The New Mexico Higher Education Assessment Association’s Summer Retreat provides institutional teams and/or individuals ‘time-away’ from the whirlwind of daily activities to focus on identifying and developing strategies and/or action plans for major projects that are critical to the long term success and improvement of their institutions. The retreat is structured so that teams and individuals are given both the structure and freedom needed to ensure participants will return to their campuses with clear approaches, actionable plans and articulated time frames for moving their institutional projects forward. 

The retreat is intentionally designed to be relaxed, informal and collegial – where time is spent thoughtfully addressing critical issues outside the pressures of everyday institutional life. Participants are encouraged to wear relaxed clothing (picnic casual!), enjoy the cool, clean air of south central New Mexico’s mountains, and take some time to engage in the local activities before, during and after the retreat.

Though originally designed for teams, individual attendees have also reported tremendous satisfaction and success with the retreat. Recommended team size is 4, with one person designated as the team leader. Additional team members may attend for an added fee (see registration form). The team leader is responsible for:

  • Being the primary point of contact for the retreat facilitators
  • Completing the online registration form
  • Completing/submitting the project information form (link will be sent following registration)
  • Ensuring payment is made for retreat registration, per institutional practices
  • Coordinating post-retreat and NMHEAR poster/presentations

The retreat facilitators will:

  • Make lodging arrangements for all participants at the MCM Eleganté Lodge & Suites
  • Provide most meals during the retreat (see online registration document for details); Dietary restrictions should be indicated for each participant and will be accommodated, as appear on the registration form
  • Provide guidance to teams and individuals regarding project development and implementation plans
  • Facilitate group activities and discussion


New this year: Quality Matters Prep

Facilitated by Kathy Achen

This year we will offer a unique opportunity to individual faculty who are designing online courses that meet Quality Matters standards. DACC's Kathy Achen (and NMHEAA's Past President) will facilitate and mentor participants through online course design. Kathy, an expert in online course design, has been (and continues to be) an active Master Reviewer for Quality Matters. Participants can expect to make progress on designing courses that meet QM standards and leave knowing what they need to do to have them reviewed and certified.

Register as a team of 4 or as an individual. 

Please submit a project description form with information on your course or courses.

Retreat Facilitators

Shelly Stovall has been a long time participant in the retreat and recently has begun organizing and facilitating the retreat.  She is also a longstanding participant and and now organizer of the NMHEAA’s annual conference. Shelly has a strong and diverse background spanning accreditation, classroom and program assessment, qualitative and quantitative assessment measures, and institutional leadership. Laura Grant is the current President of the NMHEAA, and is a member of the NMHEAR Planning Committee. She has worked with assessment and accreditation for many years. The facilitators strive to foster an environment that promotes collegial support and exchange of ideas across New Mexico and beyond, with a specific tradition of supporting learning and educational services within and across institutions through a relaxed setting that fosters and encourages community and divergent thinking.

Project Work at the Retreat

Retreat participants will be expected to develop concrete initiatives that will be launched prior to, or in Fall 2022. Each team should plan to present progress and/or results of their project during the 2023 NMHEAR Conference (poster or conference session). Prep time on your project prior to the Retreat will be time well spent, and time spent at the retreat should be focused on moving the project forward after the retreat (i.e. the end of retreat should be the beginning – not the end – of your project). This retreat is an opportunity to work with colleagues on tricky problems, to work with assessment leaders, and to assert your college and yourself as regional leaders.