The University of New Mexico (UNM) Institute for Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) has its roots in UNM’s political science department. In 1946, the department formed the Division of Government Research (DGR), which performed research related to governmental issues particular to New Mexico. Traffic safety became a focus of DGR in 1975, when the division began conducting traffic crash data analysis for the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT). Geospatial and Population Studies was established in 2012, from two components: the Division of Government Research, which was renamed the Traffic Research Unit (TRU); and the Population Research Unit (PRU), which had been part of UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic
TRU also expanded its work in 2012, when it was awarded the NMDOT contract to build a new, comprehensive traffic crash data entry system. PRU functions as the New Mexico state demographer’s office, which publishes annual population estimates and tri-annual population projections, while working closely with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure accurate demographic statistics related to New Mexico. GPS also works on international research and training initiatives, in countries such as Kenya and Ecuador.
GPS is well versed in the following areas:
1. Statistical data analysis, data integration, and data ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) using SAS, R, SPSS and other statistical software.
2. Combination of GIS (geographic information systems) with statistical programming to analyze data and create maps for spatial data analysis.
3. Improvement of data quality with the ability to profile, cleanse and match data during the ETL process GPS’s diverse expertise in analysis and geospatial data helps officials and the public make data-driven decisions and policies.
IGPS’s diverse expertise in analysis and geospatial data helps officials and the public make data-driven decisions and policies.
Strategic Plan (2017 – 2020)
As the Institute for Geospatial and Population Studies (IGPS) approached strategic planning, it was understood that the organization had enjoyed a great deal of recent success. In addition to meeting all of the goals of its previous strategic plan, the IGPS at UNM had developed a reputation for doing quality work while sustaining its own operations.
Coming into this strategic planning process, the leadership and staff recognized an opportunity to develop a plan that could not only build greater capacity to do their work, but to also potentially develop the capacity to reward staff members for a job well done.
To that end, the IGPS staff went into the planning process thinking about branding, organizational structure, collaborative work, funding sustainability and program/product alignment. Throughout the planning process, the staff came to a few critical agreements. First, staff discussed the impending retirement of current Director Dr. Adelamar “Dely”Alcantara, and all supported the succession planning scenario of Robert Rhatigan stepping into the director’s role over the course of the next three years. Second, the group decided to change the name of the department to the Institute for Geospatial and Population Studies. Third, the development of an integrated model of work was developed (please see Venn diagram), which shows the growth of the information technology and programming area of work as a stand-alone department. With the emergence of IT and programming as a department, training as both an internal and external exercise became the focal point that holds the space of convergence for IGPS. And finally, there was a slight rearrangement of the wording of the vision statement to emphasize the impact that IGPS’ work has in bettering people’s lives.
As with many participatory strategic planning processes, the IGPS strategic plan is supported by the idea that effective strategic planning is asset-based and participatory and that the culmination of writing the plan report is not the end of the process. Strategic planning is a continuous process, and the documents created through the process are designed to be “living guides” used by both the leadership and staff to inform constituents and stakeholders to better understand where the organization is headed and why those directions are meant to support communities.
While IGPS has identified strategic priorities for the organization between 2017 and 2020, it is critical that the organization maintains a focus on capacity to meet administrative, operational and programmatic objectives, and to acknowledge that there are limitations to the amount of resources, including time and focused staff energy. Going forward, the implementation and execution of strategies at the program and campus level also desires to be collaborative in partnership with stakeholders and community to ensure that the shared vision developed throughout the planning process achieves the level of shared ownership and commitment to the plan.
Mission & Vision
The Institute for Geospatial and Population Studies supplies trustworthy information that serves communities and government agencies; offers cutting-edge technology and research methods; and provides a fertile training ground at UNM for a new generation of applied researchers and decision makers.
The Institute for Geospatial and Population Studies improves people’s lives by performing research and evaluation to provide accurate and actionable information for data-driven decisions and policies.
• Diversity • Strong collaboration • Creative, innovative people • Policies that improve people’s lives
• Scientific curiosity and problem-solving
• Data-driven decision-making processes supported by trustworthy data
Strategic Priorities and Goals
For the next three years, the IGPS will work to fulfill its mission by focusing its capacity, services and outreach efforts on a set of strategic priority areas. These priority areas were identified during the planning process as areas that are critical to the growth and development of the IGPS. The matrix that follows represents the short-term to long-term strategic priority areas that were identified during planning. As these priorities are presented beyond 2017, note that a year-end comprehensive assessment of progress on strategic goals should determine which of the priority areas will continue to be necessary and whether the organization has the capacity to engage in them.
Each of these areas outlined will need review to determine relevance, potential effect and development of comprehensive action and implementation plans to make them operational. In the spirit of how this plan was developed, these processes should be collaborative, inclusive and participatory.
|1) Census 2020 Preparation||1) Census 2020 Preparation||1) Census 2020 Preparation|
|2) Automation and Efficiency—Identify and finish overdue/lingering projects.||1) Automation and Efficiency||1) Automation and Efficiency|
|2) Collaboration and Networking—Reach out to others on campus to develop partnerships.||2) Collaboration and Networking||2) Collaboration and Networking|
|3) Media and Marketing—Use new branding and revamped website to attract business.||3) Media and Marketing—Develop new integrated website with integrated branding.||3) Media and Marketing|
|4) Staff Professional Development||4) Staff Professional Development—Identify cross-training needs of staff development.||4) Staff Professional Development—Develop system for self-assessment and engaging needed training.|
|5) Classes and Professional Training for the Public||5) Classes and Professional Training for the Public—Plan curriculum and start offering training.||5) Classes and Professional Training for the Public—Develop systems for monetizing external training (such as certifications).|
|6) Presentations and Publications||6) Presentations and Publications||6) Presentations and Publications—Publish peer-reviewed papers and self-publish on website.|
|7) Funding Sustainability—Alpha priority, will need capacity.||7) Funding Sustainability—Alpha priority, will need capacity.||7) Funding Sustainability—Alpha priority, will need capacity.|