NMSU Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate is the voice of the NMSU Faculty and plays a critical role in the shared governance of the institution. As established in NMSU Policy, the Faculty Senate has legislative jurisdiction over policies affecting the university’s academic mission. The Faculty Senate has 60 elected senators who represent Faculty from the Colleges on the main campus, the NMSU Library, the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Cooperative Extension Service, and College Faculty. Senators are elected for three-year terms and may serve for two consecutive terms. The Senate is led by the Chair and Vice-Chair, who both serve on a variety of University committees and councils, which are also policy making bodies. The Chair and Vice-Chair are advised by the Senate Leadership Committee which is comprised of the senior senators from each electing group. All senators participate in one of four standing committees. These are charged with reviewing, modifying, and recommending legislation for action by the full senate. The senate meets a minimum of once a month to fulfill its obligations in a timely manner.

Dr. Christopher Brown, Faculty Senate Chair

Christopher Brown is an Associate Professor of Geography who served as a Faculty Senator from 2004 to 2010 and also from 2014 to present. In his time at NMSU, Brown has served in several leadership positions that are relevant to his service as Chair of the Faculty Senate, including Department Head, Chair and Vice Chair of the Graduate Council, and Graduate School liaison to the Faculty Senate. Brown is deeply committed to shared governance issues at NMSU. In his time with the Advancing Leaders Program (ALP), Brown was very active in drafting the final ALP report to the Provost in which numerous ideas to enhance faculty’s role in shared governance were put forward. One of these recommendations is to see that a faculty member is seated on the Board of Regents as a full voting member, and Brown sees this as the most effective way to increase the voice of faculty at NMSU. If his time as Chair of the Faculty Senate, Brown commits to:

  • Work with members of the NM House and Senate to craft and move legislation forward that would put a faculty member on the Board of Regents as a full voting member;
  • Work with other Senators to help draft and advance legislation on relevant issues that impact our students and faculty, and the teaching, research, service and outreach efforts that faculty work so hard to advance;
  • Be open and willing to listen to all Senators and other faculty on issues of concern and to allow all voices to be heard in the Senate; and
  • Be a clear and unequivocal voice of the faculty in dealings with the NMSU Regents, Provost Howard, Chancellor Carruthers and their leadership teams.

Dr. Rolfe Sassenfeld, Faculty Senate Vice-Chair

Dr. Rolfe Josef Sassenfeld, the youngest son of German Rocket Scientist Helmut Max Sassenfeld, earned his Doctoral degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas, El Paso. He has worked in higher education for 25 years as a Director of Instructional Technology, Computer Science Faculty, Research Assistant Professor, and Associate Dean for Academics. He is presently an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Electronics and Computer Engineering program within the Department of Engineering Technology.

Dr. Sassenfeld has published numerous peer reviewed papers on Engineering Education, Computer Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. He has received the 2010 Miguel Izquierdo Teaching Excellence Award and the 2015 New Mexico State Cornerstone Award. Dr. Sassenfeld was recognized by the National Academy as an Academic Innovator in the Frontiers of Engineering Education. He has also been nominated for the Patricia Christmore Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award and was a finalist in the UT Regents Outstanding Teaching Award.

Professor Sassenfeld has served New Mexico State University as faculty senator for 4 years, serving on most of the Faculty Senate standing committees, numerous task forces, and in the last two years as a member of the Senate Leadership Committee. Dr. Sassenfeld has also served as a member of the General Education Course Certification Committee, and as a member of the Academic Dean’s Advisory Council.

The Ceremonial Mace

The ceremonial mace, used widely by universities, is a descendant of the royal scepter and the medieval battle mace. The university is incorporated into the design. The ornament atop the mace signifies a blooming cactus flower and the university’s blooming maturity. The smooth, rounded walls of adobe architecture are reflected in the next section, while a disk carries the New Mexico State University logo on one side and a compatible Mimbres pottery design on the other. The many academic disciplines are noted in the bundled rods of the shaft. The meter-long piece is of sterling silver, while the center of the shaft holds a piece of wood from the university’s first building, McFie Hall (Old Main), which burned in 1910. Literal and symbolic information about the academic mace signifies authority, and its use dates from the 14th century. New Mexico State University’s mace is carried at commencement and other formal occasions by the president of the Faculty Senate.