A strategic plan guides an organization’s decisions and actions based on its values and priorities.  In 2022, New Mexico Tech’s Strategic Plan Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members, created a plan to guide Tech’s actions and decisions over the next five years.

“Energizing Community” was one of the key strategic themes that emerged from this process. Specifically, NMT commits to “serve the public through research, scientific knowledge, economic development, and STE2M outreach, which benefits Socorro [and] communities throughout New Mexico. NMT will commit to strengthen the bonds with Socorro and surrounding areas by cooperatively developing an open and inclusive identity and a common vision to build a more vibrant and resilient community.”

The Energizing Community strategic theme organized under two goals, one that is dedicated to “strengthening the vibrant Socorro community through shared experiences, partnerships and opportunities,” and the other which is committed to “cultivate a sense of belonging for students, faculty, and staff to build an inclusive and engaged community at Tech.”  In a sense, these demonstrate the importance of our relationship with the community outside of NMT as well as ensuring a healthy, robust culture on the NMT campus.

What are some of the key objects for strengthening the vibrant Socorro Community?  One reflects the commitment to life-long learning by supporting cooperative educational opportunities for all community members.

One way to meet this objective is to promote Socorro High School’s designation as an Early College High School by expanding opportunities for students to leverage dual credit courses to earn certificates, an associates degree, or two years toward a four-year degree by the time they graduate from Socorro High School.  Another strategy is to expand the capacity of STORM FORCE. STORM FORCE is a community partnership whose mission is to inspire and empower Socorro County residents by promoting mentoring, skills in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), and a culture of lifelong learning.  This entails leveraging existing programs and collaborations to develop more partnerships and programs and measure their impact.

Another key objective is to strengthen the community and university by working together to build a more vibrant community for everyone.  This includes supporting the 100% Socorro initiative through community collaboration to create sustainable infrastructure for community-wide coordination of services for surviving and thriving: food, housing, medical care, behavioral health, transportation, early childhood education, parent supports, community schools, youth mentoring and job training.

These services are essential for both the Socorro and NMT communities, including students, faculty and staff. Community-wide collaboration to increase access to technology (including the skills to use technology) is also a potential task for meeting this objective.

Another key objective is to enhance economic development opportunities by fostering collaboration among community leaders.  Key to this is communication, and a potential strategy is to develop a unified communications platform with a combined community calendar accessible to the entire community.  Shared marketing and branding will embody the symbiotic relationship between Socorro and New Mexico Tech.

Utilizing athletics and other competitive activities to create more opportunities for community-wide engagement is also a key objective.  Two potential tasks include pursuing shared activities, promotions, and branding between the NMT Miners and Socorro Consolidated Schools mascots, as well as investigating the impact of creating a formal NMT Athletics Department on community engagement, recruitment, and a sense of belonging.

The objectives of the “Energizing Community” strategic theme exemplify NMT’s commitment to a deeper engagement with the Socorro community to build a more vibrant and resilient community.

Sharon Sessions, Guest Columnist