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NMSU names new dean for Honors College

New Mexico State University has selected Miriam Chaiken, a distinguished achievement professor and academic department head of the NMSU Anthropology Department, as the next dean of its Honors College.

Office portrait of Miriam Chaiken
Anthropology distinguished professor and academic department head Miriam Chaiken has been named dean of New Mexico State University?s Honors College. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

?Dr. Chaiken is a distinguished scholar with a stellar record as a teacher and department head,? said Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard. ?She stood out in a wonderfully accomplished field of candidates because of her experience, vision and energy. I have great confidence that she will take the strong foundation established by outgoing Dean William Eamon and continue to expand the offerings, accessibility and mission of the Honors College.?

Eamon, who has served as the college?s dean since its establishment in 2004 and as director of its precursor, the Honors Program, since 1995, will retire at the end of this month.

Chaiken is a nutritional anthropologist who has combined professional activities in academia with research and consulting in international development. She builds on more than a decade of field research in Southeast Asia and Africa in which she has focused on issues including voluntary and involuntary resettlement, agricultural development, gender equity, poverty reduction, and design of culturally sensitive health care systems.

Her recent work has examined means to incorporate participatory perspectives in planning emergency humanitarian response, and programs in nutrition, and maternal and child health in the age of chronic hunger and HIV/AIDS.

Chaiken earned her bachelor?s degree from Arizona State University and her master?s degree and Ph.D. from University of California in Santa Barbara. She came to NMSU in 2009 after more than 20 years teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

?I have really enjoyed my five and a half years here at NMSU, working with great colleagues in my home department of Anthropology and in the College of Arts and Sciences,? Chaiken said. ?As dean of the Honors College, I look forward to collaborating with faculty across campus and working with students in a wide variety of disciplines.

?I view the Honors College as a wonderful resource for students and a real gem within our broader institution, and I?m very excited to build on the record of excellence that was fostered through Bill Eamon?s leadership,? she said.

Chaiken will take over as dean on Aug. 1. Her salary will be $150,000.