Richard Howell

Richard Howell, dean at the University of New Mexico's College of Education, announced his decision to step down on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Howell, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Organizational Leadership, has served as dean of the CoE since April 2009. He has been granted an academic sabbatical for the 2013-14 academic year.

"I would like to thank Dean Howell for his many years of service to the University of New Mexico, especially in the last four as the dean of the College of Education," said Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Chaouki Abdallah. "He has put in place a data-driven approach and led many of the assessment efforts in the college and across our campus. He has also instituted and supported many of the initiatives that have positively impacted public education in New Mexico including being a champion of the academic values of higher education and for public education in general. I look forward to working with Dean Howell during and after his sabbatical as we try to increase our positive impact on K-12 education in our state and beyond."

A few of the changes UNM looks to make include expanding the student teaching clinical programs, specializing in certain areas and increasing graduate level research.

Viola "Vi" Florez, professor of Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning and PNM Endowed Chair in the College of Education, will serve as interim dean. Previously, Florez served the state of New Mexico as Cabinet Secretary for Higher Education (2008-2010), as interim provost (2007-08) and as dean of the COE (1997-2008).

Howell has a long history at UNM having earned three degrees including a BS in Psychology ('72), an MA in Special Education ('73) and his Ph.D. also in Special Education ('83). After completing his Master's, Howell began his academic career in earnest at UNM in 1982 as an instructor in Educational Technology at the College of Education. A position he held for two years.

Howell then moved onto The Ohio State University as an assistant professor in 1984 and held several positions throughout the years at the institution including assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership (1984-91), associate professor in the Department of Physical Activities and Educational Services (1991-00) chair of the Special Education program (1998-99) and finally assistant dean for Technology (1999-2000).

Howell returned to UNM in 2000 and served as Special Assistant to the Vice Provost, The Extended University (2000-04), interim Assistant Vice President, Office of Academic Affairs (2004-05), and associate dean of Research in the College of Education (2005-08). He also served as interim dean of the COE (2007) until being named dean in 2009.

UNM will launch a national search for a new dean later this year.

Media Contact: Steve Carr (505) 277-1821; email: