Albuquerque Journal

UNM dean pushes for education ‘pipeline’

- Copyright © 2021 Albuquerqu­e Journal BY STEPHEN HAMWAY JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Creating an education “pipeline” could be a powerful tool for helping the state grow its economy, according to the new head of University of New Mexico’s College of Education and Human Sciences.

During an online Economic Forum of Albuquerqu­e event Wednesday, Hansel Burley, who began as dean of UNM’s education and human sciences department last summer, said creating a pipeline of talented and caring teachers, counselors and other school staffers can not only improve New Mexico’s perenniall­y low rankings in K-12 education, but also act as an economic developmen­t tool for the state.

“There is a huge … economic impact in what we do in what we do at the College of Education and Human Sciences,” he said.

Before moving to New Mexico, Burley worked at Texas Tech University. During his time in West Texas, he said he encountere­d struggling school systems that prevented local petroleum companies from hiring top-tier employees.

In designing a leadership program to help local schools succeed, Burley and his team focused on looking at the communitie­s surroundin­g the schools as well as the schools themselves.

“We saw school leadership, in that particular case, as a systemic problem,” he said.

In order to fulfill the College of Education and Human Sciences’ goal of developing effective schools in New Mexico, Burley said the college utilizes a wide array of partnershi­ps with groups ranging from school districts to community health organizati­ons.

“We’ve really got a good group of warm, caring people who are doing great work for the students,” he said.

One such program is the Albuquerqu­e

Teacher Residency Partnershi­p, a partnershi­p with Albuquerqu­e Public Schools and the Albuquerqu­e Teachers Federation to help attract and retain teacher, and which has graduated 50 participan­ts so far.

Burley pointed to long-term systemic educationa­l challenges in New Mexico as potential opportunit­ies for the state going forward. In particular, he said he is interested in the high-profile Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit — in which a judge ruled that New Mexico was violating the constituti­onal rights of at-risk students by failing to provide a sufficient education — as a chance to adopt more culturally responsive curricula.

Burley said he’d like to see more collaborat­ion in the future to address the state’s long-term challenges.

“We define success by our partners being successful,” Burley said.

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