December 2022


Project Management and the NMSU System Research and Creativity Enterprise


By Drs. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Strategic Initiatives and Ruth Johnston, Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as ”any temporary endeavor with a definite beginning and end.” This definition should ring a bell if you are a principal investigator (PI) on a sponsored grant or contract. While project management (PM) is neither required nor, in many cases, a line item allowed by sponsors, it is essential to competing for large government contracts. For example, Physical Science Lab’s Joanne Esparza, a seasoned project manager, was key to the successful re-compete of the 10-year, $92.8 million contract with Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Data and Analysis Center (DAC).

To achieve the goal of becoming a Carnegie R1 institution, the Office of Research, Creativity and Strategic Initiatives (RCSI) prioritizes submission of large (> $3 million) grants annually. Although some PIs have sufficient PM experience to execute such large, funded grant projects, most, particularly new PIs, do not. As we successfully compete for large sponsored projects, we need to improve our ability to manage them. PIs must acquire PM skills, or have access to staff who have these competencies. NMSU is not the only university facing this issue. Even R1s (e.g., North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University) are discussing the need to grow internal PM capacity.

A new task force at the NMSU system, which Ruth and I co-chair, was charged by Chancellor Arvizu this Fall and is focused on developing a consistent approach to managing all types of projects. We are looking to get a sense of PM needs across campus, not just in research, and to determine how to build the infrastructure required to support the gamut of projects across our system.

The task force is building off the initial work that a PM group began last year. Led by Lauren Goldstein in the Strategic System Services (Ruth’s organization) and Yolanda Hernandez from Digital Learning, they explored building a culture of PM among NMSU employees. One outcome of this effort is an asynchronous, on-demand “Building a Culture of Project Management with NMSU Employees” module. NMSU On Demand also offers a micro-credential on PM. Five task force members, including us, successfully took the course this Fall, which will be offered again this Spring.

Earlier this month, the task force circulated a PM feedback survey to NMSU employees. Though many respondents do not have project or program manager and or coordinator in their titles, they are still engaging in a lot of PM work. Respondents report managing many projects at one time that are short-term and involve interacting with multiple units across campus. Many respondents are involved in all phases of a project, from initiation at the start to finalization at the end. In terms of time on different tasks, managing resources for a task and communicating task status for reporting on task performance seemed to take up the most amount of time among the tasks listed. While some respondents have taken PM coursework, hardly any have PMP certification, and likely don’t need it. However, PM work translates into many jobs and is an invaluable transferrable skill.

The work of the task force will continue through the Spring semester when we plan to submit a report to the Chancellor, which will likely recommend two deliverables. First, build on the work of Goldstein and Hernandez and NMSU Online to create a robust training program for NMSU students, staff and faculty who need PM instruction, or are looking for professional development opportunities in this area. Second, a roadmap for forming a central PM office, which can administer, grow and sustain PM capacity in the System. Forming a cohort, or pool of qualified, skilled, agile PMs that can serve program’s and or department’s needs is a start to this roadmap. In parallel, we must better define job descriptions for project and program managers and coordinators and properly incorporate them into existing institutional job descriptions. In turn, we need to form a PM list-serve and/or Teams site to communicate the work of the “Building a Culture of Project Management” team, training opportunities, job opportunities, best practices, and stories of success. Finally, RCSI is committed to hire two PMs by Fall of 2024 who will be available to serve PIs needing PM support.

To institutionalize PM in the NMSU system we have a big task ahead. We seek your input.






College of HEST Pre-Award Research Support


By Ms. Alisha Giron, Assistant Vice President for Research


Dear HEST Researchers,

We deeply value your research contributions and would like to provide an update on the pre-award services provided by the College and Research Administration Services (RAS). 

Due to vacancies in HEST Research and Budgeting Operations (RBO), RAS and RBO will work closer than ever on ensuring you have the support you need for your pre-award activities (e.g., grant proposal preparation/submission). Please continue to reach out to both RAS and RBO to initiate the proposal process and development of the proposal budget. As always, the RBO will then hand off the finalized proposal budget/budget justification to RAS. RAS will address application requirements, request additional information, etc. before final submission to the sponsor. Please help ensure RAS has adequate time to review your application and address any omissions.

Lastly, HEST leadership is working closely with leadership of the Office of Research, Creativity, and Strategic Initiatives on developing a pre-award services model that resembles that of the College of Arts & Sciences. For more than a decade, all pre-award support is provided by RAS for the College of Arts & Sciences. This structure has fostered greater efficiencies and has resulted in fewer touch points and delays.

