Kimberly Blea

Small Colleges and Universities Division Director-Elect

Dean of Students, New Mexico Highlands University
Small Colleges and Universities Division Director-Elect

Kimberly J. Blea, Ed.D, is the Dean of Students (SSAO) at New Mexico Highlands University, a regional public comprehensive Hispanic-serving institution. Blea has worked in academic and student affairs throughout her higher education experience, and most notably developed NMHU’s advocacy program (CARES) from inception after being funded through the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Campus Grant in 2009. Currently, she oversees housing and student conduct, the center for professional development and career readiness, CARES, student relations, outdoor recreation, campus radio station, Ilfeld Auditorium, student union, natatorium, fitness center, compliance/Title IX, student medical and behavioral health services, food service operations, and the campus bookstore. Blea has additional experience in administering federal, state, and private grants in which the focus has been on prevention education and service to vulnerable populations. 

Dr. Blea has a long-standing commitment to social justice and making the lives of students better by working to make systems, policies, and programs more equitable. She is committed to the belief of “living to serve” and is extremely dedicated to increasing the overall health of the community and state in which she lives in. Blea currently serves on the boards of Kids Counseling and the New Mexico Public Health Association, on 100% Community San Miguel County, the San Miguel County DWI Council, the San Miguel County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the Mora San Miguel Guadalupe Local Behavioral Health Collaborative, and the Las Vegas Community Police Partnership Commission. 

Dr. Blea earned a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Public Affairs from Highlands, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation research focused on the experiences of senior student affairs officers at small colleges and universities as they implemented federal campus safety mandates. Dr. Blea is wife to Rico and mother to Alma and Rico Jr.