New Dean Talks About Her Vision for BIT

Donna Diller, currently the associate dean for the School of Business & Information Technology (BIT), will become the new dean for the School of Business & Information Technology (BIT) on Jan. 2. She recently took some time to talk about her vision for BIT and some of the bigger challenges BIT faces in the years ahead.

Jul 17, 2015

December 2012

Diller began her career at CNM in 2006 as director of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs in BIT. Since then, she has served as a full-time faculty member, director of Instruction, program coordinator, grant manager and associate dean overseeing Accounting, Business Administration, Hospitality & Tourism, Culinary Arts, Project Management and Financial Literacy.

Diller earned her bachelor's degree in Organizational Management from Concordia University and her master's degree in Educational Leadership from New Mexico State University.

What is your vision for BIT in the next few years?
"I expect BIT to continue its strong tradition of providing quality educational opportunities in the areas of business and information technology. I look forward to collaborating with our community partners and faculty to explore new programs and innovative initiatives. Maintaining a supportive and welcoming environment for our students, staff and faculty will continue to be a priority."

What do you like about being at CNM?
"I love being at CNM. Every day I have the privilege to work for an institution that helps students achieve dreams for themselves and their families. Faculty, staff and students at CNM are dedicated and caring. The accessibility, diversity of students coming from many walks of life, small class sizes and the real world expertise of our faculty are just a few of the reasons this is such a great place to work."

What are some of the things about being dean of BIT that get you excited?
"I'm excited that I have the opportunity to continue working with the great faculty, staff and students in BIT, as well as everybody across the college. There are also some exciting initiatives occurring in the next year. Our new Culinary Arts labs will be open in fall 2013, allowing for greater capacity and program expansion. Our Computer Information Systems program is adding a concentration in "Cloud Computing." The Making Money Work program, which teaches high school students financial literacy in a dual credit format, is growing and becoming a national model. I look forward to continued collaboration with our faculty, community members and K-20 partners as we explore and develop new career pathways and educational opportunities for students."

What do you think are some of the bigger challenges that BIT will need to address in the coming years?
"Many of the challenges we will have to address in BIT are the same challenges seen across the nation. Budgets for higher education have been reduced across the country and in New Mexico. However, we still have to make sure that we provide relevant curriculum and programs that meet industry standards, even with fewer resources. Being on the cutting edge of innovation and technology can require additional resources, so we may have to seek additional funding sources through grants or other initiatives. As a nation, we are not producing enough graduates for jobs that are available. What that means for BIT is that we need make sure we have programs to fill those identified needs. Programs and degrees need to be developed and scheduled in ways that meet the needs of students. This may mean looking at accelerated degrees or degree completion cohorts that do not meet in a traditional scheduling model. Our learning environments also need to be ready for the students that are coming to us. More and more of the students that are going to be coming to CNM will be digital natives – students who were born during or after the digital age. While these can be viewed as challenges, I really see them as opportunities. Sometimes it's through challenges that we grow and develop the most."

President Winograd has set a goal of producing 4,616 associate degrees per year, which is about double the amount CNM produced last year. How do you think CNM can help more students graduate in a faster rate of time?
"Many of our students are part-time, and many work and have families. We need to have a clear path identified for students to reach their educational goals. We must also provide guidance along the way and make sure courses are available in a manner conducive to their needs. Some students may require additional support to reach their goal of graduation. As I mentioned earlier, creating alternative, non-traditional scheduling models may also help students complete their degrees more quickly."

What is the coolest thing about working in BIT?
"The great people I get to work with each and every day. We also have some of the most exciting and diverse programs at the college. From baking to computer networking, we provide all the skills necessary for a student wanting to embark on a career in business or technology."

Anything else you'd like to add?
"I am truly honored to have been selected as dean of BIT. As a non-traditional student myself, I understand the importance of making sure that education is accessible for our students. When I talk to students on the first day of class, I always congratulate them on being here. Being here is a great first step in trying to make a difference in their lives. Encouraging students to become life-long learners is one of the greatest gifts we can give. I look forward to working with CNM's staff and faculty in helping students succeed and achieve their dreams."