New Mexico’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

New Mexico’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

What are the best colleges and universities in New Mexico if you reward schools for making the best use of their limited resources? Academic Stewardship asks how effectively schools manage their financial and human resources to gain the influence that makes them academically excellent. Schools that are exemplary in Academic Stewardship are doing everything in their power to help students and faculty achieve their full potential.

Colleges and universities in New Mexico deserve to be recognized when they do more with less. It’s impressive when a large wealthy school can spend money lavishly on expensive buildings and programs. But it’s even more impressive when a small school with limited means is able to train and inspire students that the larger wealthier schools tend to ignore.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities reported in late 2021 that almost 75 percent of higher-education professionals at US colleges and universities felt financial constraints prevented their schools from effectively attracting students. Distracted by the size and amenities of larger schools, prospective students tended especially to be overawed by the big research universities.

New Mexico’s smaller colleges, especially its liberal arts colleges, need effective ways of communicating their value to a world that celebrates “bigger is better” and “you need the best.” Unfortunately, most college ranking companies, such as U.S. News & World Report, define “best” in a way that devalues schools with smaller budgets and fewer students even when these schools do remarkable work in advancing their students’ education. By and large, college rankings penalize schools that serve underserved populations.

Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell, who for years now has criticized conventional college rankings for misrepresenting what’s good and valuable in education, we decided to construct a new ranking metric that highlights those schools that do more with less. That metric—called the Academic Stewardship metric—takes away both the size and the wealth advantage of schools, and focuses instead on how well schools use the resources available to them to advance the education of their students.

How We Measure the Academic Stewardship of New Mexico’s Colleges and Universities

New Mexico's Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship
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As a metric, Academic Stewardship is defined by a precise mathematical formula, which can be found in our Academic Stewardship white paper. Measuring the Academic Stewardship of New Mexico’s colleges requires measuring two forms of stewardship: 1) Stewardship of financial resources (using the money they have responsibility without waste) and 2) Stewardship of human resources (doing their best to help students, faculty, and administration to flourish). Together, these two types of stewardship form what we call  Academic Stewardship. If you want to learn more about the factors involved in Academic Stewardship, click the more button below.

  1. Stewardship of financial resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of financial resources, we factored in its undergraduate size, budget, endowments and reserves, as well as tuition and fees. All these data are available from the National Center for Educational Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. In addition, we factored in a school’s financial responsibility as gauged by the Federal Student Aid Office at the US Department of Education through its financial responsibility composite scores.
  2. Stewardship of human resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of human resources, we used our InfluenceRanking engine to track the influence of the school’s faculty and alumni but also to control for size of the undergraduate student body. We’ve found that measuring a school’s influence based on the contributions of faculty and alumni make in their fields of study but then also controlling for size of the undergraduate population is the single best indicator of academic excellence. We call this Concentrated Influence. Schools that rank highly in Concentrated Influence are schools that, given their available human resources, invest heavily in their students and faculty, and the results are demonstrable.
    • We measure the influence of colleges and universities based on the publications and citations of the schools’ faculty and alumni who are teaching in and working in areas related to their degrees. To do this, we take publicly available databases, such as Semantic Scholar, Crossref, and Wikipedia and use these to measure the influence of academics in their disciplines. Having measured the influence of persons, we then identify the schools that they’re affiliated with, adding up the influence scores of the faculty and alumni to measure the influence of the schools and their disciplinary programs. Finally, we control these influence scores by size of undergraduate student body so that schools do not score high in influence simply because of a size advantage. We lay out these methodological considerations on our methodology page.
  3. Academic Stewardship: Having measured a school’s stewardship of financial and human resources in the two previous points, we now divide the second measure by the first to define the Academic Stewardship metric. This metric spotlights smaller schools, with fewer financial resources and people, that invest wisely and do proportionately better in building influence than large wealthy schools. Many of these smaller, less wealthy schools are incentivized to make better use of their resources but would never get recognized in conventional school rankings, which directly or indirectly put a premium on the wealth of schools.

