James P. Cramer Roundtable Discussion, UNM School of Architecture and Planning

(Crossposted at Carolyn’s Blog)

“While you can’t afford to be in denial about the recession, you don’t want to fully participate in it, either,” reminds DesignIntelligence Founding EditorJames P. Cramer. Cramer co-chairs the Design Futures Council, an interdisciplinary network of design, product, and construction leaders who explore global trends and challenges.

Cramer visited the UNM School of Architecture and Planning recently to lead a discussion around the theme “What Does the Future Look Like and What Are We Going to Do about It?” for  architects, planners and others. Roger Schluntz, dean of the school, invited local professionals from his Council for Design and Planning Excellence to participate.

“Short-term constructive paranoia is for the long-term good,” Cramer said. He indicated that architects and others will have to work harder in the next 10 years than the last 10 years. “Think of it,” he said, “The Yellow Pages, video stores, film cameras, checks, analog televisions and ash trees (because of the borer), have disappeared.”

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We’re Almost Legit!

Sorry things have been so quiet around here y’all, but we’re busy working on finally integrating the UNM Underground blog into the new UNM News Hub (prototype is available here).  Of course this means we won’t be “Officially Unofficial” anymore, but we plan on cranking the production line back into shape once we’re over there!

In the meantime, let’s go Lobos! #3 seed in the East!

– Benson

UNM Athletics Celebrates December Graduation of 33 Athletes

University of New Mexico Athletics celebrates the December graduation of 33 student-athletes from 12 sports with degrees from 12 different academic areas of study.


  • Kevin Atkinson, University Studies
  • Mike Brownstein, Psychology
  • Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Sociology
  • Daniel Grubbs, Business Administration
  • Dane Hamilton, Communication & Journalism
  • John Hesketh, Economics
  • Max Willett, Business Administration


  • Jonathan Brooks, Exercise Science
  • Roland Bruno, University Studies
  • Benjamin Contreras, University Studies
  • Erik Cook, University Studies
  • Daryl Jones, University Studies
  • Chris Mark, Construction Management
  • Daniel Martin, Business Administration
  • Clint McPeek, Business Administration
  • Adam Miller, University Studies
  • Donovan Porterie, Communication & Journalism
  • Frankie Solomon, Business Administration

Golf, Men’s

  • Guillermo Chavez, Business Administration
  • Jacob Lestishen, Business Administration
  • Parker Pemberton, Communication & Journalism
  • Steve Saunders, Business Administration

Golf, Women’s

  • Morgan Grantham, Art History

Skiing, Men’s

  • Rick Grahn, Civil Engineering

Skiing, Women’s

  • Karin Ohlin, Business Administration

Soccer, Men’s

  • John Smithson, University Studies
  • Christopher Wright, Portuguese

Soccer, Women’s

  • Kaci Paetz, Communication & Journalism


  • Samantha Hughes, Business Administration

Track, Men’s

  • Anthony Fairbanks, Business Administration
  • Joseph Garcia, Nursing

Track, Women’s

  • Brittany Smith, Business Administration


  • Jeanne Fairchild, Comunication & Journalism

Congratulations to these athletes and all of UNM’s Winter 2009 graduating seniors!

– Benson and Carolyn

UNM Athletics’ Top 10 Stories

‘Tis the season for media outlets to come up with all of their Top 10 lists. Top 10 news stories of the year, top 10 Tiger Woods mistresses, etc. We at the UNM Underground decided to give you our own top 10 lists for the year.

And to start off, these are the top 10 Lobo Athletics stories you might not have heard about this year. In between all of the press that we received this fall, some really uplifting stories unfortunately fell through the cracks.

