The New Mexico State University School of Nursing began as a Licensed Practional Nursing school. It transitioned from a Licensed Practional Nursing School to a school for Associates Degrees in Nursing in 1974. In 1988, the NMSU Department of Nursing received national accreditation from the National League for Nursing. By 1994, the Department of Nursing began accepting its first Bachelors of Science in Nursing students as well as Masters of Nursing Students later that year.
The Department of Nursing started an accelerated second degree in nursing program called the Roadrunner Program in 2004. The Roadrunner Program still functions today as a wonderful means for leveraging the diverse backgrounds, education and skills of NMSU students, and many of our Roadrunner Program graduates have gone on to work in regional facilities which greatly value their specialized yet diversified perspectives on professional nursing. In 2006 the Department of Nursing became the School of Nursing, and soon after, as per New Mexico’s State Legislature’s request, opened a PhD. program. A year later, NMSU partnered with Grants in order to make nursing and health-related education available in rural New Mexico. Now, the School of Nursing works with other universities and community colleges to form the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium.
The New Mexico State University School of Social Work has been guiding students to their Bachelor in Social Work since 1975, giving students the tools necessary to specialize in health and behavioral services, child welfare, elderly care services, and more. Our school began offering baccalaureate courses in social welfare in 1969. With the support of Dr. Corinne Wolfe and a Section 707 grant, the University developed a baccalaureate social work program within the Sociology and Anthropology Department. By 1980, the School of Social Work was its own department. Our alumni are working hard throughout Southern and Central New Mexico.
In response to growing national, regional, and state needs, the School of Social Work set about advancing the professionalization of public child welfare services as well as other fields. In 1991, the School of Social Work’s Masters in Social Work became accredited, offering advanced generalist curriculum both in Las Cruces and Albuquerque. The NMSU School of Social Work is the third largest producer of master level graduates in the university. In 2008, the School of Social Work changed its second year concentration from Family Centered Practice in Multi-Cultural Settings to Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice. This change has sparked a new curriculum and an emphasis on competency based social work education. Our MSW alumni are also hard at work providing needed services all over New Mexico!
The Department of Public Health Sciences was developed and founded by Dr. Henry A. Lasch. Dr. Lasch had experience teaching and organizing Health Science programs and was aware that Health Science was not a familiar idea in New Mexico at the time. Prior to the development of the Health Science Program (which became the Department of Health Science when Dr. Lasch retired), NMSU only had two health science courses. The development of the program paved the way for the rapid addition of courses and specializations in the health sciences.
Dr. Lasch and Professor Ed Farris (founder of Police Science, now Criminal Justice) worked together to extend drug and alcohol education to several public school districts in New Mexico. Later, the Department of Public Health Sciences began extending nutrition and family life courses to public schools. All of the extension courses utilized the services of expert consultants from all over the United States. These outreach programs received high praise and evaluation from public school administrators.