University of New Mexico Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Eliseo "Cheo" Torres recently announced the appointment of Tómas Aguirre as UNM's new Dean of Students. Aguirre started his new role on July 1. His new job — his dream job — is something he’s worked toward for the last ten years. “My father always said that if you find something you love you won’t have to ‘work’ anymore,” he said.
An El Paso native, Aguirre has always loved the Southwest and is now proud to call Albuquerque home. He comes to UNM after serving as associate dean of students at CSU Humboldt State University in California. Prior, he earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Southern California.
He would like to be known as the “students’ dean” rather than the “Dean of Students.” “I am excited to be that voice for the students,” Aguirre said. “I look forward to helping them with any challenge and steering them in the right direction to help them succeed academically.”
To ensure that UNM students get the support they need, Aguirre plans to collaborate with departments and units across the University and says that the role of supporting students should be a shared goal for employees University wide. One of his first priorities is to break down any existing silos that may hinder the mission of achieving student success. “We need to be ‘orienting’ our students from the day they start until the day they graduate. It takes a University to support our students,” he said.
As a Hispanic, and previous first-generation student, Aguirre said that he appreciates working at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and feels that he can understand the struggles UNM’s Hispanic students might endure. “I feel that it’s important to make a difference for these students. When I left El Paso to attend UT-Austin I struggled with both the academic and cultural transition. It was a culture shock,” he said.
Adjusting to becoming a Lobo, however, is no challenge. “Its so easy to go from a Longhorn to a Lobo,” he said, switching from the Longhorn hook 'em horns gesture to the Lobo woof, woof, woof gesture.
The Dean of Students office is located in the University Advisement & Enrichment Center, Room 280.
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