Faces of CNM: Carol Ash

As a new dean and African American leader on campus, Carol wants to help ensure CNM continues to be a cutting-edge institution and strong community partner
February 13, 2020

Carol Ash is a ball of unstoppable positive energy. She likes to get things done. That’s why she was recently promoted to dean of CNM’s School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety, and it’s why that school will continue to find new and smart ways to serve students.

“I like being able to see results,” she says. “I know that students who come to CNM, and through HWPS, have the opportunity to change their lives and their families’ lives almost immediately.”

Carol’s drive comes in part from her previous career. She spent decades working as a television producer in cities including Chicago, Raleigh, and West Palm Beach. As a producer she was on deadline every day and knew how to find and tell engaging stories that served her viewership.

She transitioned to higher education—and community colleges in particular—because she wanted to continue to serve an audience, because it was a new challenge, and because, as a journalist, she knew first-hand the power of the career and technical field. 

Carol landed at CNM in 2016 where she served as an associate dean, interim dean, and as of January 2020, dean. She also holds a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from Benedictine University. She’s been asked many times if she’d ever leave a community college for a four-year institution but says she’s found her home.

“I know the education students are receiving at CNM is the difference between living and thriving, and I love being part of that,” she says.

One achievement Carol is particularly proud of is HWPS’s ability to respond effectively to educational needs. When New Mexico law enforcement officials told CNM they could use a partner like CNM in helping to train police cadets, HWPS was able to rapidly design and create the new Law Enforcement Academy that provides basic training for police cadets from across the region.

“It was really important to move quickly to fill that need for the community,” she says.

As an African American leader here at CNM, Carol has served as the Chair of the Black History Month Committee for the past four years, and she also sits on the college’s Equity Council, which is designed to address racial equity across the college.

“Our goal,” she says, “is to help everyone at CNM, including our leadership, see everything from hiring, to relationship building, to college policies through a more diversified lens.”

Going forward Carol only sees growth, both in diversity and for her department. She’s excited about the work of the Equity Council and has plans for how HWPS can educate and train even more students to fill the skilled workforce needs of the healthcare and public safety sectors. 

“If we find ways to serve more students, everyone including the larger community, benefits,” she says.