By Bill Knief
“The second our class schedule goes to press it’s inaccurate,” Patricia Gonzales, UNM-Taos Student Enrollment Director stated bluntly. “What we have found is that the most accurate document out there is the one online.”
The problem is that class changes—in instructor, location, time, course number, and even the occasional cancellation—are inevitable. So if a student is working from a schedule that was printed months earlier, there is bound to be a large margin of error. By contrast, when Roberta Vigil, Senior Instructional Services Associate for the Department of Instruction, makes a change, it is instantly recorded on the website.
“For Spring semester we will be putting out a smaller schedule with all the courses listed, important dates, policies, how to register, how to apply for financial aid,” Gonzales said. “But we will refer students to the website to get specific information about classes.”
This may cause some confusion at first, Gonzales conceded, but the registration office will have computer pods and plenty of help for those students not completely comfortable with online registration, and she feels that the change will help elevate students’ all important computer skills and confidence.
“Our whole strategy is changing. We are also making a big push to get students to enroll early, so they don’t have to struggle at the end and take what’s left. Spring registration starts November 30, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and people can call 737-6200 with any questions they might have.”
In addition to changes in policy and procedure for spring semester, students, staff and faculty look forward to the opening of the long awaited 18,000 square foot Pueblo Hall classroom building on the Klauer campus which will consolidate most of the ten current campus locations.
SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE
For three years Annette Arellano has been a UNM-Taos student. Last Spring she obtained her associate’s degree and thought that might be it for a while. But then she was awarded a MANA del Norte scholarship set up “to serve as a voice and a resource for Hispanic women,” and, through education, “improve the economic, social and political conditions of all Hispanas in Northern New Mexico.” It helped fund her college career, and she’s back this semester working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Journalism.
“To keep going I had to seek funding, and I found this scholarship on the internet. I qualified as a Latina who wanted to continue her education,” she explained. “They give out 20 scholarships of $1,000 apiece throughout New Mexico each year, but mine was the only one from Taos.”
Arellano feels that more local students should apply for these scholarships. “Too many people feel that they don’t have much of a chance,” she said, “but that’s not always true. It does take a lot of work, though. I had to write an essay, get my GPA scores, and ask professors and people I had worked for to write letters of recommendation.
“You could say that your education can only go so far, but that’s not true. It keeps going and going. That’s what my essay was about: my background being Hispanic and growing up in this area and not having educational opportunities when I was younger. Most of us came from big families and the opportunities were just not there.
“We need to get more people from Taos to step up and get this money,” she said.