Full Speech/Transcript of President Miller

I worked with a lot of the.

Multicultural Alliance groups to put on event.

Celebrations at the end of the year.

All right.

Thank you, Lydia. So President Miller is here. I’m going to invite her up to deliver some remarks to all of you to kick off this year, and then we will have a little bit of time when she’s done for some Q and A. So if there are questions that you come up with while President Miller is speaking that you would like to ask about, about the Direction Panel goals, whatever that might be, think about those things, and then I’ll walk around with a microphone for some of those questions when finished. President Miller, thanks for joining us.

Thank you. First, I want to begin by thanking you for stepping up and agreeing to be leaders on their campus. That’s really important to us. Is important to your colleagues, is important in so many ways. It’s not so important in terms of your future. That how you show up when opportunities are available, how you show up matters. And we can talk about what I mean, about how you show up. But I will tell you that some of my early beginnings as a leader in higher end was a result of the leadership opportunities that I took on early on. So I just wanted to get by thanking you and letting you know just how important what you have agreed to and what you’re doing is. I may be willing to take some questions, but I just want to begin to tell you a bit about what the overall goals are for the university. And the goals are pretty clear, but one, how many of you know that we have a comprehensive campaign going on and what that means? Okay, let me just tell you what a comprehensive campaign is. A comprehensive campaign means that we go out, all of us presidents, we have an advancement office, the vice president, all the leaders on the campus, and raise money for the university.

And the majority of the money that we raise for the university is for scholarship dollars. So when I talk about a comprehensive campaign, we’re out there trying to raise money so that we can have more money to give out to students. Right now, our goal for the comprehensive campaign is $110,000,000. That’s our goal. As of a couple of weeks ago, we had raised 95 million of that $110,000,000. So we’ve got some ways to go, but our internal that’s our external goal. Our internal goal is over 120,000,000, then that might sound like a lot of money, but it’s not. When you think about what we’re trying to do now, when I say we’re raising that now, do know that 110,000,000 does not go back out all at once. It goes into what we call the endowment. Some of that goes to what we call the endowment, and that’s the money that stays forever so long after we’re all gone. There’s money that funds Pamela University so that other students can come. So of that $110,000,000, we give out about four, 5% of that a year. That’s overall. So that’s our number one goal. And I will tell you, one of the things that I’ve been trying to get students to do from the first day I stepped on this campus is help me in raising money for the university.

Now, somebody said, Well, I’m paying tuition, I don’t have any money to get. How many of you go to Starbucks? Just one person. I know more of you go to Starbucks, you just want to dip it. I know more of you go to Starbucks, right? How many of you have a cell phone? One of those little fancy cell phones with all the three little picture things on the back. Now, I know more than two of you have cell phones. Why do you wind up telling me that you have cell phones and have the fancy cell phones? Show me your cell phone. I see one right there. Struck me back to your cell phone. Yes, she got those two little pictures. I only have one online, just so you know how old it is. Now, I say that because all of you have the ability to give to him. You might only have $5, but your $5 goes a long way. How many people in this room? Quite a few, right? Added those $5. So what I’m saying, you don’t have to give a lot of money to give to him to be a donor. So one of my goals is to increase the number of people who give money to Hamlin so that in years in the future, other people can sit in your seat and get a college education.

So that might seem like but others did the same thing so that you could be here. So that’s one of my goals for the year. It’s one to increase the number of donors to Hanley University and increase the amount of money that we raise so they can give more scholarship dollars. The other goal of mine, and we moved to a vet quite nicely, and that’s to be as inclusive of an institution as we can possibly be. That’s been a gold mine from the very beginning. But we have to be inclusive in more than just words, and we have to be inclusive in all the various ways in which we can be inclusive. We tend to think about inclusivity in only one way. I’m talking about across the various areas which can be inclusive. And I think Taylor University does a very good job of moving us in the direction of daily inclusive institution. I’m not going to talk about diversity. Diversity is one, but inclusive as well, and what all that means in an equitable institution. So we need to be equitable as well. So that’s another goal. The other goal, and this is a goal that you can play a major role in, but you can play a major role in it from Mason, too.

