University of New Mexico Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway has named Dr. Mary Gutierrez as chancellor of the UNM-Taos branch campus effective Aug. 1, 2021.
Gutierrez comes to UNM-Taos from Diablo Valley College (DVC) in Pleasant Hill, Calif., where she was Vice President of Instruction and also serves as an instructor in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University. A diverse suburban community college, DVC is a top California transfer institution that serves approximately 20,000 students on two campuses and is the largest of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District.
“During the interview process, I was very impressed by the quality of Dr. Gutierrez’ ideas and her dedication to helping all students towards successful outcomes,” said UMM Provost James Holloway. “She engaged deeply in questions of community connection, and has demonstated success at multiple levels of academic teaching and administration. Dr. Gutierrez will be an excellent chancellor and a wonderful addition to the Lobo family.”
An inclusive educator, mentor, and community college leader with demonstrated experience addressing higher education’s equity gaps in student outcomes, Gutierrez looks forward to the opportunity UNM-Taos offers.
“I am honored to be joining the staff, faculty, administrators, and community members who have worked to make UNM-Taos what it is today,” said Gutierrez. “When I spent time in Taos it was abundantly evident that many people have contributed to making UNM-Taos an outstanding educational institution. I was heartened to observe the community’s involvement in the college, the college’s commitment to the Pueblo Nations, and the joint efforts underway to spur and support regional economic development. The presence of so many faculty, staff, students, council members, advisory board members, and community members throughout my interview process demonstrated not only the importance of the college to Taos but also the strength of the community and the potential in our shared efforts.”
A third-generation educator, she is an accomplished administrator with more than 25 years of higher education experience. From her earliest days as an educator, Gutierrez, who grew up in Las Cruces, N.M., formed her pedagogy with the belief that all students could be successful and that their success was her responsibility. She worked hard to remove barriers in her classroom and equipped herself with multiple ways to ensure that her classroom was inclusive and student-centered. She has worked on early college and middle college programs, as an advocate for faculty and instructors in community college settings and has worked to address the multidimensional diversity of faculty and staff and their preparation to work with a diverse student body.
“When I began working as an administrator, it was because I wanted to expand my focus on equity and inclusion by identifying and removing barriers to equitable access, success, completion, and transfer or employment for our students,” said Gutierrez. “My recent leadership as a vice president has focused on interventions that are intended to close equity gaps: providing equitable access to transfer-level courses, developing Guided Pathways, recruiting a diverse faculty and staff, and ensuring a supportive and inclusive culture at the college for students, staff, faculty, and administrators.”
In her current role as vice president at Diablo Valley, Gutierrez has provided vision and leadership for an equity-focused guided pathways framework and has collaboratively developed through a student-centered lens academic programs, divisions, buildings, and budgets. She helped secure $250,000 in funding to develop Diamante Scholars, a high school-to-STEM pathway with a focus on Hispanic students, as well as a $250,000 strategic enrollment grant focused on working adults.
Gutierrez also improved college-wide racial justice and equity professional development. She successfully requested a district-wide minimum qualification of understanding of, sensitivity to, and respect for the diverse academic, socio-economic, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, politics, philosophy, disability, and religious background of all students, faculty, and staff.
In addition to her experience at DVC, Gutierrez has served as dean of Language Arts and as acting president at Skyline College in California, associate dean at Cascadia College in Bothel, Wash., as well as in various positions at the University of San Diego, Highline College, also in Washington, Tusculum College in Tennessee and St. Lawrence University in New York.
“My career has been influenced by working at innovative institutions that empower students by providing divergent learning experiences focused on serving students equitably. Most recently, as an Aspen Rising President Fellow I have benefitted from Aspen’s research on highly effective community colleges and their practices,” said Gutierrez. “I will bring to UNM-Taos my joy for working together as an inclusive team and a strong commitment to serving students equitably by owning our outcomes and improving them using data, research, and innovation.”
Gutierrez earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University, and her Master of Art and Bachelor of Art, both in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.