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New Mexico Highlands University Offers Professor Position

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University plans to offer both undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS) degrees in software-driven systems design. The undergraduate program is in place and State of New Mexico approval of the graduate program is in its final stages. Final approval during the legislative session in February 2011 is hoped for but is not guaranteed. If approval is forthcoming, the position will be open as early as the summer term (May 2011) and definitely by the fall term (August 2011). If approval is not obtained (the legislature will be concentrating on economic issues this session), the dates will slip to May or August 2012.

The Position

Visiting Professor, School of Business Administration . Contract is renewable annually for up to five years.


$50,000 to $60,000, depending on qualifications, plus standard fringe benefits (health, retirement, dental). Additional compensation from project work is possible.

Expected Start Date

May 20, 2011 or August 15, 2011


  • Masters degree in Computer Science (software engineering specialization), MIS, Informatics or similar degree focused on software development and systems design.
  • Extensive knowledge of Squeak (ideally Pharo), its extensions (e.g., Seaside) and libraries (CMS, version control, morphic, etc.) plus several years experience using Squeak to develop commercial or research applications.
  • Demonstrated multi-disciplinary/cross-disciplinary commitment; e.g., multiple degrees, publications or teaching experience across disciplinary boundaries, multi-disciplinary honors teaching.
  • Demonstrated ability to use a hybrid approach to instruction and mentoring, combining the use of online and in-class resources and techniques.
  • The position does not require full-time residency in New Mexico , but will require at least 26 weeks of residency (in two- to four-week blocks) annually. Full-time residency is highly desirable, but not an absolute essential.


This position is unlike any other academic position, because of the unique nature of the program it supports. Faculty are expected to spend up to forty hours a week, while in residence, in the Studio working with students at all levels, and delivering academic content “on-demand” and in a highly modular and accelerated fashion. Faculty are expected to define (and seek grant funding for) research projects and involve students in both the conduct of the research and co-authoring of publications arising from the research. Faculty may take on project-management responsibilities (receiving appropriate additional compensation) for commercial projects underway in the Studio. The program emphasizes the ability to think and to employ multiple perspectives (systems, object, design, agile and computational thinking) and faculty are expected to help students develop this kind of thinking capability— far more challenging than simply preparing them to pass a final exam.


This program is unique in focus, in structure and in terms of the demands placed on faculty. The stated goal of the program is to graduate students as full-participating members of a professional community dedicated to and capable of using computing and software technology to analyze and solve the “wicked” problems confronting business enterprises, communities and global societies. Graduates will be “modern polymaths” masters not of all extant knowledge but who have learned and integrated knowledge from multiple disciplines and domains.

The program is experience-based. All students will spend significant amounts of time (up to thirty-two hours a week) in a Studio—simultaneously working on real-world projects for paying customers and learning new subject matter. Students will work side-by-side with professionals (acting as project managers and guarantors of successful delivery) who will provide tacit knowledge and mentoring. (Faculty members are eligible, and encouraged, to assume this kind of professional role—for additional compensation.) The University works with one or more private-sector entities, the latter responsible for contracting and managing projects, generating sufficient revenues to pay for professionals, student apprenticeship wages and program expenses (e.g., travel to conferences).

The program is competency-based (approximately 100 currently defined) and not course-based. All competencies are defined at seven different levels (from “understands concepts as evidenced by objective test” to “makes an original contribution to the community”), and student progress (and graduation) is based on the number of competencies demonstrated at each level. Curricular subject matter is presented in a highly modular form (think in terms of one-credit, 16 face-time hours) and utilizes a combination of online and self-paced study, broadcast (e.g., webinar format) and in-class workshops. Students define iterative and incremental “individual education plans” every eight weeks and those plans, collectively, define the curricular material to be delivered. Knowledge integration and motivation for learning is provided by the project and studio context in which all instruction is delivered.

The Studio is a “one-room classroom”—all students, faculty and professionals occupy the same room at the same time (much like the ideal Agile work room or the botegga where Leonardo was an apprentice and later a Master). Multiple projects are underway, with different groups working on different projects. The rhythm of the Studio is defined with iterative cycles, each beginning with a planning session and ending with a retrospective. Within the cycles are defined, repetitive periods for special activities like reader and writer workshops, social activities and learning “spikes.”

We would like to provide the students with a comprehensive development tool and environment—Smalltalk/Squeak—as a foundation for all of their technical software development learning and activities. The use of a uniform environment will make it easier to focus on the thinking behind the technology and the analysis of problems and design of solutions.

When marketplace and technical demands indicate, students will learn prevailing technologies (ranging from HTML and Java to relational database) and new technologies (e.g., non-relational and document databases) as alternatives to the Smalltalk base. Students will leave with the same level of expertise and understanding of current mainstream tools and technologies as graduates of any other CS/MIS program; but they will also have the underlying foundation made possible with the common tool and environment.

If this kind of radically different program and alternative academic appointment is of interest, please contact:

Dr. David West,
School of Business Administration,
New Mexico Highlands University

(Vita is OK, but would prefer a simple letter explaining why this is of interest to you and a description of your qualifications.)