Assistant Dean Ann Miller leaving UWS; Interview

Manuel Rodriguez
Ann Miller in her office

Who is Ann Miller? I’m not talking about The Hollywood singer and dancer from the 40’s. I mean our Ann Miller. Ann is the Assistant Dean of students of UWS—at least for a few more weeks. Ann is in charge of delivering services to students focusing in activities that boost their academic and personal development. She is not just doing this part of the job, “Ann works with a number of student programs (Leadership Program & Certificate, Student Government, Student Ambassadors, Volunteerism, Alternative Spring Break, and Yellowjacket Union) along with her work in assessment, CAS Standards implementation, and professional development for Campus Life. Her favorite thing about working at UW-Superior is helping student make college the experience they want it to be!” uwsuper.edu. As mentioned, we will just have Ann’s services for a few more weeks. As sad as it sound, she is leaving this position at UWS. The Stinger went to visit Ann to get some information about her experience helping students at UWS since 2007.

What was your entry position?

“I started at UW-Superior in the summer of 2007. My first position was Student Leadership Coordinator, a new position at the institution at that time.”

Do you have some interesting memories from that first year?

“Three memories from that first academic year stick out in my mind. First, I was mistaken for a student a lot; that was the year I learned the power of a name-tag  Second, lots of staff thought I was crazy when I moved a student workstation into my office. I do this work to help students. Why would I not want them working in my space? Third, that was the first year I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip, not only was it rewarding work, but getting to know 10 students over 8 days of living and working together was scary and awesome all at once. ASB (Alternative Spring Break) continues to be one of my favorite parts of my job.”


If you have to choose a remarkable experience as an Assistant Dean of Students what would that be?

“One of the best additions to my job when I became Assistant Dean is at commencement. During the graduation ceremony, I am the person who tells graduates when to go on stage. It is a very powerful experience to help each UW-Superior graduate walk across that platform. I have interacted with most of them throughout their career, even if it was as simple as answering a question at the YU Desk, or as deeply as working with them daily, and graduation is such a perfect culmination of those relationships. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t be chocked up a time or two during it as well.”

What are you taking with you from this experience?

“One of the best lessons I have learned during the last 2 years as Assistant Dean is that generally everyone on campus has the students’ best interests at heart. We just approach things from our different lenses of experience and perspective and that isn’t bad. I am also going to take away a powerful practice I have learned from Vicki Hajewski, Vice Chancellor for Campus Life/Dean of Students. Students notice when we show up and they notice when we don’t. Going to athletic events, theatre productions, intramural games, student organization events and senior capstone presentations is important. Those are the places you see students doing what they love, exploring their passions and it is how they get to know us too.”

Why did you decided to leave the position?

“I have done what I can here and it is time for a new adventure. I am moving on as Associate Dean of Students at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a campus about double the size of UWS with a mission I can really get behind. I think Drake is a place where I will be able to have a positive impact on the students and campus community.”

What should we expect from the new Assistant Dean of Student? 

“Currently, the plan is to leave the position open. Unfortunately that means some of the programming and administrative things I am in charge of are going to be put on pause for awhile. Enrollment and retention are challenges at UW-Superior and with those challenges come budget implications and one way to help the Yellowjacket Union budget right now is to hold the position vacant.”

Any last thoughts? or something you would like to say to the students you helped through all this time?

“I would like to thank the students at UW-Superior for helping shape the person I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am personally or professionally without them. I also have some phrases I would like students to remember even after I’m done at UWS: Because we have always done it isn’t a good enough reason; sometimes leaders have to do things they don’t want to do; failure is an option as long as you learn from it; and everything is a learning opportunity.”

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