UNM-Valencia, which is composed of ten buildings, is located in Tomé, N.M., between Belen and Los Lunas, the two most populated areas in Valencia County. The campus consists of 150 acres of rural land with scenic vistas of the Rio Grande Valley to the West, the Manzano Mountains to the East, and historic Tomé Hill to the north.
Additionally, the UNM-Valencia Workforce Training Center is located in Los Lunas, near the I-25 Los Lunas exit. The Workforce Training Center sits on nine acres of land directly across from the Los Lunas Hill.
The University of New Mexico began serving the educational needs of Valencia County in August 1978 with the establishment of the UNM-Eastern Valencia County Satellite Center. The creation of this Satellite Center ended nearly two decades of work by members of the Los Lunas and Belen School districts to provide a stable source of post-secondary education and vocational training in Valencia County. A total of $93,000 in seed money was raised to help open the facility.
In 1979, the State Legislative Finance Committee indicated that expanding satellite centers, such as the one in Belen, should be established as branch campuses to be supported by an ongoing mil levy as well as with student tuition and general fund appropriations. The local community indicated its continued support by voting overwhelmingly in favor of creating a branch campus. Additional assistance came from the Board of Educational Finance, the New Mexico State Legislature, and the Eastern Valencia County Higher Education Committee, Inc. As a result, a formal proposal to establish the branch was accepted by UNM in March 1981.
Classes began in August of that year. Technical certificates and associate degrees could now be completed locally for the first time in Valencia County history. Continued growth in enrollment and program offerings soon created a pressing need for additional space and new facilities. A new campus in Tomé was built in response, opening its doors in the Summer 1986. A Library and Learning Resource Center were added in 1994. Extensive renovations in the spring of 1995 provided additional classroom and office space, and the completion of the Student Community Center in the spring of 2000 added additional classrooms, office space, and a wellness/fitness center.
In the spring of 2005, a new Health Sciences building opened, providing an anatomy and physiology lab, allied health lab, presentation lecture hall, and four classrooms, two of which are equipped with student workstations. An ADN Nursing program began in 2010 and gained full ACEN accreditation in 2017. Many new technical and academic programs have begun in the past five years, and UNM Valencia now offers thirty-five degrees and certificates. The Workforce Training Center opened in January, 2022.
Role and function of UNM branch community colleges
The University has established branch community colleges to serve the citizens of New Mexico more fully and to provide the highest quality of education for students pursuing post-secondary education at different locations throughout the state. Branch community colleges respond specifically to the unique needs and multi-cultural backgrounds of their respective communities by offering community education programs, career education, including certificate and associate degree programs, and transfer programs that prepare students for upper division entry into colleges and universities.
Branch community colleges utilize many resources in their service districts and therefore function as integral parts of their surrounding communities. They are thoroughly committed to assisting in the economic development of their service areas. The branch campuses of UNM are considered fully integrated component community colleges. They are committed to serving the needs of their respective communities in the manner of a comprehensive community college, offering a variety of academic, career, and community service programs.
The branch community colleges pledge themselves to protect the quality and integrity of all academic curricula, and the main campus pledges its resources, whenever appropriate and practical, to the fulfillment of the varied missions of the branches. UNM’s Office of the Provost has responsibility for establishing policies and procedures relative to all branch operations.
Operating Agreement and Funding
UNM-Valencia was established under the provisions of the Branch Community College Act, New Mexico Statutes 1978, implemented in an operating agreement between the UNM-Valencia Advisory Board and the Regents of The University of New Mexico. An elected body of five representatives, the Advisory Board approves UNM-Valencia’s annual budget and calls elections for local tax levies and capital outlay general obligation bonds on behalf of UNM-Valencia.
UNM-Main retains administrative and academic control of UNM-Valencia. The Chancellor of UNM-Valencia reports to the provost/vice president for Academic Affairs at UNM-Main. Funding for UNM-Valencia Campus is derived from direct State appropriations, tax levies, special grants, and student tuition and fees.
As a branch college of The University of New Mexico, UNM-Valencia is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The institution’s last comprehensive accreditation review occurred in March 2019, resulting in a full 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation.
The UNM-Valencia Nursing Program has full approval with the New Mexico State Board of Nursing through August 2023. Continuing accreditation with conditions until 2024.