Deputy Director, New Mexico Highlands University

Las Vegas, NM

Position Title: Deputy Director

Organization: New Mexico Highlands University

Location: Las Vegas, NM

Organization Overview: The mission of the New Mexico Forest & Watershed Restoration Institute (FWRI) is to promote practices that advance adaptive management, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve ecosystem function. The Deputy Director will oversee a staff with expertise in monitoring, geospatial information systems, collaboration, operations, outreach and ecological restoration. The FWRI is one of three Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes (SWERI), with partner institutes in Arizona and Colorado, and collaborates in the Forest Restoration Triangle (FORT) with the NMHU Forestry Department, the only SAF-accredited forestry department in New Mexico, and with the New Mexico State University John T. Harrington Lab in Mora, NM.

The FWRI is located on the campus of Highlands University in historic Las Vegas, NM. Highlands University, a Hispanic Serving Institution, offers a comprehensive education to a diverse student body, and Highlands faculty are actively involved in research, service and outreach. Las Vegas is located at the foot of the picturesque Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and offers small-town charm, a healthy environment and abundant year-round outdoor recreation opportunities in nearby national forests, state parks, and wildlife refuges. Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, is an easy 60-minute drive to the west, and Taos and Albuquerque can be reached in less than two hours.

Position Overview: The FWRI seeks an integral member of a growing team working towards wildfire resilience, post-fire restoration, and watershed conservation. We welcome candidates who can work collaboratively with a dynamic team in applied research and community engagement. Through shared leadership, the deputy director will guide multi-faceted programs in GIS, monitoring, collaboration, education, and public information. This new position within FWRI will require experience in forest management and restoration, science communication, public and working lands engagement, and institutional development, administration, and capacity building. Responsibilities will run the gamut from cultivating and strengthening existing and new partnerships, direct engagement with federal and state collaborators and community organizations, representing and advocating for FWRI’s interests, budgets and function, and organizational administration of budgets, reports, and processes.


  • Guiding a team of managers and coordinators to administer programs and projects in forest restoration and related fields applying a shared leadership model
  • Supervising a growing staff of dedicated and committed professionals working in forest and watershed restoration
  • Writing reports on forest restoration topics, data collected by staff, and administrative activities
  • Developing and advancing partnerships with federal, state, Tribal and local land management agencies and other stakeholders that expand landscape-scale restoration and fuel reduction treatments in forests and woodlands
  • Advocating for forest restoration and adaptive ecological management in New Mexico and the Southwest
  • Engaging in applied research on collaborative natural resource management and watershed restoration, and reporting on research at conferences and in publications
  • Meeting with legislators and administrators to coordinate the activities of the Institute and to advocate for forest and watershed restoration
  • Working with staff, the FWRI Director and partners to develop work plans, budgets and annual reports
  • Acquiring funding to support FWRI operations, projects, research and outreach
  • Filling in for the FWRI Director when necessary
  • Performing additional duties as assigned by the FWRI Director

Minimum Requirements:

  • Education: A master’s degree in environmental planning, public administration, forest management, natural resource policy, environmental design, community development, or a closely related field
  • Experience: Five (5) years’ experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities described above

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Education: A Ph.D. in a field related to planning, administration, development, policy, design, or a closely related field
  • Experience: Targeted training and/or experience related to the duties and responsibilities listed above
  • Experience: Project management and budgeting
  • Experience: Applied research on human/social dimensions of adaptive ecological management and restoration, reported in documents, publications and public presentations
  • Must possess and maintain a valid New Mexico Driver’s License. Selection of an out-of-state candidate will require possession of a valid New Mexico Driver’s License within sixty (60) days of employment
  • Must be willing to occasionally work weekends, evenings, and odd hours, as required
  • Must be willing to travel, at times to remote locations
  • Continued employment is contingent on grant funding
  • NMHU has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine requirement for students and employees. For detained information, visit Coronavirus(Covid-19) Information- New Mexico Highlands University.
  • Knowledge of collaborative forest and watershed restoration and adaptive ecosystem management
  • Knowledge of and experience with funding sources for forest and watershed restoration
  • Skilled at planning and conducting applied research and data management and at preparing reports
  • Skilled at project management and budgeting
  • Skilled at organizational planning, including working with partners to conduct needs assessments, conceptualizing planning themes and projects, coordinating with staff to develop plans for individual programs, and overseeing implementation of plans
  • Ability to work productively with diverse stakeholders representing varied interests
  • Ability to form and sustain partnerships and professional relationships with land owners, managers and stakeholders
  • Ability to write technical and educational reports for internal and external publication
  • Knowledge of the Spanish language and ability to speak and write Spanish is a plus, though not required
  • Knowledge, familiarity and experience in New Mexico
  • Knowledge and skill with geospatial information systems (GIS) is desirable
  • Ability to work productively, professionally and collegially with a diverse set of colleagues representing an array of disciplines

Physical Demands:

• Sitting: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frequently
• Standing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frequently
• Walking:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frequently
• Bending:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Occasionally
• Squatting:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Occasionally
• Climbing:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Occasionally
• Kneeling:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Occasionally
• Lifting up to 20 pounds:. . . . . . . . . . . . . Occasionally
• Lifting greater than 20 pounds:. . . . . . . Seldom

Salary/Pay: $70,000 – $95,000 Depending on qualifications/experience

Application Deadline: Accepted until filled.

How to Apply: Applicants must submit 1) a letter of interest, detailing compliance with minimum and preferred job requirements and describing work experience and suitability for this position; 2) a CV or resume; 3) the names and contact information for three (3) professional references; 4) unofficial transcripts for all higher education completed or in progress. In addition, applicants must complete the NMHU Employment Application.

Candidates who are invited for interviews will be required to submit official transcripts. References will be contacted in conjunction with interviews.

To apply, go to University Portal and click on the “Staff” link, then on the link for Deputy Director. Submit all materials through this website.

Please use the online application to view the full job description as well as how to apply.