BY CHANCELLOR CINDY ROONEY
University of New Mexico–Los Alamos
PRESIDENT BECKY ROWLEY
Santa Fe Community College
PRESIDENT RICK BAILEY
Northern New Mexico College
As we continue to experience the effects of the pandemic, many New Mexicans are wondering how our lives and our economy will move forward in the coming months. As leaders of your local colleges, we too have been asking these questions, and want to share a conversation we had recently about the importance of higher education to the recovery plan for New Mexico, and for the wider world. In essence, education will be our recovery “engine” to help chart our way forward for our communities and our state.
The efforts we have all made to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our communities has slowed the spread and saved lives, which is our top priority. We encourage all of you to continue to follow guidance from our governor and our health experts. We too are following this, which is why we will be offering all of our Summer courses online and are already exploring Fall options.
Because of the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff, we have been able to protect the health and safety of our communities while maintaining our commitment to providing quality education to New Mexicans. However, the transition has not been easy. Each of us had to move all courses into an online or distance-learning format, and dramatically reduce the physical footprint on our campuses. Together we have worked to overcome barriers such as lack of internet access and availability of computers. Most importantly, we have strived to keep students at the heart of every decision we have made.
We also made a commitment early on to protect our faculty, staff, and work-study students and to minimize the economic impact they experience. However, we know that many New Mexicans have been hard-hit by the effects of this crisis and face an uncertain future. While stimulus payments and unemployment benefits are important for providing short-term relief, education is key for long-term economic stability for New Mexican families and our state overall.
Education has always been an important way that people can “future proof” themselves and work toward personal and financial security. A degree can help place you on the path of a lucrative and rewarding career, with steady hours, health benefits, and retirement plans. This crisis has also taught us that, as a state, we are also in great need of trained professionals including nurses, information technology engineers, and educators.
While education is an investment, the affordability and convenience of your local colleges, along with financial aid options, mean that working toward your degree is a goal that is within reach. Now may be the perfect opportunity for you to take a class, whether for personal enjoyment, or to transition to a new career.
UNM-Los Alamos, Santa Fe Community College, and Northern New Mexico College stand ready and willing to help you every step of the way. Even if you are unsure if college is an option for you, please reach out to any of our admissions staff (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com), who would be more than happy to discuss your options. We wish you and everyone you love health, safety, and happiness as we navigate the current situation together, and we look forward to serving you and our northern New Mexico community.