Paul Allen Named New Dean Of Instruction And Professor Of History At UNM-LA

Paul Allen has joined UNM-LA as Dean of Instruction and Professor of History. Photo by Sarah Jimenez/UNM-LA


The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) welcomed Dr. Paul Allen as the new Dean of Instruction and Professor of History on June 1, 2021. 

Along with several noteworthy contributions, Dr. Allen brings with him more than 13 years of college administrative experience, a deep understanding of pedagogy, and an expert knowledge in Spanish History and interdisciplinary studies. Among many other duties, he will be responsible for leadership and administration of the instructional programs and approximately 70 faculty within UNM-LA. 

When asked what motivated him to move to New Mexico, Dr. Allen shared: “I am delighted to be joining UNM-Los Alamos and the Los Alamos community as New Mexico begins to fully reopen its doors! As we see a long-awaited rebound in community engagement, job creation, and desire for educational opportunities, I’m very much looking forward to helping UNM-LA and its wonderful, extraordinarily dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators to meet the education and training needs of our community’s students, employers, and members. I was attracted here by the area’s natural beauty as many are, but more specifically by the opportunity to join and work within a close-knit, generous, cooperative community that historically and at its heart remains dedicated to research and education and providing opportunities for its members in a wide range of workforce occupations. I’ve been intrigued by the Secret City ever since watching Sam Waterston’s 1980 portrayal of Robert Oppenheimer helping to build it, and I couldn’t be more thrilled now to be walking where the giants of that generation trod and to be part of the area’s dynamic future.” 

UNM-LA Chancellor, Dr. Cindy Rooney noted, “We are very pleased to bring Paul on board as our next Dean of Instruction. After a national search, we found someone who has a strong understanding of higher education issues and is committed to building collaborative relationships between faculty, students, and the community.” 

Allen was born in England but moved to New Mexico at the age of three months, so in a sense he could be considered a native of the state. He has lived all over the US and in Spain and served in the 101st Airborne Division, before earning a BA in English from the University of Buffalo, and then a PhD from Yale University in European History with a focus on Imperial Spain. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Utah, Weber State University, and Salt Lake Community College. Over the course of his teaching career, he published a book on Spanish history that was translated into Spanish and edited a textbook on the Humanities.   

For the past 13 years he has held progressively more responsible administrative positions, first at Salt Lake Community College where he was Associate Dean of Humanities & Languages, Associate Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and did two stints as Interim Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, then at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada where he was Dean of Liberal Arts. Many of his efforts as an administrator have been devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, such as coordinating the development of an Ethnic Studies Program and developing a recruiting program for diverse faculty.  

His interests include pedagogy and curriculum design, philosophy and comparative religion, and the intersection of science and the humanities. He has two daughters, one grandson, and a German Shepherd and when not working is usually hiking, camping, or road-tripping.  

UNM-LA is an innovative, rigorous, and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities. UNM-LA has an open admission policy that permits entry to all interested students. Small class sizes allow students a personalized educational experience. Student Success Associates work closely with students to provide advisement in academics and career counseling. The faculty are highly qualified; a majority are working professionals in the fields they teach. UNM-LA has strong ties to the Los Alamos community and LANL and is committed to creating educational and professional opportunities that benefit both students and local employers. In addition to the new BSME partnership, UNM-LA offers 27 degrees and certificate programs.