But here’s a goal as well. Actually, you can play a major role in all of these areas, now that I think about it, because you’re part of it. But another goal that we have is improving our retention rates. Improving our retention rate. That means the people who come here at Hamlin getting some support will be able to graduate. They stay and they graduate. So that means we have to make sure they have as good an experience as they can possibly make it. You come in to play there as student auth leaders. You play a role because the way in which you help students have a good experience here in Hamlet means that you are working with us to make sure the students stay here at Hamlet. I would say, if anything is your major role and a goal that you can help us achieve, that’s one, that’s clearly one. There are other things that we’re working on, but those are some of the major things that we’re working on, and I just wanted to give you a quick hold of that. I wanted to start with some university goals and then tell you how you connect to those university goals.

So I’m going to stop now, Patrick, and see if anybody has any questions.

All right, let’s go.


Anyone have questions? An opportunity to talk directly to the president. Do you mind talking to Joe Man?

As far as retention in different departments, how do you see that going? What are you doing to keep people into your sciences and your math and your English is like, what opportunities are available?

That’s a very good question. Working with the professors to take a look at that. One of the things that we started years ago, I don’t know if we’re still doing it, but I will tell you, we do look at the failure rate in some classes, and I love the belief that if a significant number of students in your class fail, stop assuming as a professor, because any professor can teach anything to anyone. It’s how you teach it that matters and then how you evaluate that progress. So we are working with professors to get them to understand that it is them and their way they teach. If a significant number of students have failed, no professor should be saying, I’m a really good professor. See how many students I failed. It’s the opposite. They’re not a very good professor because they’re not teaching material to you in a way that allows you to learn the material. So we are working at that and looking at those courses where there’s a high failure rate and putting into place plans for those professors and how they either improve or we take up an issue. So we are looking at that.

Who else.

Dear? You can ask me anything. Okay. She said it.

I didn’t.

I thought she was not going to answer it, but you can ask me anything that you want to ask me.

Okay. I have a question about also, one of the things that I’ve sort of heard from Grapevine from a lot of my peers in my same year, especially from last year, who I didn’t see again this year, was struggling with accessibility for food that they could eat or even wanted to eat. Quite a few issues with accessibility to their living spaces, how clean those living spaces are. And that’s something that I myself had an issue with. And I think that’s something that might also impact people coming back in later years.

Well, I will tell you, we would like to have more students living on campus because a significant number of residents do not live on campus significantly. And I know that Vice President Kirsten has been addressing many of these issues, and I know that Vice President Kirsten and Earmark has really changed the food options for students. So there are many more options for students in terms of food now. So students raised issues, they heard them. Have we answered all of them? No, but we’re moving towards making sure that we’re addressing those food options for students. So, yes, that is something that we’re paying attention to in terms of clearly, we do have an external company that we work with. If we need to address that, we go back to addressing that. Inside your rooms, it’s you. And I would say not just inside your rooms, it’s you. But when you put garbage in the areas where you need to put it, if it’s overflowing and you just dump it there and leave it, you’re creating problems for everybody else in that living space. So it’s also outside your rooms, what you do to help keep it clean.

But we will take that up and take a look at to make sure that we’re responding to those issues and make sure that the communal spaces are back clean. Vice President Kirsten. You heard that, right?

Got one right here.


My question is kind of in regards to the cost of Lucian University. A lot of students leave because they get a lot of academic scholarships, in other words, of merit. A lot of universities are moving towards having a lot more merit based because they see the dramatic socioeconomic impact a lot of students who come to college have in the different categories. Are this 5% for the payroll tuition. I know a lot of students here can’t and probably most of the people in this room. Is there any way or what is university doing in wanting to close the gap? Causes university out of pocket cost mostly for lower students?

Well, we actually do quite a bit. I don’t know if you realize it, but last time, 100% of Kevin Sooners received some sort of financial aid from Him.

And that’s gone up. We may have a few that I haven’t looked at the numbers for this year, but 100% received some financial aid. As soon as we leave Hamlet, leave an average debt of about $27,000 overall. Now, that’s the data that we have. So Hamilton is doing a fairly if you look at how much it costs to go to most private institutions and public institutions, actually handling overall costs less to the state institutions in terms of the aid that we give, because students coming out with more debt from the public institutions than they are from the private institution because we try and lead it. But that’s the reason why we have a campaign. It’s bringing in more scholarship dollars so we can bring down the cost even more. That’s the reason for the campaign. We’re doing what we can to try and address that. Are we doing everything? Can we offer you a free education? I wish we could, but we can. One, because the professors wouldn’t be here, the staff wouldn’t be here because we couldn’t pay them. What we get from tuition dollars goes back out. The majority of what we get in tuition dollars goes back out in scholarship dollars.

