Changing Lives, Building Community Through CNM’s Strategic Direction Plan

CNM has ranked No. 1 in the nation for associate degrees and certificates earned by Hispanics and Native Americans, and No. 2 overall, among other record-breaking student successes.
Changing Lives, Building Community Through CNM’s Strategic Direction Plan

Feb 21, 2019

As CNM approaches the end of this decade, we are also approaching the end of an incredibly successful Strategic Direction journey. CNM’s current Strategic Direction Plan was launched in 2016 and it will continue to drive the College’s efforts to 2020. It has been powered by a wide range of highly ambitious objectives that support our over-arching goals of Student Success, Community Success, and Organizational Excellence and Innovation.

It’s been an extraordinary quest filled with many amazing achievements, thanks to the hard work and passion of CNM’s faculty and staff.

“We began this Strategic Direction journey with very bold goals and objectives, and a new Mission to ‘Be a Leader in Education and Training,’” CNM President Kathie Winograd said. “With almost a year to go with our current Strategic Direction, we’ve already surpassed many of our goals and hopes with remarkable and record-setting achievements. This has advanced CNM’s hard-earned reputation as a higher education leader in New Mexico and nationally.

“Our current Strategic Direction Plan was motivated by our Vision of Changing Lives, Building Community. And thanks to our amazing faculty and staff, who are the heart and soul of our college, CNM is changing more lives for the better than ever before, and we’re contributing to the success of our community and economy in so many exciting ways. We still have more work to do on our current Strategic Direction before the year’s over, but I’m already so proud of how far we’ve come.”

Today, we are highlighting the Strategic Direction objectives that have been achieved under the goal of Student Success, the essence of our existence as a community college.

Each year, there are thousands of student success stories, each unique and inspirational in their own way. Here’s just one of so many examples: Before single-mom Sonya Sena came to CNM and graduated from the Retail Management Certificate program, she was working multiple jobs just to help her and her daughter stay afloat. That all changed when she graduated from CNM and used her certificate to get an Assistant Store Director job at a local grocery store. “The certificate from CNM has been everything to me,” she said. “I finally have a healthy work/life balance and the doors are wide open for my daughter.”

Below are the Student Success Objectives that have been achieved over the last four years, which have had life-changing impacts by the thousands.

Student Success Objectives Achieved

“Be first in the nation among community colleges for the number of degrees and certificates awarded to Hispanic and Native American students.”

CNM reached this defining achievement when the U.S. Department of Education released its 2016-17 data. CNM ranked No. 1 among 1,100-plus community colleges nationwide for the number of associate degrees and certificates earned by both Hispanics and Native Americans. Hispanic students earned 3,617 associate degrees and certificates, while Native American students earned 600.

CNM is expected to be No. 1 for associate degrees and certificates awarded to Hispanics and Native Americans again this year when the latest U.S. Department of Education statistics become official.

Here’s how graduating from CNM impacted a Hispanic student and a Native American mom and daughter who graduated at the same time.


“Increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded annually to 12,000 by year 2020.”

CNM achieved this lofty objective when the U.S. Department of Education released its 2016-17 data. CNM students earned 13,791 associate degrees and certificates during that year, which ranked CNM No. 2 among all community colleges in the country.

When more students persevere and become college graduates, it not only benefits the graduates and their families’ prospects for a better future, it also improves the prospects for the economy in general. Among states in the U.S., New Mexico has ranked near the bottom for the percentage of population with college degrees or certificates. This major Strategic Direction achievement is helping our state turn the tide.

Here’s an Albuquerque Journal story on the achievement, and here’s one of many graduate success stories.


“Increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded to veterans to 920 by year 2020.”

This commitment to our military veteran students and their families was reached after the 2016-17 academic year, when veteran students earned 1,180 associate degrees and certificates. CNM’s Veterans Resource Center provides a full spectrum of support to veteran students, such as help understanding their G.I. Bill benefits, setting up appointments with academic advisors, access to counseling services, and help connecting with external financial resources, housing and food assistance.

Here’s an example of the pivotal role that CNM serves for veteran students who have bravely served our country.

Faces of CNM Matthew Pham.jpeg
Matthew Pham, CNM student and U.S. Army veteran with two deployments to Afghanistan.

“Increase the percent of First-time, Full-time, Degree-seeking students graduating in three years to 24 percent.”

CNM achieved this important milestone in 2018 when the 2015 cohort of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students posted a graduation rate of 27.4 percent, an all-time high for CNM. In 2010, CNM’s graduation rate for first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students was 11 percent.

Official graduation rates for colleges and universities, which are determined by U.S. Department of Education guidelines, are a high-profile metric that are reported nationally and appear frequently on Internet searches and the popular College Scorecard site. The DOE graduation rate is calculated as the percentage of first-time, full-time, degree seeking students who complete their program in 150 percent of the time prescribed for a full-time student (i.e. three years for a two-year associate degree). CNM’s rate of 27.4 percent is above the national average for community colleges.

“Increase the number of students participating in international experiences to 33 percent of all students by 2020.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a job with an international focus is becoming more and more likely for many graduates. Right now, one in five American jobs is already tied to global trade and that percentage is expected to rise. Unfortunately, companies are missing out on these global economic opportunities because they can’t find graduates with competent international training.

That’s why CNM made this an objective in the Strategic Direction Plan. In 2018, CNM surpassed the objective’s goal with 43 percent of CNM students participating in an international experience, which included students taking classes with internationalized curriculum, students participating in internationally themed activities on campus, and students attending CNM from other countries through the college’s Global Education program.

Here’s an example of a Global Education success story.

Rajaa Murai, a CNM Global Education student from Syria.