Miller learns about the Southern community


Abby Epstein – News Writer

After accepting at job, a Yale Sarah Miller said she then heard about the Associate VP of Academic Affairs at Southern and did not want to pass up the opportunity.

“The fact that it is so student centered, and the fact is it committed to inclusion are really powerful for me,” said Miller, “I want to learn more about this community and what it’s like to work here.”

She said fundamentally believes in the transformative power of education and can bring her own experience of it to Southern.

“I’ve seen a lot of students experience it, students who have changed the trajectory of their lives and their families lives, so I’m excited to work with people and colleagues who are motivated to enable students to do that,” said Miller.

Social justice seemed to be the part of Southern’s mission statement that most excited Miller since she has never experienced another school, where social justice is at the center.

She would bring her experience of working in the New Haven Public School Systems to the social justice aspect of Southern.

“I would do my best to learn all the great stuff that is already happening and pair that with what I know about what’s needed in New Haven and the local area and then connect resources and opportunities where I could,” said Miller.

The Associates Vice President of Academic Affairs deals with much of the success of students. With Miller being trained as an engineer, she likes to look at things in numbers and data.

“I believe in higher education it is important to use data to help us understand what is working,” said Miller “What’s not working I think it is really important to look at what is happening in the classroom using numbers so we can understand patterns.”

No students showed up for the forum, but Miller believes in the success of students and figuring out all the possible ways to make sure students are successful.

Miller said she would want to make the adjustments or improvements in whatever areas they can be made.

“What are the classes causing problems for students and lets examine them to see why students aren’t passing,” said Miller. She said she would want to look at every possible angle to find solutions for student success.

Miller also worked behind the scenes within the department for transfer students, in figuring out why some pathways are harder than others and eliminating as many obstacles for them as possible.

“I would bring this experience I would want to look at the data and see if there any missed opportunities or any ways we can support these students even better.” Miller said, “There’s lots of problems in higher education, issues of access and affordability, graduating with debt and no degree, and those are problems I care a lot about.”

Photo Credit: Abby Epstein

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