The UNM Leading Innovation for Education (LIFE) pilot program was launched in 2014 for Student Affairs directors to learn to use the WIRE Factor (Work Ethic, Integrity, Respect and Education) in their daily roles.  

The first cohort completed the pilot program this spring with positive feedback by participants, employers and instructors. 

“The first cohort, was for Student Affairs directors and was geared at growing passionate, authentic, and articulate leaders who lead for a purpose and not a personal agenda,” said Tim Gutierrez, associate vice president, Student Services. “It was from that initial model that we are able to cultivate a curriculum for the continuation titled LIFE, the sequel."

LIFE the sequel, was created for Student Affairs managers/supervisors in mid-level management positions whose goal is to advance their career in a higher education administrative role. 

The graduating class consisted of: Eric Boeglin, Recreational Services; Christina Chavez, Accessibility Resource Center; Mary Cianflone, STEM Collaborative; Michael Heim, High School Equivalency Program; Chris Luna, Upward Bound; Catherine Montoya, American Indian Student Services; and Ivan Olay, College Assistance Migrant Program.

The program, which has received positive reviews from its graduates, offers a broad overview of leadership practices in action and is geared toward increasing understanding in how individuals can be more effective in a University leadership role. Topics include: how to lead from within a team, how to promote learning in students from all cultural backgrounds and learning needs; and how to empower others through understanding one’s own leadership style. 

Graduates of the program have successfully completed their one-year commitment to the program, which includes 8-10 hours of class time per month and additional hours outside of the class spent reading, journaling and completing a group Capstone project.

The consensus among graduates is that the program helped them solidify how they fit into the “big picture” of Student Affairs, while helping them create a more personal goal-oriented leadership style. Additionally, it gave them a broader perspective on issues that can affect decision-making within the Division, as well as expanding their leadership skills

“The LIFE program enhanced my leadership skills by helping reveal and clarify my values,” said Cianflone. “I understand myself more, my leadership strengths and weaknesses and how I can balance them.”

The next LIFE program cohort will consist of 10-15 staff members, and applications are due by Friday, July 17.

For more information on the program or to apply, visit: LIFE program or contact Jim Todd at