LIFE Calendar

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Leading Innovation For Education

1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Services Division of Student Affairs

LIFE is a partnership with the University of New Mexico's Human Resources Employee Organization and Development Division.

LIFE 2015 Cohort

Leading Innovation For Education (LIFE) Graduates Its First Cohort

Credit:  Dorene DiNaro, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

The UNM Leading Innovation for Education (LIFE) pilot program was launched in 2014 for Student Affairs directors to learn to use the WIRE Factor (Work Ethic, Integrity, Respect, and Education) in their daily roles. “The first cohort, was for Student Affairs directors and was geared at growing passionate, authentic, and articulate leaders who lead for a purpose and not a personal agenda,” says Tim Gutierrez, Associate Vice President for Student Services. The first cohort completed the pilot program this spring with positive feedback by participants, employers, and instructors. “It was from that initial model that we are able to cultivate a curriculum for the continuation entitled LIFE, the sequel,” Gutierrez says. 

LIFE “The Sequel” created for Student Affairs managers/supervisors in mid-level management positions whose goal is to advance their career in a higher education administrative role. The graduating class consisted of: Eric Boeglin, Recreational Services; Christina Chavez, Accessibility Resource Center; Mary Cianflone, STEM Collaborative; Michael Heim, High School Equivalency Program; Chris Luna, Upward Bound; Catherine Montoya, American Indian Student Services; and Ivan Olay, College Assistance Migrant Program.  

The program, which has received positive reviews from its graduates, offers a broad overview of leadership practices in action and is geared toward increasing understanding in how individuals can be more effective in a University leadership role. Topics include: how to lead from within a team, how to promote learning in students from all cultural backgrounds and learning needs, and how to empower others through understanding one’s own leadership style.

Graduates of the program have successfully completed their one-year commitment to the program, which includes 8-10 hours of class time per month and additional hours outside of the class spent reading, journaling, and completing a group Capstone project.

The consensus among graduates is that the program helped them solidify how they fit into the “big picture” of Student Affairs, while helping them create a more personal goal-oriented leadership style. Additionally, it gave them a broader perspective on issues that can affect decision-making within the Division, as well as expanding their leadership skills.

“The LIFE program enhanced my leadership skills by helping to reveal and clarify my values,” says Cianflone. “I understand myself more, my leadership strengths and weaknesses, and how I can balance them.”

The next LIFE program cohort will consist of 10-15 staff members, and applications are due by Friday, July 17. For more information on the program or to apply, please visit: How to Apply. You can also contact Jim Todd at

cohort group

Names from left to right: Mary, Catherine, Eric, Christin, Michael, Ivan, and Chris.

chris, may, and vp torres

Names from left to right: Chris, Mary, and VP Torres.

christine, catherine, eric, and vp torres

Names from left to right: Christin, Eric, VP Torres, and Catherine.

ivan, vp torres, michael

Names from left to right: Ivan, VP Torres, and Michael.


"Coming into this program, I wanted to do things different and innovate... I believed I achieved that."

"What I liked about the program is that it gave us tools to be better leaders such as the Leadership assessment and DISC profile."

"LIFE class helped me better understand the role of my values at work and helped me to clarify my priorities for the future."

"Through my participation in the LIFE program, there are a lot of new insights I learned throughout the course of the year." 

"I gained a better perspective on the Office of Student Affairs and UNM as a whole through the guest speakers, faculty, and my fellow classmates."

Video Blogs

Chris L: My Movie

Ivan O: LIFE Eval