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Soaring to New Heights Strategic Plan 2028
Mission, Vision, Core Values & Strategic Pillars


Northern New Mexico College has served the rural communities of Northern New Mexico for over a century. Since opening in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito, NM, the College has provided affordable access to quality academic programs that meet the changing educational, economic, and cultural needs of the region.

Northern is an open-admissions institution offering the most affordable bachelor’s programs in the Southwest. Now one of the state’s four regional comprehensive institutions, with its main campus in Española, Northern offers more than 50 bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs in arts & human sciences, film & digital media, STEM programs, business, education, liberal arts, and nursing. The College has reintroduced technical trades in partnership with unions and five public schools to expand educational opportunities and career pathways for students. Graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees at colleges such as Johns Hopkins University and Purdue University, and employment at NASA and Los Alamos National Labs.

Northern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has earned prestigious program-specific accreditations for its engineering, nursing, education, and business programs.

Northern New Mexico College is an inclusive, student-centered teaching and learning community, dedicated to excellence, empowering students, and transforming lives.

As a Hispanic- and Indigenous-serving institution, sustained by place, culture, and innovation — Northern is a beacon of higher education for all students, igniting minds to create vibrant futures.


  • Student-Centered: We honor every student as a unique individual and prioritize student needs in all decision making.
  • Mutual Respect: We respect the differences of all peoples; diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are our strengths.
  • Integrity: We value honesty, trust, and transparency.
  • Excellence: We commit to continuous improvement and strive to excel in all that we do.
  • Servant Leadership: We prioritize the growth, well-being, and empowerment of students, faculty, and staff, and are good stewards of resources entrusted to our care.


  • Transformational Student Experience: We journey together with our students through a positive proactive, personalized experience and become partners in their dreams.
  • Academic Excellence: We teach with spirit and heart to provide a culturally responsive, 21st-century learning environment that sparks critical thinking and maximizes intellectual achievement.
  • Organizational Excellence: We act with shared purpose and responsibility – focused on innovation and continuous improvement – committed to student success and empathetic, engaged leadership and expertise.
  • Strategic Partnerships: We build partnerships that enhance student and institutional success and community well-being.
Northern offers over 50 bachelor's, associate and certificate programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math); Nursing and Health Sciences; Liberal Arts and Humanities; Arts, Film & Media; Business Administration; Teacher Education and Technical Trades.
Northern New Mexico College is the most affordable 4-year college in the Southwestern US. Choose us for our value, our quality degree and continuing education programs in diverse areas of study, and our experienced faculty. We provide students with unique opportunities for academic, personal, and professional growth, small class sizes, personalized attention, and strong hands-on experiences from day one.
The Northern Foundation remains committed to stimulate leadership, promote equity, and grow resources and philanthropy in the Española Valley and surrounding rural areas. Over the past twenty years, we have granted $1.3 million to support over 1,250 NNMC students.