The new dean of University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management said she believes the school can become a catalyst for economic growth in the years to come by better aligning with the private sector’s needs.
“I see economic development as a public-private partnership,” said Mitzi Montoya, who was named the dean of the Anderson School earlier this summer.
Montoya laid out her views on the school’s strengths and weaknesses during a webinar hosted Wednesday by the Economic Forum of Albuquerque.
Montoya worked most recently at Washington State University, but has experience at public universities across the country.
She pointed to her time at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where the public universities in North Carolina’s well-known Research Triangle coordinated their efforts and each played different roles in educating the region’s management workforce.
She said she believes New Mexico has a similar opportunity, with a bit of preparation.
“One of the things that I see is an opportunity for very intentional alignment,” Montoya said.
Montoya pointed to New Mexico’s assets – including the presence of large research laboratories and potential for renewable energy – that the state may look to capitalize on. The key, she said, is identifying target sectors, developing infrastructure that helps those sectors succeed, and developing college programs that can prepare students for life in those industries after graduation. This, in turn, helps reverse the trend of talented students fleeing to states with more opportunities.
“In order for us to retain our graduates, we do have to have opportunities for them,” Montoya said.
Montoya acknowledged that Anderson’s enrollment has dipped this semester, in part a product of the unique circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. She pointed to a higher number of students enrolled online as a cause for optimism.
Montoya said the demographics of the school make it a good fit for where she expects higher education to go in the future. She said UNM, with a student body that’s around 50% Hispanic, is in a unique position as a minority-majority school with a research-intensive business program.
“The so-called ‘non-traditional student’ is our traditional student at Anderson,” Montoya said.