Barbara Damron


New Mexico Higher Education Department

Barbara Damron


New Mexico Higher Education Department

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Barbara Damron brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the department. She has over 30 years of experience as an executive, healthcare provider, scientist, and educator with a focus on policy and healthcare. Dr. Damron is the recipient of over 25 state, national, and international awards for her professional accomplishments.

Dr. Damron received a BSN from Union College, a MSN from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Most recently she has served as an associate professor at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing, with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nursing and Health Policy Collaboration doctoral program. She also served as an associate professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center School of Medicine. Additionally, she developed and directed the University of New Mexico Cancer Center’s Office of Community Partnerships and Cancer Health Disparities. Her research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and multiple state and national foundations.

Dr. Damron has served on and worked with numerous academic boards and organizations throughout her lengthy career. She also worked as professional staff for the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in Washington, D.C.

Governor Susana Martinez is working to build a more dynamic, thriving and diverse economy in New Mexico. Dr. Damron is working to implement Governor Martinez’s vision of creating a more cohesive higher education system. She will ensure that New Mexico’s Higher Education Department will continue to be a pillar of excellence through helping higher education institutions produce the skilled and capable workforce our state needs.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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