8 Questions – May 2014

8 QUESTIONS FOR JEANNIE BACA: DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS FOR UNM-GALLUP

By Fowler Roberts

Gallup Journey Jeannie BacaQ. What got you interested in working for UNM-Gallup?
A. My passion is working with community college populations but I also wanted to work at a university setting, like we have here at UNM-Gallup.

Q. What is your professional background prior to coming to Gallup?
A. I have worked in Student Services as well as Academic Affairs as Associate Dean for Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, so I have over 16 years combined in both of these areas.  In addition, I worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the American Indian Graduate Center to promote the Gates Millennium Scholarship program where I worked with Native people across the country.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I am privileged to help people pursue higher education and to help provide them with the resources and the skills they need to improve their lives and to improve their community.

Q. What is your current top priority?
A. Right now, my top priority is ensuring that UNM-Gallup is providing exceptional customer service to our community and promoting the excellent academic programs and courses we have available.

Q. What has surprised you most about UNM-Gallup that you did not expect?
A. What surprised me most is that we probably could take advantage of more opportunities to offer courses to our community and the biggest surprise to me is that we don’t have a weekend program.  I would like to look at collaborating with faculty to offer some opportunities to evening and weekend students. We have great facilities here and I would like to see our facilities utilized much more than they currently are.

Q. What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
A. Right now, I don’t have a lot of off time.  I am pursing a doctorate so I am doing a lot of reading, writing and research. But when I am not doing that, I enjoy, of course, spending time with my family, I love watching old movies and listening to classical music.  I also enjoy live theater.

Q. What is your favorite book and why?
A. Most recently I think one book that stands out is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  She is the CEO of Facebook.  It does encourage women to literally lean in and sit at the table, which basically means contributing to thoughtful decision making in their professional lives, and all aspects of their life, but it primarily focuses on professional aspects.

Q. If you could trade places with one famous person, either living or dead, who would it be and why?
A. Let me see, there’s a lot of folks I would like to trade places with. When I was very, very young in high school, I remember I really admired the work Susan B. Anthony did.  She was an educator. She was an activist.  She campaigned for the rights of women to vote and own property. I think it would be interesting to trade places with her to understand what she went through and the struggles that she had to endure to help women to advance.

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