UNM’s Global Education Office (GEO) has announced the appointment of Paul Edmunds as interim director. Edmunds is currently the director for the Center for English Language and American Culture (CELAC), UNM’s intensive English language program. Edmunds replaces Stephen Nussbaum. He will serve as GEO’s interim director until the position is filled permanently.

Edmunds, who began the position effective April 1, offers GEO a deep value of academic knowledge and diversity, and strong experience working with students, faculty and scholars from different cultures. His rich mixture of management, academic and cross-cultural experience will guide GEO’s mission of providing a global experience for UNM and visiting international students, faculty and scholars.

"We are enormously pleased that Paul agreed to serve as interim director," said Mary Anne Saunders, special assistant to the president for global initiatives. "His long history with CELAC, combined with his understanding of GEO's expanding role as a global center of cultural learning, international affairs, and language study, makes him the ideal person to lead this department as we begin the process of selecting a new director."

Edmunds, who plans to apply for the permanent director position, could serve as interim director for up to six months according to UNM policy. Currently, Edmunds oversees five different GEO subdivisions, including CELAC, Education Abroad, International Admissions, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and GEO’s administration.

"I am honored to serve as interim director, and I am excited to continue working in a new capacity with so many committed people at GEO," Edmunds said. "The position feels like a natural fit for me. Working with Dr. Saunders has especially helped prepare me for bigger ventures, and now I have that opportunity."

Edmunds has worked closely with Saunders for more than a year to establish a UNM office in Mexico City, an important achievement for UNM and GEO, as Mexico provides a gateway for educational expansion to other Latin American countries.

“Mexico is not only our neighbor, but part of our New Mexico heritage as well,” Edmunds said. “UNM is in large part a Hispanic-serving institution. It makes sense that we would continue our educational outreach and partnerships with countries like Mexico that share our vision and student community.”

In addition, Edmunds continues to serve as CELAC director, managing the program’s academic English courses and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) preparation classes. CELAC’s TOEFL classes are designed to prepare students for taking the TOEFL test, which measures their ability to use and understand English at the university level.

Edmunds has worked with CELAC for 14 years, serving as its director for the past four years. Under his direction, last year CELAC piloted the first online TOEFL course ever offered by UNM. He has also initiated special programs for students, faculty and administrators that have led to explosive growth for CELAC in recent months. Most recently, he established a partnership with the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá in Colombia to bring 17 professors to UNM for one month this summer. The professors will take English immersion classes at CELAC and network with UNM faculty in their disciplines.

“These kinds of short-term programs for students, faculty and administrators are a fantastic way to get people of all ranks excited about CELAC and our university,” Edmunds said. “They’re short, economical, and a great way to introduce people to UNM.”

Edmunds also teaches classes as a research assistant professor for two UNM departments: Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Linguistics. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2009 and his M.A. in 2003, both from UNM’s Department of Linguistics. He has written and contributed to numerous publications, received several awards, and presented on the topic of ESL students at many conferences over the course of his career.

“Teaching actually allows me to stay connected to the faculty and students here,” Edmunds said. “It provides me with special insight and understanding of their challenges. And, it actually loops back into the main mission of UNM and GEO, which is to provide learning opportunities for international students and expose our students to diversity on campus.”

For more information contact Kat Elwell, public information representative, Global Education Office, (505) 277-0906, kelwell@unm.edu.           

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales, communications representative, Communications & Marketing, (505) 277-5920, cgonzal@unm.edu