NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Donna Wagner named interim dean of NMSU College of Health and Social Services

Donna L. Wagner has been named interim dean of the New Mexico State University College of Health and Social Services. Wagner fills the void left by Tilahun Adera, who accepted a university leadership position at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. Her appointment begins Aug. 1.

Woman talking on a phone in her office.
Effective Aug. 1, Donna L. Wagner is the interim dean of the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

?Dr. Wagner is a highly respected researcher and administrator who has been Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Health and Social Services since January of 2011,? said Daniel J. Howard, NMSU executive vice president and provost.

?During her tenure as associate dean, the college has developed new programs, hosted three highly successful accreditation visits, and written and finalized tenure and promotion policies,? he said. ?Dr. Wagner would be the first to point out that all of these accomplishments were due to the combined efforts of many people; nevertheless, they demonstrate her ability to work with a myriad of colleagues to advance the college. This ability will serve her and the college well over the course of the next year, while a search for a permanent dean takes place.?

Along with administrative responsibilities as associate dean, Wagner teaches courses and conducts research. She is one of the country?s leading experts in the field of eldercare.

?I will be focusing my work to three areas: community engagement and outreach, working with our department chairs and advisers to increase graduation and retention rates and, with the support of our faculty, increasing our international collaborative work with a particular focus on the border region,? Wagner said.

Wagner came to NMSU from Towson University in Towson, Maryland, where she was a tenured professor of gerontology and health science. She was the founding director of the university?s gerontology program. She received her Ph.D. in urban affairs from Portland State University.

As interim dean, Wagner said her priorities would be to help the college meet the needs of the community and improve the quality of life in New Mexico.

?I trust that the CHSS faculty and staff will support these efforts and, as a team, we will become more visible to the community, more engaged in collaborative work within the college, externally and with our colleagues around campus,? Wagner said.

?We are very pleased to see Dr. Wagner step into the dean?s position as we think she will help us move this college forward in important and strategic ways,? said Teresa Keller, associate professor, assistant dean and associate director of the School of Nursing. ?She has been a major supporter of the School of Nursing and we expect to continue to benefit from her direction and leadership.?

Keller will serve as the interim associate dean for academic affairs.

A search committee will be created to find candidates for the college?s next dean.