New Mexico State University (NMSU) College of Engineering Assistant Dean Patricia A. Sullivan on Nov. 10 was elected chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) during the commission’s semi-annual meeting held in Westminster, CO. One of four regional higher education compacts in the U.S., WICHE (www.wiche.edu) and its 16 member states and U.S. territory work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. Governors of the member states and territory each appoint three commissioners to this regional governing body. Sullivan was recently reappointed by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to serve a fourth term on the commission.
By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. As the only organization in the West that focuses exclusively on higher education issues, from access and accountability to tuition and fees to online learning and innovation, WICHE strives to find answers to solve some of the most critical questions facing higher education today. WICHE’s public policy research and collaborative programs support the West’s citizens and its constantly evolving cultures. WICHE’s members include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states.
Sullivan has served on the WICHE Commission since 2003. During the past year she has served as the commission’s vice chair and previously she chaired the commission’s Programs & Services Committee and represented New Mexico on the Executive Committee. The other appointed commissioners representing New Mexico are Barbara Damron, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department, and New Mexico State Senator Mark Moores.
In her role as associate dean of the New Mexico State University College of Engineering she directs statewide engineering outreach services under the college’s Engineering New Mexico Resource Network in areas including technical engineering business assistance, professional development, and educational outreach programs. She also provides direction for the college’s corporate relations and student career services. Sullivan is the New Mexico affiliate director for Project Lead the Way, a national program to expand the STEM pipeline. She is also a member of the board of directors for Enchantment Land Certified Development Company (a program that certifies SBA 504 loans in support of economic development). Sullivan received her Ph.D. in industrial engineering with a focus on renewable energy regulatory policy, a master’s degree in public utility economics, and a bachelor’s degree in biology, all from NMSU.