Staff Spotlight ~ Scott Carreathers
CIRT director sets sights on customer service
By Tim Sawyer
|Scott Carreathers is director of UNM’s African American Student Services.
Scott Carreathers, director of UNM African American Student Services at UNM, looks forward to February, the annual celebration of black history.
This year, as always, he hopes for a month-long forum so the community can gain a greater understanding of African American contributions to American culture.
“The powers-that-be gave us February – the shortest month of the year,” Carreathers joked. “But we always try to make the most of it.”
Likewise, Carreathers has worked to make the most of himself.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, he attended the New Mexico Military Institute and then Northwest Oklahoma State University, in Alva, Okla., on a football scholarship. A running back, Carreathers once scored on a 55-yard run.
“It was a trap play,” he chuckled. “That was the highlight of my college playing career.”
Carreathers did graduate work in education at Prairieview College. Thereafter, he worked in various education-related positions in Texas and Ohio before returning to Albuquerque and UNM in 1993. At UNM, Carreathers worked for five years as a recruiter and then as a senior academic advisor before becoming director in 2001.
He draws strength and inspiration from his parents and children, and from the example set by Nelson Mandela, the great anti-apartheid activist of South Africa. “Mandela persevered – there is someone who went through more than most of us ever will in a lifetime,” Carreathers said. “I figure if he can get through what he did, then we can use his strength as an example.”
Carreathers is proud of the fact that the proportion of African American students attending UNM reflects the proportion of the state’s population that is black, an unusual statistic for a school which is not a historically black college or university.
“We can do still better – we need to do better,” he said. “There is no reason why we can’t make African Americans a larger presence on our campus. We would like to up our percentage of black representation to five or six percent in the near future.”
African American Student Services can play an integral role in raising the percentage, Carreathers said. “It’s our job to help with strong recruitment and retention efforts here at UNM. AASS’s position is such that we can and will play a central role in bringing more African American students to UNM and, once they’re here, in keeping them.”
Challenges lie ahead, because the program needs more funds and personnel, he said.
Carreathers expressed concern that fewer young people will seek advanced education in the future.
UNM will need to continue to be aggressive in recruiting students, he said.
“We’re going to see a shift toward non-traditional students,” he said, including non-traditional African American students – commuters, professionals, older single parents, etc. “Figuring out how to meet their needs is going to be part of the challenge.”