Please feel free to reach out to Jill McDonald, Anita Hernandez, and Alisha Giron with any concerns about your research endeavors. The success of your work is important to the entire NMSU system and we thank you for your continued contributions to research, scholarship and creativity excellence.






Expertise Sought for Core Facility Advisory Board


By Dr. Tanner Schaub, Director, Research Cores Program

The Research Cores Program (RCP) seeks research-active faculty and/or staff members who will lend their expertise as Advisory Board members for the Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory (CAIL). The CAIL laboratory is under the direction of Dr. Robert Young and houses regionally unique instrumentation resources that have significant application in a broad array of research areas including bioscience, agriculture, materials development, environmental science and engineering, energy, and forensics. The CAIL laboratory was previously a stand-alone research program with a high level of collaborative activity spanning a 14-year history, and became a Core facility in 2021 with the inception of the RCP at NMSU.

The research vision development, strategic planning and policy formulation provided by this board will be critical to the continued growth and success of the CAIL resource. The Research Cores Program itself is led by the Research Cores Program Advisory Board and we aim for each member lab to establish a working board that maintains close connectivity to our faculty. Faculty and/or staff members that would like to provide expertise to this board should contact the RCP director, Dr. Tanner Schaub, at





Recognizing A Large Award (November 2022)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Congratulations to Ms. Dana Catron, Deputy Director of NMSU’s Arrowhead Center for garnering a $1.2 million competitive award. The project, funded by the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program, aims to scale existing innovation-based programming, expanding successful – but limited due to funding – programs that address challenges startups face with commercialization. According to Ms. Catron, programming will be population-focused (i.e., women, rural, and tribal communities), deploying a model providing targeted support during early-stage technology development. In partnership with Sandia National Laboratories and the NM Startup Factory, startups will be directed to TechSprints, emphasizing customer discovery, market insight and validation, and commercial potential, then led into Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programming, intellectual property and technology transfer training, and investment training, featuring yearly pitch competitions. For more information please contact Ms. Catron at

Dana Catron, NMSU Arrowhead Center

Recognizing Large Proposal Submissions (November 2022)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Congratulations to the following for submitting proposals greater than a million in the month of November: Drs. Lacey Roberts-Hill, Shannon Norris-Parish, Clint Loest, Steven Fraze, William Norris, Efren Delgado, Pamela Martinez, and Jennifer Hernandez Gifford.

Assistant professors of Agricultural and Extension Education Drs. Lacey Roberts-Hill and Shannon Norris-Parish collaborated with Sam Houston State University and California State University-Chico to submit a large proposal to USDA NIFA. Titled “Southwest Agriculture and Food safety and security Education (SAFE): Preparing Future Leadership for a Safe and Secure U.S. Food Supply System,” this proposal requests $6 million for NMSU. The co-PI’s contributions in this effort include overseeing creation and maintenance of student recruitment materials such as social media posts, physical fliers, emails, and website management; assisting in identifying and training agricultural ambassadors for recruitment efforts; developing relationships and identifying internship and undergraduate research opportunities for SAFE students; supporting a new Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) chapter at NMSU; and coordinating food and agricultural product safety trainings with the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center. For more information, please contact Dr. Roberts-Hill at, or Dr. Norris-Parish at  


Professor of Animal and Range Sciences Clint Loest collaborated with Texas A&M at Kingsville as the lead, to submit a $6 million proposal to USDA NIFA titled LEADING Hispanics to Federal Agency Employment. The primary goal of this integrated project is to increase the number of Hispanic students pursuing studies in agricultural science or related fields who are prepared for federal employment. This project will also support agricultural research and education to develop and promote pathways to federal employment.


Drs. Steven Fraze (Head of the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education) and William Norris (Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education) submitted a proposal to USDA NIFA NEXTGEN program in collaboration with California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as the lead. This proposal aims to cultivate the next generation of diverse food and agriculture professionals. If selected for funding, this project will support the co-PIs with $4 million award to establish at least 25 institutional-level student scholarship projects for four years and at least 25 experiential learning projects annually that directly benefit NMSU students or participants. For more information please contact Dr. Fraze at, or Dr. Norris at


