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College of Health and Social Services Dean Tilahun Adera departs NMSU

After five years as the New Mexico State University College of Health and Social Services dean, Tilahun Adera bids farewell to Las Cruces later this month. Adera has accepted a position as vice president for academic affairs/provost at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

Man sits at a on a char in front of a window.
Tilahun Adera, New Mexico State University College of Health and Social Services dean, is departing NMSU following a five-year tenure. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

?Dr. Adera has done an outstanding job in serving New Mexico State University,? said NMSU President Garrey Carruthers. ?In particular, I?m impressed with the collegial nature with which he approached this job and I?m happy to call him a friend. I wish him Godspeed in his endeavor.?

Adera arrived in Las Cruces in 2009, and he guided the rapidly growing college that includes the
Department of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Social Work. In 2010, the college added a two-story annex to the Health and Social Services building. Adera was responsible for hiring many of the key appointments in the college such as department heads, directors, associate deans and many faculty positions.

?My tenure at NMSU was very educational for me personally,? Adera said. ?When I look at these highly skilled professionals on our team, I think I was blessed beyond measure to have these professionals who came to this college and made this college go forward.?

In his stint at NMSU, Adera said he was proud that the direction of the college incorporated a stronger emphasis on research.

?Whether it was a department head or faculty member, if they were interested in coming here just to teach, we did not select them,? Adera said. ?Teaching is great but so is research, you have to have both.

?Across this country now, undergraduate research is something that is expected,? he said. ?Students who have conducted research in their undergraduate education have a leg up in getting a better job than those who didn?t, so it?s not just for graduate students.?

Another accomplishment for the college under Adera?s leadership was the establishment of the doctor of nursing practice degree program, and he said he hopes the college continues to add doctoral degrees.

?We are heading towards a strong research program and one way to strengthen the research program is to have doctoral degree programs,? Adera said. ?When you have students doing doctoral degrees they have to do research, the faculty have to work with the students to do research and the output in research into publications and into grant writing elevates the status of the college across the country.?

Adera, who is originally from Ethiopia, said the people at NMSU are what he will miss the most.

?In the culture where I grew up, people are important and we take time for people and we relate to each other. In relating you will be able to build confidence and build trust and get the work done faster. In New Mexico and Las Cruces, the people I have met here gave me the sense that people are important.?

Adera?s final day at NMSU will be July 17.