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NMSU faculty members join others to teach bankers

Professional bankers looking to improve their skills are at New Mexico State University this week, taking part in the Western States School of Banking's two-year education and training program. This is the second year the banking school has taken place at the university and it's the first time NMSU faculty members have taught some of the courses.



A Western States School of Banking instructor interacts with students during the weeklong session at New Mexico State University. (Submitted photo)

"We realize what a great situation we are in, being affiliated with New Mexico State University and the College of Business," said Mark Fidel, executive director of the WSSB. "The university has been very welcoming and provided us with room for growth."

This year more than 70 students are taking part in the banking school. The school consists of two summer sessions and provides education and training to bank employees looking to further their careers. Most of their students come from the Southwest and the Rocky Mountain region. Students in this session represent New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wisconsin, Kansas, California and Nevada.

Eight instructors teach courses in credit management, funds management, banking law, human resources and team building, technology, sales and marketing, risk management and a bank simulation course. NMSU instructors include Judith Weisinger, Gerson Goldberg and James Nelson.

"We are very excited the WSSB is using three of our faculty as instructors in their program," said Lizbeth Ellis, head of NMSU's Department of Finance. "Each of these individuals has a wealth of specialized knowledge and expertise to bring to the WSSB. They each hold a Ph.D. and have years of experience teaching at the university level with an extremely active research agenda. We believe these instructors will enhance the prestige of the WSSB."

Ellis said the affiliation between the WSSB and NMSU gives the university a strong industry connection that it plans to use to strengthen academic programs, including its banking program.

"We are confident our instructors are going to get some feedback from the WSSB students about current issues in the banking industry that they will then bring back to their NMSU classrooms. This cross-pollination, so to speak, is healthy for WSSB and it is healthy for the NMSU College of Business," she said.

NMSU and the WSSB are also collaborating on the Banking Internship Network, a Web site where regional banks willing to hire students for internships can post information on available positions. The Web site will be managed by the WSSB while NMSU will identify students, provide the prerequisite coursework, encourage the students to apply for internships and supervise the academic component of the internship. This will allow students to earn college credits while working in a bank.

Most of the banks that take part in the WSSB tend to be independent community banks. Larger banks will typically have their own infrastructure for training or the ability to outsource those services to larger schools.

This year's total student count is slightly higher than last year, led by a significant increase in incoming freshmen. Fidel estimates the school has room at NMSU for as many as 100 students.

WSSB runs a series of certificate courses as well. This fall, they hope to run one of those courses out of Las Cruces to attract more students from Southern New Mexico and West Texas.