University of New Mexico Associate Provost Greg Heileman announced the appointment of Sonia Gipson Rankin as the acting director for university advising effective Nov. 1. Rankin currently serves as associate dean of University College and senior lecturer in the Africana Studies program. She will continue in this capacity until a full-time director is hired through a national search process. 

“I am looking forward to working with Sonia," said Heileman. "She brings tremendous energy and an infectious enthusiasm to everything she does. Rankin’s appointment will allow us to continue facilitating the campus-wide advising reforms that are critical to our success as an institution.”

Since 2012, UNM has been involved in a number of institution-wide efforts aimed at facilitating student success, such as the improvement of advising processes, initiated under the guidance of former director Vanessa Harris, the building of an intentional first-year experience, and curricular review and improvement, which have produced higher quality academic programs.

Rankin played a key role in UNM’s First Year in High Gear effort, which fundamentally transformed the first-year experience for all students. As a part of this effort she led a redesign of the New Student Orientation (NSO) experience and was involved in the development of two important gateway courses for first-year students.

“I am really looking forward to working with our committed staff and faculty on how we can help students thrive,” Rankin said.

Important next steps include Rankin’s leadership of a task force that will review current progress and make recommendations for further improvements to operational efficiencies and the overall quality of the advising experience at UNM.

Rankin received her Juris Doctor in 2002 from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she was the associate editor of the Elder Law Journal, and her bachelor of science degree in computer science from Morgan State University, in Baltimore, Maryland. At UNM, she began as a lecturer, became associate director of African Studies in 2009, and the associate dean for University College in 2012.

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