– Benson and Carolyn

Top 10 Lobo Stories for 2009

  1. For the first time in UNM history, four fall sports programs made it to the postseason: men’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country each made their respective NCAA Championships.
  2. Women’s cross country took its second consecutive Mountain West Conference championship and placed 13th in NCAA Championships, while men’s cross country was the MWC champions and placed 8th in the NCAA, the highest ever at UNM.
  3. Lobos were the MWC champions in men’s basketball, women’s golf and men’s tennis.
  4. UNM had 42 All-Americans in 2008-2009 and nine student athletes were named conference athlete of the year: Ola Abu-Zekry, MWC Women’s Tennis; Mike Brownstein, MWC Baseball; Lee Emanuel, MWC Men’s Indoor Track & Field; Jodi Ewart, MWC Women’s Golf; Jeanne Fairchild, MWC Volleyball; Lacey Oeding, MWC Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year; Johnny Parkes, MWC Men’s Tennis; Steve Saunders, MWC Men’s Golf; and Thomas Schwab, Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association (RMISA) Alpine Skier of the Year.
  5. Four Lobo coaches were honored as Coach of the Year: Steve Alford, MWC Men’s Basketball; Alan Dils, MWC Men’s Tennis; Joe Franklin, MWC Women’s Cross Country; and Martin Kroisleitner, RMISA Alpine.
  6. Two UNM athletes were national champions in 2008-2009: Lee Emanuel won the mile at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships; and Malin Hemmingsson won the women’s slalom at the NCAA Skiing Championships.
  7. Lobos are good students as well as good athletes. They posted a school record GPA of 3.14 in the fall of 2008, followed by a 3.12 in the spring of 2009, the second highest all time.
  8. Simon Edejmyr was 2009’s top men’s soccer ESPN The Magazine academic All-American.
  9. 13 of the 17 sports had a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the spring of 2009; while the combined GPA of UNM student athletes has been 3.0 or higher for 13 of the past 14 semesters.
  10. Freshman graduation rate for athletes is 55 percent, which is 12 percent higher than the average UNM student body. Graduation success rate, which factors in transfers, is 72 percent for the class entering 2002-2003.

UNM ECE – We’ve Got Game

This morning, the UNM Electrical and Computer Engineering Department fired up its yearly Video Game Competition and review. Unlike other video game competitions, this features games that are designed and programmed by students in ECE Professor Pradeep Sen’s Introduction to Computer Graphics class.  Students in this class learn the basics of developing video games (usually for the Xbox platform) and for their final project they have to design and create a video game.

UNM Professor Pradeep Sen explains the ECE Department's yearly video game competition to Channel 13.

Students, staff and faculty then get to playtest the games at the end of the semester in a daylong game-o-rama.  The games are later judged, and awards and feedback are given out at the end of the evening.

This is the third year of the program by professor Sen, who came to UNM from Stanford, and is working to create a Computer Graphics program at UNM that mirrors the one he saw at Stanford.

One of the video games displayed at this year's video game competition at UNM

This year, many of the student groups worked with electronic artists to add better visuals and music to their games.  This is also the first year for the department to offer an advance computer graphics class at the same time.  Many of the students in this class took the intro class last year, and spent this class better refining the games they had created for this class.

After the semester ends, students are also encouraged to license their games and provide them to the greater public on Xbox Live.

I’ve attended each of the three competitions (I was one of the judges last year) and it’s been great to see how the program has grown and the variety of games being offered each year.  If you have time today (Thursday, Dec. 10) you should swing by the ECE building and check out some of the cool work these students have done.

– Benson

Preparing for College

So one of the questions I’ve been wanting to ask families looking at universities to send their children to is:

When do you start looking at what universities you want your kids to attend?

It’s a question that’s been bumping around in my mind for a while, because I’ve heard people say, “from the time my baby was two” to “sometime around high school graduation.”  When I was looking at universities to attend, way back in the ancient times of the late 1980’s, I started talking with my counselor during my sophomore year to look at potential schools. There were a lot of colleges to winnow down from, and the two-plus years before graduation seemed to be enough time to figure out what classes to take, how I would afford school, etc.

I know there are a lot of mommy bloggers out there (for children of various ages), so let me run this by you – have y’all started planning on where you want to send your kids to college?  Or are you waiting for a while, and when will be the right time to start planning?

– Benson

Wow, what a response, Mr. Monahan!

First off Joe, let me thank you for the additional traffic you’ve sent our way, it’s really great!

I’m sorry you took umbrage at a simple correction, but we believe fact checking is important.  Oh yeah, my colleagues laughed at the “nicely compensated” dig.

Now, I have to admit, being called out by Joe Monahan was kind of cool. I really didn’t think I warranted a response. That said, Joe, you made a couple of statements about me that didn’t really make sense.  And I’d like the opportunity to respond.

“You gotta love the way the ex-reporters turned PR folks get self-righteous once they start drawing the big paychecks from taxpayers.”

Self-righteous? Joe, I think my friends and co-workers have a different view of me.  As for me being an ex-reporter, yes, I worked at the Albuquerque Journal for ten years. But ex-reporter might be a step too far.  I did some copy-editing and reporting, but was primarily an agate and web guy.

