Patrick Valdez announced Thursday (Dec. 3) that he is stepping down as chancellor of University of New Mexico-Taos, effective Dec.31.
The search for his replacement will begin immediately, with a search committee chaired by James Malm, chancellor of University of New Mexico-Gallup. Cindy Rooney will serve as interim chancellor of UNM-Taos, and will also continue in her current role as chancellor of University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.
Beginning the first of next year, Valdez will assume the role of vice president for program strategy at 2U, a tech-based educational service provider based in Maryland.
Valdez, who arrived at UNM-Taos in July of 2017, aimed to create a new, student-centered ethos on campus. He said that having such a dynamic in place made the transition to online education much easier in the era of COVID-19.
“Not only did we pivot our courses, but we also pivoted all of our student support services,” said Valdez.
When asked what he was most proud of accomplishing during his tenure as chancellor, Valdez pointed to the soon-to-be-opened Pathways building. The facility will open doors to high school students and adults, and offer multiple paths for professional and academic advancement. It will also house the library and career center.
“Students enter, they go through, and they exit into the workforce, or transfer to a four-year program somewhere,” said Valdez. “That’s the idea of that pathway.”