By Billy Huntsman
For the next seven weeks, The Round Up/Oncore Magazine will publish, on Mondays and Thursdays, installments of its 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.
Since 2002, approximately 136 professors have left New Mexico State University for positions at other institutions, or otherwise “undisclosed” destinations.
Research conducted by The Round Up/Oncore Magazine has found the following:
- César Abarca was hired to NMSU’s School of Social Work in Spring 2013 and left to Humboldt State University after that summer.
- Monica Brown, in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, left NMSU in 2014 to the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. She had been promoted to full professor in Spring 2013, according to the College of Education’s inaugural newsletter.
- Robert Durán was hired as an assistant professor in 2006 to NMSU’s Criminal Justice Department, and left as an associate professor in 2014 to the University of Tennessee – Knoxville for an assistant professor position.
- Jennie Luna was hired in 2012 as an assistant professor in NMSU’s Women’s Studies Department and left in 2014 to California State University Channel Islands.
- Aishah Patterson (née Ortega), an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, left sometime during or after 2011, her destination “undisclosed.”
- Claudia Porras was hired as an assistant professor in the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department in 2011 and left sometime in or after 2012 to Texas Women’s University.
- Cristóbal Rodríguez, an NMSU alumnus, was hired as an assistant professor to NMSU’s Educational Leadership and Administration Department in 2009 and left to Howard University in 2014.
- Marisol Ruiz was hired as an assistant professor to NMSU’s Curriculum and Instruction Department in 2009 and left in 2013 to Humboldt State University.
- Kathryn Valentine was hired as an assistant professor to NMSU’s English Department in 2003 and left sometime in or after 2011 to San Diego State University.
- Judy Weisinger was hired to NMSU’s English Department as an associate professor in 2002 and left in 2013 to Mills College.
The remaining 126 cannot be identified, as they were participants in studies and granted anonymity.
The first study in question is “A Diamond in the Rough: Faculty Retention at New Mexico State University,” published in November 2008, by Christine Eber, professor emerita in NMSU’s Department of Anthropology.
For this report, Eber extensively interviewed 34 former NMSU faculty members, 18 female, 16 male, who left between 2005 and 2008. Eber tried also to get into contact with an additional 15 who did not respond to her.
None of the 34 retired. Eber’s findings are: 18 left NMSU for tenure-track assistant professor positions, one left for a tenured associate professorship, one left for an associate professorship and would become department head the following year, two left for deanships, two left for department headships, one left to become director of a center, one left for an endowed chair, four left for nonacademic positions, and four left without replacement jobs.
Eber’s research built upon preliminary research conducted by Lisa Frehill of the National Science Foundation. Because of a grant from the NSF through NMSU’s ADVANCE Program, in 2003 Frehill was able to interview 11 former NMSU professors. Eight had left between 2002 and 2003, the remaining three soon thereafter. Frehill’s report can be viewed online.
The remaining 76 were cataloged into the table by NMSU’s Office of Institutional Analysis below.
What is interesting to note is that while NMSU’s overall faculty numbers increased between Fall 2011 and Fall 2013, there was dramatic yearly turnover, such as 52 White faculty members who left between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012.
As the table notes, the numbers include faculty who were on sabbatical leave, so the numbers may not add up precisely to 136, but may be within an acceptable margin of error.