews: On Monday, Dr. Montoya was interviewed for the News 22 broadcast about enrollment, and on Wednesday, she discussed financial aid with Lindsey Anderson for an upcoming article in the Las Cruces Sun News.

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Assessment expert to visit on October 11

SAEM Assessment Team is bringing Darby Roberts, editor of Learning is not a Sprint, to NMSU on October 11. We will be hosting sessions with her all day in the Colfax room at Corbett Center Student Union. The sessions include:

9:00 am–10:00 am: Meet and Greet for staff from SAEM and others from NMSU’s Assessment Community. 

1:00 pm–2:30 pm: A workshop on assessment in general, including its importance, things to consider regarding assessment, the benefits of assessment, and how to get started.

Dr. Roberts will also meet with the SAEM Leadership at 10:00 am and the SAEM Assessment Team at 3:00.

Refreshments will be served at these sessions.


Activity Report, September 20

Office of the Vice President

At the NMSU Community College Roundup in Carlsbad, Dr. Bernadette Montoya held a colloquium about ways NMSU student affairs and enrollment management units are working together across the system. Through audience engagement, Dr. Montoya left with ideas on future efforts.

Michael Jasek and Melody Munson-McGee also presented at the Community College RoundUp on SAEM efforts to establish a culture of assessment. They started a discussion about how to extend their efforts to the community colleges in areas that are aligned through similar purposes.

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Activity Report, September 13

Office of the Vice President

The SAEM Advisory Team at work drafting mission and vision statements.

The SAEM Advisory Team at work drafting mission and vision statements.

On Wednesday, the Advisory Team drafted a mission and vision statement for SAEM that will now go to all staff for feedback. The final statements will be completed by early November.

The SAEM Professional Development Committee held their first event, a one-hour presentation by Del Suggs on how to avoid burnout and manage your time. Highlights of his talk are at http://studentaffairs.nmsu.edu/2013/09/20248/.

Enrollment was in the news this week: Dr. Montoya was interviewed for a print story by the Sun News and had another interview featured on Santa Fe’s public radio station, KSFR at http://bit.ly/18XhnnH (minutes 18 through 26).

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Progress on mission and vision statements

Working on a draft mission statement.

Working on a draft mission statement.

Wednesday September 11, the SAEM Advisory Team took the first steps toward drafting a mission and vision statement for SAEM.

We started this process by priming the pump through answering questions about who we are and what we do. We used responses to those questions as source material, then half of the team drafted a mission statement and half drafted a vision statement. Everybody drafted a their own version, and we combined them into the statements following.

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Mission and Vision Working Session

What do we do?

  • Student Service
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Leadership development
  • Outreach to community
  • Daily operations
  • Change lives
  • Discovery of self, others, and ideas
  • Guidance
  • Career planning
  • Access to resources, experiences, and opportunities
  • Dream
  • Educate
  • Creative friendly and safe environment
  • Crises management

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Avoiding burnout and time management by Del Suggs

Del Suggs presented "Avoiding Burnout and Time Management" to SAEM staff.

Bernadette Montoya meets Del Suggs, who presented “Avoiding Burnout and Time Management” to SAEM staff.

On September 10, about two dozen SAEM employees attended the first presentation arranged by the SAEM Professional Development Committee. The presentation, “Avoiding Burnout and Time Management” was led by Del Suggs, a noted Leadership Development trainer and author, was named “Best Campus Speaker” by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA).

Del gave advice on how to recognize burnout and regain the joy in your life and work. His tips were:

  • Be grateful
  • Set personal goals
  • Have a morning ritual
  • Manage your time
  • Eat that frog
  • Stay healthy
  • Stay connected to family and friends
  • If all else fails, get a new job.

For further reading on Del Suggs and his presentation, visit his website at www.delsuggs.com.



TRiO welcomes new Mentor Coordinator

SAEM welcomes Chadryhn Pedraza, new Mentor Coordinator for TRiO Student Support Services Program.chadryhnpedraza

Chadrhyn has a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has over 10 years of experience working with students of different ages and diverse backgrounds from teaching and mentoring to research.  Chadrhyn has recently relocated to New Mexico with her husband, Jesus, and two children, Michael and Robert.

Chadryhn’s office is located in Hardman Hall, room 210.