ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Frank earns award for helping to increase student retention rates
Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal
University of New Mexico President Bob Frank will receive a $25,000 bonus this year for helping to increase student retention rates.
Regents unanimously approved the bonus for Frank after conducting a performance evaluation in a closed session on Tuesday. Frank completed his first year as president in June.
“Our evaluation was positive. Regents think he’s doing a good job,” regents President Jack Fortner said.
However, regents did criticize what Fortner said could be better communication among the president, regents and the Health Sciences Center.
The student retention bonus was one of two written into Frank’s contract when he was hired.
The five-year contract calls for $355,000 in annual pay along with $100,000 in deferred compensation per year and a car allowance of $1,000 monthly. The contract also includes two potential bonuses worth $25,000 each: one for improving third-semester retention rates and the other for increasing six-year graduation rates.
The regents and Frank said the president likely qualified for the graduation rate bonus as well, but Frank told the Journal he didn’t feel comfortable taking credit because it was a team effort and he felt he had been rewarded enough.
Third-semester retention rates for students who started at UNM in the fall of 2011 increased to 76.6 percent from 74.1 percent the year before.
Graduation rates increased from 45.1 percent for the class of 2011 to 45.8 percent in 2012.
Fortner said it wasn’t just the improved figures that have made Frank’s first year a success.
Frank has “improved the perceived value of a UNM degree,” Fortner said. Frank’s engagement in economic, city and state issues has boosted the university’s visibility and reputation, he said.
For example, Frank helped to organize a large economic development forum with the city in February. He also has been at the helm of Innovate ABQ, which aims to bring private and public sectors together to commercialize technologies developed at UNM and create job opportunities.
“One of the great things he did early on is strengthen the (UNM) Foundation,” Fortner said. Frank revamped the foundation, UNM’s fundraising arm, by forging a closer affiliation between the university and the foundation.
But there is always room for improvement, Fortner said.
Controversy brewed last month after news accounts of Frank’s discontent with HSC’s level of autonomy. In an interview with the Journal , Frank said he felt the HSC and main campus were two institutions. He drew harsh criticism from some regents and HSC administrators, and he later backed off his comments.
Frank said Tuesday that he agreed with the criticism but was working to improve.
“You don’t get to this point in your career without knowing your strengths and weaknesses,” Frank said.