The majority of it goes back in scholarship dollars. Some others go back to pay the people who work with you who have jobs. So that’s where some of the other money go. But that’s the majority of our budget in scholarship dollars and personnel costs. But we are working on that. Interesting enough, when we look at the data, students don’t leave because of finances. Let me also say this. If you’ve gotten loans, you got loans last year and the other year before. If your first year, too, you don’t finish this category, the loan to get this’program, you need to pay close attention to what’s going on here. I would need a significant number of handlers are going to qualify for the loan Forgiveness program. So if you’ve got loan money from last year, if you’re a fourth year student, you probably got four years. If you’re eligible, you’ve got a Pell grant, you’re eligible automatically to receive the loan forgiveness. So pay very close attention to what’s happening at the federal level and the fact that the loan forgiveness program is in place. But do we have more to do in terms of giving more money to students?

Yes, we do. And I wish we could get more. But again, that’s one of the reasons why we have this campaign going on, because this campaign will allow us to give more money back unto students. As I said, the majority of money that we’re raising, that $95 billion so far, most of it is in scholarship dollars, and it goes back out. So, unfortunately, Hamilton University got into the business of raising money really late in its long history. This is only the second major comprehensive campaign in the 169 history of Hamlin University. So there are universities that started many, many years ago, before hamlin did we just get into the business of raising money, and that was one of my goals when I came as president, is to start raising more money for the university, because I know the benefit the more money you raise, the more benefits you as a student. So if you’re having issues with money and don’t sit back and try and figure it out on your own, go to the financial aid office. Let somebody know. It’s not the financial aid office. Go somewhere else, because there’s scholarship dollars that are in academic departments as well.

So there’s money in different places on campus. Don’t sit back and say, I’m going to try to do this alone. You let us know, okay? If you need to come talk to me, come talk to me. There might not be anything I can do right away, but I’ll try and help you as much as I can. So don’t sit there and try and solve this problem on your own. Okay? I didn’t see you say yes. Okay. So that means I will see you in my office, and you guys come talk to me.

All right? We got time for a couple more.

You talk about retention, and as far as motivating professors to teach, well, how do you do that when some are protected by tenure and other kinds of things like that, and we’re having trouble hiring?

Well, they’re actually not having trouble hiring, not in terms of faculty. We’re not only specific staff positions only. Yes, but not every I will tell you not every position we put out for hire, and there’s a reason why we have to put every position out for hire, and I’ll explain that in a second. The majority of our faculty here is handling a tenured and what tenure means you have a job in life. Yes. However so they shouldn’t feel as though they can’t do some things because they’re not tended. They can’t they can take risks that an untended professor might be uncomfortable taking. They can take risks. They can take risks in the classroom. They can take risks outside the classroom in terms of making sure that you get the kind of experience you need and want. Again, if you have some concerns about this, you talk to the provost, or you come talk to me, and I’ll make sure that the provost and the deans that are on this. Again, I have office hours for students. I think Huff oversees those office hours, but you don’t have to go through hubs. Many people just show up in my office or contact and Pierre in my office.

I meet with Susan. If you have any concerns or issues, bring them to my desk or take them to the provost’s desk. There is no reason why your voice should not be heard. So if there’s a professor you have a concern with, raise that concern. Don’t just sit there and say, I’ve got to take it. You do not. So there are professors who are not ten years, but I will tell you, some of those nontening professors are amazing.

Yes, amazing.

That’s why I wonder why there’s a hesitation to hire new people.

There’s no hesitation to hire new people. There’s no hesitation at all. What it is, is that we have some programs, but we have more faculty, and we have students in those programs, so they don’t have enough to do. Whereas we have some programs that are growing. And what we’re doing is investing in those programs where we see the most growth. One area we’re investing in criminology, criminal justice and forensic science. That’s an area we’re investing in because there’s huge growth. I know that there was a new professor in psychology. I know that in that area, they’re also going to be hiring. So there are areas in which we are investing. So there’s no reluctance. So faculty are telling you there’s reluctance to hire. I’m going to say this out, and you heard it a lot, especially. We are hiring professors, we are hiring staff. But we are looking at what I’m asking people to do, that when someone leaves, people have a tendency to say, well, I’m just going to hire someone just like them. I’m now saying to them, take a look at who our students are. What do we need? What do we need a new hire to do?

