August 23, 2022- Mesalands College was featured on Complete College America On The Air! The Season 2 Episode 4 podcast titled “When You’ve Seen One Rural College… You’ve Seen One Rural College” had representatives from three postsecondary schools expressing the unique needs and challenges of rural serving institutions.
What is a Rural College?
Rural Colleges are defined by geographical characteristics- such as low populations and low population density. They also differ in culture from urban settings and have separate economic factors. Mesalands College has a unique need as a Rural and Hispanic Serving Intuition, so infrastructure has been built around the identity of these students. Mesalands offers degrees and certifications that are region specific such as Cowboy Arts and Farrier Science, while larger population schools host more corporate offerings like Business and Management.
What are the Challenges Faced by Higher Education in Rural Settings?
Mesalands College is located in a desert, in more ways than one. In the CCA On The Air Podcast, they used distance from the nearest Walmart as the visual metric for rurality (The closest one is 83 miles away). While Tucumcari NM does have a grocery store, there are limitations in healthy food options and availability. To combat this, Mesalands College has opened a food pantry for students.
There are also challenges enticing students and staff to relocate to small towns. In turn, we have offered competitive wages, nationally ranked programs and an attractive college culture. Mesalands also has adapted in a post-Covid world to offer hybrid work and educational opportunities.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution, we have a mission to close the equity gap for these students. There is an Executive Cabinet Position dedicated to Hispanic Outreach, and we have worked to offer services in English and Spanish. New Mexico also has a large Indigenous population, so we have created programs and student life around the culture of our population. Mesalands College is dedicated to student success, access and the prudent use of resources.
About our Podcast Hosts
Complete College America helps Higher Ed leaders unite with governments to create policy change for a better future. They are focused on improving outcomes for minority and marginalized students, such as black, latinx, and low income students. Learn more about their cause here.