University of New Mexico Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Chaouki Abdallah has appointed Professor Mario Rivera as interim director of the School of Public Administration effective immediately. 

“After a thorough review of potential candidates, I am very pleased to name Dr. Mario Rivera as interim director of the School of Public Administration," Abdallah said. "He received overwhelming support of the faculty and staff in the department to serve in this role and I am confident that he will do a fine job.”

Rivera joined the School of Public Administration as associate professor in 1993 and was promoted to full professor in 2001, with award of a Regents’ Professorship in 2002. He has a distinguished academic and practitioner career, with broad impact through contributions in teaching, research, service to the School of Public Administration, the university and the profession. Rivera has gained national and international recognition for scholarly and advocacy work on diversity and social equity that began with both applied work and scholarship on immigration in the nineteen eighties.

Rivera was a recipient of faculty mentor awards in 2007 and 2011 from Peer Mentoring for Graduates of Color and the Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color in the UNM Office for Equity and Inclusion. He led the Native American initiative in the School of Public Administration that began in 2008 and has mentored hundreds of MPA students, many of them from historically-underrepresented groups. He is the first Hispanic/Latino appointee to the SPA directorship since its inauguration a half century ago.

“I am very honored by the trust conveyed by Provost Abdallah and my colleagues, in my ability to lead the school successfully through a challenging but promising transition; I will do my utmost in this regard, with the help of fellow SPA faculty and our outstanding staff, students, alumni, and Advisory Board, and our many other stakeholders around the state,” Rivera said.

Rivera was appointed to the position after the interim director of the school, Amy Wohlert, moved into a position as chief of staff for UNM President Robert Frank. A national search for a director will begin in fall 2014.