University of New Mexico Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway has named Dr. Mike Holtzclaw as chancellor for the UNM-Los Alamos branch campus, effective July 18, 2022.
Holtzclaw has more than 27 years of experience in higher education serving community colleges in California and Oregon including his current position at the College of San Mateo (San Mateo, Calif.) where he’s has served as vice president of Instruction since January 2019 and acting vice president of Student Services since Aug. 2019.
“Mike Holtzclaw really impressed the search advisory committee, and me, with his experience and his forward vision, and with his clear desire to make Los Alamos his home,” said James Holloway, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “I know that Mike will help guide UNM-Los Alamos to even greater service to New Mexico and will be a great partner in helping us realize our UNM 2040: Opportunity Defined vision.”
"I am excited and honored to be chosen as the next Chancellor of UNM-LA. Throughout the entire search process, I was impressed with how engaged and invested the community is in the success of the university,” said Holtzclaw. “Being part of the flagship university in the state of New Mexico, combined with the small, intimate feel of a branch campus, is the best of both worlds for students. I look forward to collaborating with business, industry and non-profit partners in the surrounding communities to develop and grow programs that will contribute to economic development and well-being of workers."
Holtzclaw has a deep gratitude to community colleges for the vital role they play in student achievement, equity and social justice. He has a proven track record of effective executive-level college administrator with a track record of collaborative leadership. He has consistently earned strong support from faculty and unions, as well as administration, at four institutions. He is passionate about delivering high quality educational and student support services to a diverse population to ensure opportunities and success for all students.
He fills the position held by Cindy Rooney, who will step down as Chancellor of UNM-Los Alamos on July 17, 2022, after serving as chancellor since 2015.
"I think that UNM - LA is in a unique site and situation. Being located in a small community, with an employer with more employees than reside in the community is quite special,” said Holtzclaw. “It presents both tremendous opportunities and challenges. In many ways you have the tremendous benefits of a small town, with a tightknit community, and yet you have the dynamic, innovative employer that brings people from all over the country. Add in the tremendous recreational opportunities and beauty of the area, and you can see why Los Alamos is such an attractive place to live and raise a family or retire. I cannot wait to join the community."
Currently the vice president of Instruction at the College of San Mateo, Holtzclaw began his tenure just before the pandemic in January 2019 when he helped to pivot the entire college to online instruction and student services, including training faculty, counselors, librarians, and student service personnel to sustain enrollment of 6,500+ student in a matter of days. Overall, he manages more than 50 academic disciplines, 10 athletic teams and more than 275 part-time and full-time faculty. He is also a member of the President’s cabinet that collaboratively leads the College to perform at its highest level. The institution was recently ranked No. 3 in the nation for all community colleges.
In addition, Holtzclaw has worked with the Science dean to utilize the College’s Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)-STEM and MESA grants to support underrepresented students in the sciences. He is also a member of statewide organization developing an equity institute that will provide training to all 116 community colleges in California working toward becoming anti-racist institutions.
Prior to his current position, Holtzclaw served as the senior dean at Diablo Valley College in San Ramon, Calif. where he served as the chief administrator on the branch campus of 1,100 students. He oversaw all instructional programs, student services, facilities, and IT for the branch campus. He was a member of the President’s cabinet and a member of the Project Steering Committee for Measure E Bond, an $18 million expansion and renovation of the campus. Holtzclaw was also a member of the district’s administrative team for faculty contract negotiations.
In 2012, Holtzclaw moved to the Bay Area and spent four years at Ohlone Community College in Fremont, Calif. where he served as dean of Science, Engineering and Mathematics. He managed the division budget and course scheduling for 11 associate degrees and 18 certificate programs. He also worked to establish relationships with NASA/Ames, Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National labs for student internships and faculty externships, and expanded collaboration of industry and community partners to develop and redesign curriculum that fit the needs of a future workforce.
He also served at Central Oregon Community College (Bend, Ore.) as the instructional dean including the areas of Science, Business and Aviation, Natural and Industrial Resources and Culinary. He also oversaw the College’s Learning Communities and Study Abroad Programs. Holtzclaw began his career in higher education serving as assistant dean of Admissions at Lewis & Clark. He taught English as Second Language in Taiwan, and for 13 years he was a professor of geography at Central Oregon Community College.
Holtzclaw has also been awarded and managed several grants throughout his career including Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) grant for $3 million, Basic Skills Initiative grant ($2 million) and a Department of Labor “Ready to Work” grant ($1 million) and has served on numerous boards and committees including the Lewis & Clark College Board of Trustees, the Association of College Administrators, and City of Bend (Ore.) Commission as chair.
A native of Grants Pass, Ore., Hotlzclaw enjoys traveling, learning other languages, hiking, reading gardening, and playing and watching basketball.
Holtzclaw holds a BA in International Affairs with a minor in Soviet & East European studies from Lewis & Clark College (1988) in Portland, Ore., and an MA (1993) and Ph.D. (1997) in Geography from The Ohio State University.