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UNM following bills to ease credit transfers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Acting University of New Mexico President Chaouki Abdallah and the UNM regents are carefully watching the progress of two bills wending their way through the state Legislature, both intended to make the transferring of college credits easier.

Abdallah explained during a Tuesday morning Board of Regents meeting that House Bill 108 and Senate Bill 103 would allow for the New Mexico Higher Education Department to establish a common course naming and numbering system, so that students can more readily identify courses as “substantially equivalent” and make it easier for them to transfer credits from one New Mexico college to another.

As outlined in the two bills’ nearly identical language, the process would include “a procedure for each course, whereby faculty members from each segment teaching the academic discipline will reach mutual agreement on the material to be taught and the competencies to be gained.”

The bills also charge HED with verifying that the content of each course is comparable across institutions offering that course.

SB 103 is currently in the Senate Finance Committee, while HB 108 is before the House Education Committee. Each was referred with “Do Pass” recommendations from the Senate Education Committee, and from the House State Government, Indian & Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Abdallah is a member of the New Mexico Council of University Presidents, which has come out in support of the bills.

The regents also received a report Tuesday from the Office of Academic Affairs saying that 87 percent of UNM undergraduate programs have reduced their required credit hours, and 72 percent of UNM programs now award degrees after 120 credit hours. That brings UNM in line with other institutions nationwide that use 120 hours as the baseline for a bachelor’s degree. The primary goal is to make education more efficient and economical for students.

“College-ready students now largely have four-year pathways to their degrees,” the report said.

Over the past five years, UNM has seen a 9.4 percent increase in all degrees awarded and a 14 percent increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees, according to the report.

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