After a month-long internal search, UNM President Robert Frank’s office has found a new chief of staff.
Frank appointed Amy Wohlert to the position on March 12.
Wohlert, who holds a doctorate in speech-language pathology from Northwestern University, has held various positions at UNM, including vice provost and dean of graduate studies, interim dean for Anderson School of Management and associate provost for Academic Affairs, according to a news release.
Wohlert will replace Dorothy Rodriguez, who resigned in early February for “personal reasons,” according to a past article by the Daily Lobo.
Six candidates were considered for the position during the Office of the President’s internal search among UNM faculty members, according to documents obtained by the Daily Lobo through an Inspection of Public Records Act request.
The other five candidates were Ronald Aldrich, Steven Block, Keith Haynie, Victor Strasburger and Douglas Thomas.
The Daily Lobo submitted an IPRA request during the search process, but was unable to obtain the applications until after the search was closed because of UNM policy.
UNM Policy 3210 states the University should withhold from public inspection application materials until the closing date in order to “protect the integrity of the search process.”
During his search, Frank said, he was looking for a candidate who understood how the University operated, had senior university leadership experience and possessed interpersonal skills and a calm demeanor. He said he had informal conversations with various faculty and staff members to help him decide on the most suitable candidate.
“When I asked people informally who meets all those criteria, Amy’s name came up frequently,” he said.
One of Wohlert’s biggest new responsibilities will be to help ensure the University stays on track with its strategic plan, UNM 2020, Frank said.
“As the chief of staff, her job is to make sure that every day we are living and breathing that strategic plan,” he said.
The UNM 2020 strategic plan is a set of goals established by the Office of the President and other University representatives, and adopted in May 2013 by the UNM Board of Regents, that aims to ensure that University objectives and strategies stay in line with the interests of the UNM community, according to the UNM 2020 website.
Wohlert said Frank had a lot of influence on her decision to apply for chief of staff.
“I’ve watched lots of presidents work here over time, and I feel like we’re at a moment when we have real clarity and leadership about how we can move forward as a University,” she said. “I consider it a privilege to be a part of that team.”
Wohlert said one of her strong suits is her familiarity with UNM’s faculty and staff.
“I’ve worked with lots of staff groups as well as faculty, so I know how people interact at the University,” she said.
Despite the job’s demanding workload, Wohlert said she plans to maintain the position for as long as she can.
“It is the final phase of my career, but it is one that I hope goes on for quite some time,” she said.