UNM dean pushes for education ‘pipeline’
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.