Wynn Goering has been serving as the special assistant for branch affairs in the office of UNM’s president for one year now.

But he might have to find his own assistant soon, as UNM appointed Goering as the new CEO of UNM West last month. Goering took office July 1.

Goering, 58, said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to manage another one of UNM’s branch campuses.

“I think it’s a really exciting opportunity,” he said. “We have nice buildings out there. We have some land and some room to expand, and we are in the middle of a rapidly growing community. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Originally from Kansas, Goering said he moved to Albuquerque 16 years ago to pursue his master’s of business administration at UNM. He said that after finishing his degree, he became an instructor at the Anderson School of Management, and was later appointed as the interim director of UNM’s campus in Taos.

Goering said as UNM West’s new leader, he plans to focus on the development of academic programs at the branch. He said he would work to have more core courses offered at UNM West without taking away students from the main campus.

“The whole point is to make institutions have what students want,” he said. “Students attend schools not because of who’s president or who’s CEO, but because of the programs they offer and where they think it could take them in life.”

Goering said that UNM West has about 650 students attending classes. He said he plans to increase this number to about 4,000 in three years by adding more student services such as libraries, advisement programs and academic support services.

Goering said he aims to improve student success at UNM West.

“I want to be a full-pledged partner to UNM’s mission to produce more graduates,” he said. “That’s clearly the state’s and UNM’s priority right now.”

Goering said he is optimistic about his goals for UNM West.

“We wouldn’t be in Rio Rancho if the purpose wasn’t to do a better job of serving that rapidly growing city,” he said. “As a physical facility, UNM West is very attractive now. But the question entirely is what it has to offer.”

Although Goering’s schedule is getting busier, he said he will try hard to balance his job at the main campus and at UNM West.

“Everybody just has a certain number of hours in a day,” he said. “You try to develop and pay attention to your priorities.”