Professor of Food Science and Technology at the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Co-Director of the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems (CESFAS) Efren Delgado and Dr. Pamela Martinez, Assistant Professor of Innovative Media Research and Extension, collaborated with Central State University to submit a proposal to USDA NIFA NEXTGEN program. Requesting $3 million for NMSU, this proposal will support minority graduate students in different disciplines and departments at NMSU working with food processing and quality-related topics. Dr. Delgado’s efforts on this project include recruiting, coordinating, advising, and graduating graduate students participating in food science and bioengineering-related research projects throughout the different disciplines at NMSU. In addition, he will coordinate efforts for a new Ph.D. program in Food Science and Bioprocessing at NMSU. Dr. Martinez’ contributions to the project include leading the creation and distribution of educational media such as animations, interactive labs and virtual reality tools to help students explore and experience sustainable agriculture and food systems infused with cultural values and traditional knowledge from minority communities for future employment in government agriculture careers. For more information about this proposal, please contact Dr. Delgado at, or Dr. Martinez at


Collaborating with Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine as the lead, Dr. Jennifer Hernandez Gifford (Animal and Range Sciences), submitted a large proposal ($1.9 million for NMSU) to the USDA NIFA NEXTGEN program. This effort will enhance underrepresented student training and retention and improve access for these students to veterinary medicine. In this regard, NMSU will support students recruited from high school into the respective cohorts and will support undergraduate students recruited into the cohorts. For more information please contact Dr. Hernandez Gifford at


Pictures, from the top: Dr. Lacey Roberts-Hill (Agricultural and Extension Education) Shannon Norris-Parish (Agricultural and Extension Education) Dr. Clint Loest (Animal and Range Sciences), Dr. Steven Fraze (Agricultural and Extension Education), Dr. William Norris (Agricultural and Extension Education), Dr. Efren Delgado (Family and Consumer Sciences), Dr. Pamela Martinez (Innovative Media Research and Extension), and Dr. Jennifer Hernandez Gifford (Animal and Range Sciences).







Mountain West CTR-IN: Conference and Awards


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS and MW CTR-IN Concierge at NMSU


The Mountain-West CTR-IN Consortium held its annual conference in Las Vegas, NV on November 17-18. In attendance from NMSU were Dr. Rebecca Palacios, Professor of Public Health who also serves as the MW CTR-IN Community Engagement and Outreach Support Cite Director, Dr. Charlotte Gard, Associate Professor of Economics, Applied Statistics, and International Business who serves as a MW CTR-IN Biostatistician, and Dr. Humaira Rahman, Assistant Professor of Public Health. In addition, Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, Professor of Public Health, made a presentation remotely on his Consortium-funded pilot project titled, “Understanding Mental Illness and Health Information Technology Use in the United States.”

In this conference, Dr. Joe Tomaka, Professor of Public Health and the NMSU IRB Chair, was awarded the Mountain-West CTR-IN Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in absentia for his mentorship of NMSU Public Health Assistant Professor Dejan Magoc, who secured a CTR-IN pilot grant. Both Drs. Palacios and Gard were also nominated for MW CTR-IN awards and were presented with certificates of nomination.

“I was impressed by the quality of research of MW CTR-IN awardees and the level of support that the Consortium provides its applicants and awardees,” states Dr. Gard. “I would encourage NMSU investigators to consider MW CTR-IN as a potential source of funding for their work.”

The conference focused on new CDC and NIH efforts to encourage and support health equity research.  With past research efforts simply documenting health disparities while doing little to address their underlying social and structural causes, new federal support will require designing, implementing, and evaluating efforts to identify and address negative social determinants of health contributing to inequity among underserved and marginalized groups. “Recommendations to support such efforts included enhancing capacity and diversity in the health workforce which I know NMSU, an HSI, is well positioned to do given our multicultural population of students," states Dr. Rebecca Palacios.  “This is important because research has repeatedly shown that graduates from racial/ethnic minorities are more likely to return to serve their communities,” she adds. As Professor Palacios explains, a diverse faculty also helps provide role models for students from racial/ethnic minorities that are underrepresented in higher education (e.g., doctoral and professional training). 

The conference also emphasized expanding or establishing robust multidisciplinary partnerships to enhance capacity for health equity research.  As Dr. Palacios explains, such partnerships are needed to address complex health threats exacerbated by a population’s structural and social circumstances.  A final take away from the conference was the need to address racism and discrimination in health systems as well as in training institutions and workplaces.  “As the director for the new PhD in Health Equity Sciences in the Public Health Department, I will work to apply the various health equity research principles and resources shared at this conference,” says Dr. Palacios.

Finally, congratulations are in order for two NMSU faculty who were awarded the $60,000 MW CTR-IN competitive pilot grants for the proposals they submitted in early 2022: Drs. Humaira Rahman and Dejan Magoc, both assistant professors in the Department of Public Health. Dr. Rahman’s pilot project aims to assess arsenic contamination in drinking water and examine its adverse effects on health outcomes in relation with zinc deficiency among a Hispanic population (aged ≥18 years and older) in Doña Ana County. Dr. Rahman’s hypothesis is that diabetes mellitus, hypertensive diseases and renal dysfunction risk will be increased by arsenic exposure and zinc deficiency, due to direct molecular interactions with DNA repair systems.