“But let’s put it right back on the nicely compensated Mr. Hendrix.”

This is the second time you’ve referenced my supposedly large salary, Joe. And I have to admit, that did get chuckles around the office. Let me correct the record, if I may.  My salary is public record, and it’s in the mid $30s.

“Why didn’t he put out a news release to the press and us when the Collins contract expired? It had been in the state’s major newspaper and on this blog several times.”

We didn’t put out a release when the contract expired because that’s not what we do for any contract worker. Otherwise there would be a lot of press releases about the various construction companies we work with contractually.

You had interesting posts on both days that contained good ideas about how the current New Mexico budget crisis can be addressed. It’s really too bad that my personal information got in the way.

Again, thanks for all of the additional traffic, and once you’ve had a chance to think this over, let’s go grab some coffee. Hey, being the “high-paid PR man living off of the taxpayer,” I’ll even treat.

– Benson

When is a “B” Subpar?

I was reading the Daily Lobo this morning and on page three they had a story about the most recent University Green Report Card for the University of New Mexico.  The title of the story threw me for a moment, “UNM gets ‘subpar’ green grades” because according to the latest data, UNM’s done really well for itself in the area of sustainability.  The most recent report gave UNM a “B,” which was the same grade the university received last year (which was a letter grade up from the year before that). However, in this year’s Green Report Card, you can still see some marked improvements at the university.  In the ’09 report, there were three sections listed receiving a “C” – Food and Recycling, Green Buildings, and UNM’s Investment Priorities.

In the ’10 report (the one just released) all three of those grades improved (Food and Recycling even jumped to an “A” for the efforts made to reduce waste and use more local produce). And UNM received only one “C,” this time in Student Involvement. I have to say that I was surprised at that, because the Lobo Growers Market has been very successful when it comes to campus, as has student interest in the Sustainability Studies program and the energy conservation discussions held by UNM’s energy educators.

Another change from last year, UNM’s Transportation rating dropped from an A to a B.  I’m wondering what criteria the selection committee used for that downgrade – UNM’s introduced its first vegetable oil run vehicle this semester, and we have a successful bus pass program with the City of Albuquerque to provide UNM students, staff and faculty with free travel on city buses, in addition to the Zipcar program and the Lobo Bike bicycle sharing program, in addition to the regular shuttle buses offered throughout campus.

Governor Bill Richardson’s Green Building executive order also received mention in the report card.  A few years back, Gov. Richardson signed an executive order mandating that new state government buildings meet LEED Silver standards.

You can see the complete report card for UNM here. It’s also too bad that this isn’t included in the Rio Grande Rivalry, because New Mexico State clocked in with a C- this year. 😉

– Benson

Nothing New on Locksley

I just checked in with the Athletics department and the Human Resources department at UNM.  For those of you who don’t know, the University of New Mexico head football coach Mike Locksley is under investigation for an altercation with one of his assistant coaches that left the assistant coach with a split lip.  After the incident the case was referred to Human Resources for an investigation of a violation of UNM policies.

Now earlier today there were reports in multiple media outlets that UNM was preparing to hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the outcome of the investigation. After talking with people in Athletics and Human Resources, there was no reason to believe this is the case.  I was informed that the investigation is still going on and there is no expected announcement tomorrow.  That said, the investigation could end at any time, including today, tomorrow or next week. Once the investigation is over and there has been notification of the results to the people involved, then an announcement will be made.  I’ll keep y’all updated as this continues.

— Benson

Fisking Monahan

Update: We have an updated response to Joe’s post about us here.

Local blogger Joe Monahan fancies himself “New Mexico’s Leading Political Blogger,” or something.  And his posts tend to hit more than they miss, unless they are dealing with UNM.  I don’t want to say that a simple fact check of Monahan is in order, but Joe, it might have been better if you’d tried fact checking before clicking on “send.”

According to Monahan:

And what about that $10,000 a month freelance PR contract the UNM prexy signed? Can that still be going on?

Actually Joe, it’s not still going on.  It hasn’t been going on for a while.  The gentleman in question, public relations consultant Mike Collins, hasn’t been on contract with UNM since June 30. Collins was brought to UNM shortly after President Schmidly was hired in 2007, and did provide some strategic PR counseling and a connection with members of the media on the east coast, since his company was based out of Washington, D.C.

But to answer your question Joe. “No” it’s not still going on.

– Benson