By Bill Knief
Tuesday, April 7, Dr. Juan Franco of the University of Nebraska and Dr. Paul Gaston from Kent State, conducted a Higher Learning Commission site visit at UNM-Taos as the final step in an accreditation process that has taken over a year and a half to complete. By April 9 word had come down that we would remain fully accredited for the next ten years.
“It means we are recognized by an association of our peers as having a competent array of programs and a qualified faculty for delivery of degrees and certificates,” explained Jim Gilroy, Dean of Instruction. “UNM selected two colleges to represent the rest of the branch campuses: UNM-Taos and Gallup. They singled us out because we had achieved branch status since the last accreditation, so they wanted to assess the quality and integrity of our programs and our courses.
“The criteria for accreditation has changed nationally. What they are looking for now are learning outcomes: ways to measure teacher effectiveness as well as student success. What that means is developing certain performance criteria, or performance outcomes for both programs and courses. To have all that in place, particularly as a young and upcoming campus, has been a lot of work for faculty, student affairs, administration, academy heads, program coordinators and our point person for accreditation, Joel Whitehead.
“I’m happy to say that we continue to be fully accredited, and look forward to delivering the courses and services that this community needs.”
WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD
April 19-25 has been designated the Week of the Young Child “to honor young children and thank teachers and all those who make a difference in young children’s lives,” according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A proposed resolution before the Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle supports “…organizations…working to improve early learning opportunities, including early literacy programs that can provide a foundation of learning for children in the Enchanted Circle.”
Friday, April 17 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. the UNM-Taos Library will collaborate with the International Exchange Program in hosting a Children’s Day Celebration at the UNM-Taos Library and student lounge at 115 Civic Plaza Drive. Activities will include story telling, a martial arts demonstration a multicultural mural and refreshments.
Monday, April 20, at the Center for Early Learning on the Klauer Campus 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. there will be an open house and proclamation.
Wednesday, April 22 will be an open house tour of the new Center for Early Learning and a parent workshop on helping your child to read conducted by Amy Cordova, Margaret Mactavish and Roe Ziccarello from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. It’s a good opportunity to explore this state of the art facility that has been the recipient of two HUD grants and a recent $800,000 grant from the legislature, thanks to Senator Carlos Cisneros and Representative Bobby Gonzales.
“When everything is completed, we will be able to serve infants, toddlers and Pre-K students,” reported Patricia Gonzales, Student Enrollment Director. “This is so important because if children begin early and have a jump start on Pre-K, it has been shown that they will be more successful in school throughout their entire educational journey.”
Another good reason to take this opportunity to get to know the Center for Early Learning is that they will be recruiting four year old students in the near future.
“A new Pre-K cohort will start in August,” said Gonzales. “and it is completely free. Anybody in the community can apply. We are a model child care facility.”