NNMC President Rick Bailey, “Address The Needs The Community Wants Us To Fill”
By Robert A. Naranjo
The new president of Northern New Mexico College, Dr. Rick Bailey, Jr., was formally introduced to a good-sized crowd consisting of faculty, employees, students, guests and the media at the “2016 Convocation” ceremony held on Monday, August 15 in front of the original building of the Espanola campus, the Joseph M. Montoya Administration Building. And, if the beautiful weather was any indication of the future of the college under the leadership of Dr. Bailey, then there are sunny days ahead for the over 100-year-old college that is the flagship institution of higher learning in northern New Mexico.
In an interview with the Valley Daily Post conducted before the Convocation ceremony began, Bailey was asked about the future of Northern.
“I think what we need to do here at Northern is to assess the needs of the community. What are the skill sets and what are the education sets that will help students succeed in the community. And then we should respond based on what the community wants us to do. So, my plan is to engage in a more fruitful dialogue with community leaders so we know–here are the things the community needs–and once we face that demand signal, we’ll put the college on the right track,” he said.
Bailey was asked to comment on the loss of popular vocational programs that irked the community and lost its support.
“I do know we have a responsibility to the community and I know how important the college is for them. And so, we will address the needs that the community wants us to fill. So, I’m very sensitive to that,” Bailey said.
Asked about any immediate plans for the college.
“Absolutely. The goal here–the early goal–is to help build and strengthen relationships, relationships between the administration and faculty, relationships between the staff, faculty and the students, relationships between the college and the local community, so all of that is about making sure that we are transparent, open, and everyone knows why we are making the decisions we are making, and we allow the community to be a part of that,” he explained.
L-R Dr. Ivan Lopez-Hurtado, Interim Provost & VP for Academic Affairs, Frank Orona, Director of Admissions and Recruitment, and Dr. Rick Bailey, Jr., President, are shown here in a photo op moment after Orona was recognized by Northern minutes earlier during the 2016 Convocation ceremony. Dr.Lopez-Hurdado served as emcee after Interim President, Domingo Sanchez, had a flight re-routed back to Dallas, TX during inclement weather on his flight back to New Mexico. Photo by Robert A. Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
On working with the Legislature, lobbying, etc.
“It’s very important for us to build relationships with the state.
The challenge here is, and our state legislators are in a very challenging position, I mean, they’ve had revenues in the state come down, and so we know that is a reality. So, the challenge for us is to do what we can to make sure that we are getting the support that we can from the state, and at the same time we need to diversify and look for alternative sources of sources of revenue for the college,” he said.
Asked for a final comment before the Convocation ceremony began.
“Here is the one thing that I will say. I’m not going to try and change the college into something we are not. I know why we are here and rather than trying to make us something that we are not, I want to celebrate that things that we do and provide more opportunities that way,” Bailey concluded.