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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: June 23, 2003
Volume 38, Number 22

Martinez-Purson named Continuing Education dean

Martinez-PursonUNM Provost Brian L. Foster has announced the appointment of Rita Martinez-Purson as dean of the UNM Division of Continuing Education and Community Services effective July 8.

Earlier this year, Foster announced the separation of UNM’s Extended University from the UNM’s Division of Continuing Education and Community Services, citing recent significant growth and development of the two organizations in ways requiring reorganization. Since 1999, when Extended University was formed it has shared the organizational and management structure of the Division of Continuing Education and both units have been led by Dr. Jerónimo (“Jerry”) C. Domínguez as vice provost and dean, respectively. Domínguez will continue in his capacity as vice provost for Extended University.

“We’re confident that Dr. Martinez-Purson will provide the kind of leadership that our Division of Continuing Education requires as it continues to grow and develop,” Foster said. “She brings appreciable experience in higher education, in workforce development and in managing large, complex organizations. It’s significant that much of her experience has been at another New Mexico institution of higher education—the Santa Fe Community College— where she also served as interim president for more than a year. She has excellent credentials and is the co-founder of PACE, New Mexico’s continuing education association. We are looking forward to working with her.”

“I can’t wait to get started! This division plays a vital role in providing quality learning options for people of all ages, with a significant impact on workforce development in Albuquerque. My aim will be to expand the scope of programs, services and outreach in areas where we can best serve new and developing markets,” Martinez-Purson said.

Since June of 2002, Martinez-Purson has served as Human Resources Group Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she has been responsible for overseeing human resource services for more than 1,800 LANL employees.

From 1984 to 2002, she served as dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at the Santa Fe Community College, which was the largest of its kind in the state’s community college system. In that capacity, Martinez-Purson provided administrative oversight for the College’s Center for Continuing Education, the Planetarium, Santa Fe Works, the Center for Customized Training, the Institute for Intercultural Community Leadership, Elderhostel Programs, the Conference Center and facilities management for special events and community-based programs.

For a 13-month period in 1997-98, she served as interim president of Santa Fe Community College, overseeing an annual operating budget of $17 million and carrying out the full responsibilities of administering the college.

Martinez-Purson earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in sociology and anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1976; her master’s degree in public administration from UNM in 1983; and, her Doctorate in Education and Administration and Supervision from UNM in 1994.

She is the 1997 recipient of the UNM School of Public Administration’s Distinguished Alumnus Award; the 2001 “Business Woman of the Year” award presented by the Capital City Business Women’s Association; a 1997 graduate of Leadership New Mexico and a 1998 participant in the Executive Leadership Institute, the League for Innovation; and a 1996 graduate of the Sol y Sombra Community Building Institute, among other honors and recognition.