Dr. Magoc will use this award to implement the Healthy Kids+ initiative -- a community-engaged project – through an existing after-school program in Las Cruces. The Healthy Kids+ initiative will focus on daily lifestyle behaviors that impact childhood obesity. The initiative will integrate lessons and activities designed to help kids incorporate changes into their lives to enhance their health and wellness. “Overall, it is expected that children participating in the Healthy Kids+ initiative, three times per week, will demonstrate significant changes in improving lifestyle behaviors and maintaining both cognitive and affective changes,” states Dr. Magoc.

For more information about these pilot projects, please contact Dr. Rahman at, or Dr. Magoc at For more information about the MW CTR-IN Consortium please send me an email at

Pictures from top: Dr. Joe Tomaka, group picture of Drs. Hamid Mansouri Rad (left), Rebecca Palacios (middle), and Charlotte Gard (right) at the MW CTR-IN Conference, Dr. Humaira Rahman, and Dr. Dejan Magoc.  




NMSU Hamid Mansouri Rad, Rebecca Palacios, Charlotte Gard



Lewis-Burke Associates Lunch Series: December 15 on Defense Funding Opportunities


By Ms. Cindy Ramirez, Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

The NMSU PI Academy invites you to the Lewis-Burke Associates lunch series. The series is held via Zoom from 12-1 pm. Lewis-Burke Associates presenters will discuss federal funding trends, funding opportunities and how to keep in touch with federal Program Managers. 

To register, please contact me at

  • December 15: Defense
  • January 26: Social Sciences and Humanities (includes Education)
  • February 23: Energy, Environment, and Agriculture
  • March 9: Biomedical Research and Health



NMSU Arts and Humanities Seed Funding: Call for Proposals


By Dr. Allison Layfield, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

The Office of Research, Creativity and Strategic Initiatives (RCSI) is soliciting applications from NMSU faculty requesting seed funding for proposal development efforts that seek external funding in the arts and humanities. Applications should include at least one tenure/tenure-track faculty member from one of the following departments: ArtCreative MediaEnglishHistoryLanguages and LinguisticsMusicPhilosophy, and Theatre, or a tenure/tenure-track faculty member in any college whose research, scholarship and creative activity would be considered arts and/or humanities. Applications may include faculty collaborators from any department.

It is anticipated that internal support will not exceed $10,000, or the amount requested in the proposal to be submitted for external funding, whichever is less. It is expected that this multi-year commitment by the RCSI will result in strong growth in proposal submissions to external funding agencies in support of humanities research and/or creative activities, ultimately contributing to attaining R1 status. Applications are due no later than  5:00pm on January 6, 2023  and must be submitted via email to, subject line: Arts and Humanities Seed Grants: Application.

The complete RFA is available here





Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website,  through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to 


Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the RCSI has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot available at  

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

Click on the Sign up link.DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT!
Choose New Mexico State University from the Institution drop down menu.
You will be prompted to log in using your NMSU username and password.
Follow the process for NMSU's 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to



Graduate School

Enhancing Graduate Student Support through Graduate Faculty Advising Training


By Dr. Carol Flinchbaugh, Interim Associate Dean for Graduate School 

The Graduate School has rolled out a collaborative initiative to create and provide a new faculty advisor/mentor training for new assistant professors holding graduate faculty status. Enhancing the mentoring and advising capabilities of our newest faculty will spillover to improve graduate students’ experiences with their faculty advisor. The collaborative workgroup includes the Graduate School, Graduate Program Directors, Department Heads, and the Center for Learning and Professional Development. It is anticipated that the training will encompass best practices in graduate student mentoring, how to establish professional boundaries, awareness of the available NMSU support systems, expectations of graduate students, creating student goal setting through Individualized Development Plans, among other skills.

The initial workgroup will meet in early January with a goal to host a pilot training during the Spring 2023 semester. The Graduate School will conduct an exit survey of Fall 2022 graduates and use the data to inform what we address in the faculty advisor training. Ultimately, the Graduate School anticipates working with the Deans Council and Provost Office to make the training mandatory for all new faculty.

Special shout out to the following individuals for signing up for the workgroup in about 30 minutes: Drs. Michaela Buenemann, Anna Nelson, Jagdish Khubchandani, Cristina Serrano-Johnson, Brad Shuster, Carlos Posadas, and Connie Voisine.






Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at, (575) 646-6429.