Within the last several months, the main campus Office of Academic Affairs leadership team has experienced many changes, including departures of individuals in key academic positions and the appointment of interim leaders.
“All of the departures have created voids, but also many opportunities for re-thinking the academic affairs leadership structure with a focus on serving its constituents and identifying efficiencies that can be gained by consolidating effort,” said Interim Provost Craig White.
A small task force was assembled earlier this year with a charge from the interim provost to look at the central academic affairs leadership structure in light of the need to oversee and serve 11 schools and colleges, five vice-presidential areas, four branch campuses and a number of administrative units.
Members included: Craig White, interim provost; Amy Wohlert, President’s chief of staff; Virginia Scharff, associate provost; Terry Babbitt, associate vice president for Enrollment Management; Melissa Vargas, Academic Affairs chief of staff; Nicole Dopson, Academic Affairs financial officer; and Jennifer Love, program planning officer.
The task force made a number of recommendations regarding organization and job duties that culminated in filling, on an interim basis, a number of key positions and then launching full searches later this year. The purpose of this approach is to continue the important work of the Office of Academic Affairs while balancing the need for input into who will fill roles on a regular basis going forward.
The highest priority was to immediately fill the position of senior vice provost for the academic mission – a position that is critical to the on-going oversight of faculty affairs, policy matters and general operations in the Office of Academic Affairs. Dr. Richard Wood, professor and former chair of the Department of Sociology, former president of the Faculty Senate, and former special advisor to the Provost, was selected to fill this position.
The next two critical positions to be filled are those of part-time associate provosts for curriculum and assessment, and for faculty development. Postings are currently out for both with applications due on July 28, 2017. More information about these postings can be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The decision was also made to consolidate the Division of Extended Learning with the Division of Enrollment Management. The synergies of mission and efficiencies to be gained made this a logical opportunity for consolidation and resulting financial savings.
Finally, there are a number of important administrative units that will be re-assigned pending the outcome of the searches for associate provosts.
The specific leadership changes are outlined below.
Summary of Academic Affairs leadership changes in 2017:
Chaouki Abdallah, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, was appointed as acting and now interim president.
Craig White, dean of the Anderson School of Management and professor of Accounting, was named as acting and now interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
Carol Parker, senior vice provost, left UNM to be provost at the University of Texas at El Paso. Richard Wood, professor and former chair of the Department of Sociology, was named to fill this position on an interim basis. Please see the chart for the current list of duties based on the task force’s restructure recommendations.
Greg Heileman, vice provost for Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Innovation, retired from UNM and accepted a similar job at the University of Kentucky. The search for his interim replacement is underway. Please see the attached chart for the current list of duties based on the task force’s restructure recommendations. This position will be filled as a part-time associate provost position.
Virginia Scharff, associate provost for Faculty Development, stepped down in preparation for her retirement a year from now. The search for her interim replacement is also underway. Please see the attached chart for the current list of duties based on the task force’s restructure recommendations. This position will be filled as a part-time associate provost position.
Josephine DeLeon, vice president for Equity & Inclusion, retired and took a position at Cal Poly Tech. Lawrence Roybal was named to fill her position on an interim basis. A task force will be named in the immediate future to determine the appropriate administrative structure for this unit going forward.
Monica Orozco-Obando, vice provost for Extended Learning, accepted a position at Virginia Commonwealth. At this time, there are no plans to fill her position; her portfolio will be re-assigned to existing leaders within academic affairs.
Terry Babbitt, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, will receive a title change to vice provost for enrollment management and analytics to reflect his expanded portfolio of duties including oversight of the Divisions of Extended Learning, Institutional Analytics and Institute for Design & Innovation (IDI).
There have also been changes to branch campus leadership including (after a national search) the appointment of Patrick Valdez as the new Taos chief executive officer (CEO) and Jerry Dominguez as the interim CEO of the Gallup campus. The Gallup campus CEO search will commence this fall.
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