LAS VEGAS, NM ― New Mexico Governor-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed the dean of the New Mexico Highlands University Facundo Valdez School of Social Work to her government transition team.
Cristina Durán will serve on the transition team for New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
“My focus on this team will include training and preparation of social workers in child welfare as well as supervision and licensure among social workers within CYFD,” Durán said. “We are thrilled to have Highlands and the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work represented at this level of state government, especially as it pertains to the well-being of young people and families in New Mexico.”
According to a Dec. 1 news release from Lujan Grisham, the Children, Youth and Family Department Transition Team is among a number of teams that will be responsible for providing the governor-elect with reviews of state government agency’s as part of the gubernatorial transition process.
“The transition teams will engage with key stakeholders and current government agency personnel and provide detailed strategic recommendations on improving state government operations to Governor-elect Lujan Grisham,” the Lujan Grisham news release said.
“I think it speaks well of our university and our social work program that we’ve been asked to weigh in on how improvements can be made at Children, Youth and Families Department,” Durán said. “It’s both an honor and opportunity to be selected to serve on a team that will assist the governor in shaping her priorities that will result in meeting the needs of the people of New Mexico.”
Highlands named Durán dean of the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work in January 2017. She served as the school’s interim associate dean since July 2014.
Duran began her work with the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work in 1991 as a field consultant. In 1996, Durán became a field coordinator then, in 2006, became an assistant professor. The school promoted her to associate professor in 2011, a p0sition she held until becoming interim associate dean.
Durán earned a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Social Welfare degree from UCLA.
Highlands offers Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees at its main campus in Las Vegas and centers in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and Farmington, as well as its Roswell site.