Campus News - August 20, 2001

Spotlight

Stephens advances career with lifelong learning philosophy

By Steve Carr

Mimi Stephens, Department Administrator, Electrical and Computer EngineeringMimi Stephens has a unique philosophy about education and it goes hand in hand with her position as Department Administrator in Electrical and Computer Engineering (EECE).

“I think learning is a lifelong experience,” says Stephens. “It doesn’t stop when you earn a degree.”

Stephens was raised and educated in Europe where she spent 21 of her most formative years. Her father was an opera singer and her mother a writer. Stephens was exposed to schooling in four different countries, learning French, German and Italian. Adapting to each country’s educational system was the foundation for her philosophy on lifelong learning. “About every five years I had to assimilate into a new culture, learn a new language, and adjust to a new school system,” Stephens explained. “It was definitely an exercise in flexibility!”

Even though Stephens has a master’s degree in business administration, she feels the intellectual stimulation she receives from the classroom is a benefit to her, the department she works in, and also to the University.

Stephens has focused much of her continuing education in business administration, and continues to take courses in the field. She has taken nearly all of the certificate programs from the Management Development Center (MDC) at the Anderson Schools of Management including Leading and Coaching, Quality Management, Global Management, Nonprofit Management, Advanced Management and Management Practices: The Strategic Management of Human Resources.

“It’s stimulating to be surrounded by people who create knowledge and work in the world of ideas. It helps me broaden my horizons both intellectually and personally,” said Stephens. “I think that is the main reason I enjoy working at UNM. Continuing my education is a combination of my own enjoyment and intellectual curiosity. Plus, it’s also part of my job to stay current with the latest practices in management.”

Stephens has used the courses she’s taken throughout her 13 years at UNM to advance her career. She spent 11 years in the UNM Anthropology Department before moving into her current position in EECE. One of the MDC courses, Strategic Management, helped Stephens be an active participant in developing the EECE department’s strategic plan.

“Shortly after I started in EECE, the new Chair, Dr. Christos Christodoulou, said he wanted to create a strategic plan for the department,” Stephens said. “I had recently taken the Strategic Management course with Dr. Linda Stromei, who was such an exceptional teacher with a talent for educating adults who are in full stride in their careers. I was ready to jump right in with two feet and help the EECE department with the process.”

“I would encourage all staff to take courses. They are right at our doorstep for the taking,” Stephens said.

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