Academic Stewardship as so defined is connected to keeping tuition and other costs down, but it should not be confused with affordability or frugality. The schools that this metric ranks as exemplary academic stewards tend to be all over the map when it comes to tuition and other costs. At issue is the influence of schools given the financial and human resources they have on hand. If a school is going to charge more for tuition, then that needs to be reflected in the school having proportionately greater influence.

Why Academic Stewardship Matters to Students and Their Families

The benefits of attending a school with strong academic stewardship include:

  • A clear reason for why students are at the school in the first place. Without the distraction of amenities and luxuries, these schools are at once unpretentious but also passionately committed to their educational mission. The schools in this ranking are financially efficient and academically rigorous. By avoiding frills, these schools take the most direct path to accomplishing their mission of educating students.
  • Valuing character over prestige and self-indulgence. A school that’s a good steward of its resources doesn’t instill shame in its students over what they are missing (such as elite cuisine) but rather pride in what they have and making the most of it. These schools exhibit a culture of good stewardship, which tends to build good character in the students that attend these schools.
  • Avoiding the spoiled-student syndrome. It’s easy to think that offering students endless options and opportunities will enrich their time at school in every way. But spoiling people—whether in business, sports, or academics—has the opposite effect, causing people to take their advantages for granted and in the end achieving less than they might otherwise, a point well-documented in Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code. Schools exhibiting academic stewardship avoid this pitfall.
  • The best schools vs. the schools that help students to be their best. Students at schools demonstrating outstanding academic stewardship aren’t so much concerned about being at the “best” school, whatever that may mean, as about being at a school that helps them to be their best. These schools pay attention to their students, hoping that any glory goes to them rather than to the school. Small schools, and especially liberal arts colleges, help themselves by communicating this advantage to prospective students.
  • Emphasizing development over talent and achievement. Schools like Harvard and Stanford have their pick of academic talent, and their students have a long record of achievement even before they apply to such elite schools. But if a school doesn’t have the resources of a Harvard or Stanford, how does it build a great team of students? In that case, it must focus on student development. Colleges exemplifying academic stewardship emphasize student growth and development, ensuring that the schools are doing everything in their power to help students reach their full potential and thereby become their best selves.
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New Mexico’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/26

    What is New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology known for?

    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    2K

    What is New Mexico Highlands University known for?

    New Mexico Highlands University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/19

    What is Eastern New Mexico University known for?

    Eastern New Mexico University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • History
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces , NM
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    What is New Mexico State University known for?

    New Mexico State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    University of New Mexico

    Albuquerque , NM
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is University of New Mexico known for?

    University of New Mexico’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is University of the Southwest known for?

    University of the Southwest’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Medical
  7. #7

    Western New Mexico University

    Silver City , NM
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Western New Mexico University known for?

    Western New Mexico University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Northern New Mexico College

    Espanola , NM
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Northern New Mexico College known for?

    Northern New Mexico College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

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New Mexico’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

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Colleges and Universities in New Mexico

New Mexico has 23 higher learning establishments to choose from, and a tuition range of $1,000–$8,000 in the public sphere makes this state one of the most affordable in the nation. The University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque, has a student population just over 20,000 and an affordable cost of $8,000. The school is known for its health sciences and business programs.

New Mexico also has four tribal colleges and universities, including the largest tribal college in the country, Navajo Technical University. Students can complete programs in animal science, early childhood multicultural education, and industrial engineering. In addition, New Mexico provides two loan forgiveness programs, one for health professionals and one for public service attorneys. Those working in designated shortage areas can qualify for up to $25,000 per year, and attorneys providing service for government, non-profit, or underserved residents may acquire $7,200 per year.

Pueblos, roadrunners, cacti, and the Rio Grande make New Mexico one of the most unique states in the nation. Though its alleged history of UFO sightings is perhaps its most famous draw, New Mexico has another fascinating monument worth mentioning — Capulin Volcano. The peak of this extinct cider cone volcano, which can be reached by car, offers visitors a view of four other states. Students looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in The Land of Enchantment are sure to find interesting activities to do alongside their studies.

Prepare to be enchanted by the higher education options and career prospects that New Mexico has to offer.

What are New Mexico’s Colleges & Universities?

New Mexico’s Best Overall