Because the environment, landscape has changed. So are some areas we’re moving a little slower on because I’m asking for more accountability and data. Yes. Now, I will tell you that there are some areas where I know we need to grow on the staff side. Now, I say this because, again, the majority of the money that we bring in each year goes back out to students. That’s where the money goes. The priority is scholarship dollars first. That is a priority. The money that we might have left to hire staff or faculty, I have to look and look at hires and how do we distribute those dollars in a way that goes to the highest need area. But the majority I want to make you clear, the majority of the money that we bring in on a year to year basis goes back out in scholarship dollars first. That’s first and foremost. So it is not that we don’t want to hire. We just do it. I will tell you, Vice President Kirsten is all over me. She’s over there smiling. She’s all over me in terms of hiring. And I have to say her, please get out of my office.

I have not said that to her, but she’s a good advocate for her unit and trying to make sure that she gets what she needs. So in some areas, we can move. Some areas. I’m saying, okay, we can hire. Now let’s waive the lady to hire another position in six months rather than right now. So let’s stagger it, because before we stagger it, we can figure out how the dollars get distributed. Who told you to ask that question? Patrick?

No, I’m part of the physics and maths department, so I hear a lot.

Of grumbling about okay, let me just.

Tell you about experience.

Let me tell you about the physics and math department.

Physics brings in a lot of money.

Physics also has a handful of students. Well, you bring in money in terms of people who donated to the university. But if you look at the number of students and I said this to the physics faculty, if you want more resources, get more students. Physics may have ten majors in that. It’s not sustainable. It’s not sustainable. Physics has to get more students. Criminology has over 200 students and has about the same number of faculty as physics. Math got two new hires this year. Math got two new hires. So they are hiring. So it’s not as though math isn’t getting hires. Math got two new hires. Math got two new hires from that retirement. Matt got two new hires. So this is the area that I know really well. Math at two new hires. Okay. And math is not hurting from resources, not at all. Physics is not hurting for resources, not at all. But again, those areas need to increase the number of students that they have in their units. If you’ve got five faculties and ten students, what does that say to you? No, that means they have not done what they need to do to bring in the students, to get students excited about what it is they’re teaching and what it is they’re doing.

I’ve been in higher ed for over 40 years. I’ve been a professor for all of my academic life. I know this area. They have got to bring in water. You tell them that. I told them that they’ve got a scanning electron microscope. Go down to the science teachers. Have the science teachers on this campus for lunch and show them that scanning electron microscope and get them to excite their assigned high school students that come to hammer. That’s on them. That’s on them. You can do it too, but that’s on them. So, yeah, you got any exercise on that one? But they’re not okay. Yeah. All right, so we will stop this question, because you go back and tell them what I said. You increase the number students you have, because the bishops over there will go by.

All right, we got time for one more question. And then anything beyond that, I will direct people to the resources that were discussed.

So I just was wondering what campus is doing to increase accessibility for students with physical disabilities, because I know that a lot of form spaces aren’t necessarily possible for those of us with physical disability, and a lot of the actual areas where we’re trying to get to classes are also not. So I’m just curious as to what campus is doing in order to transfer that from.

That’S a very good question. If you can’t manage stairs, you can’t come to the old Maine. That’s the reality. However, it’s an old building. We got a lot of old buildings and no ability to put a metal there in those buildings. But that is something that I wish I had to say. We have plans in place to do all of that. Those buildings where we can do some stuff like drill and places like that, where we can make some changes. So slow process progress, which means that if you want to meet with me, for example, you might not even come.

To the whole thing.

You might say, I need to be with the president, so we meet up in the Red Wing room. So we have to meet someplace else. I would have to accommodate you rather than you accommodating me. But, yes, it is a major issue on that campus. Unfortunately, the forefathers when they built some of the buildings here, did not think about the future. We have Richmond Hall. That’s an old man that we cannot use because the building is not accessible. So it’s a major problem on a campus. But we’re trying to do what we can as we redo some buildings instead of trying to make these rooms more accessible. So thank you for that question.

All right, one more.

I just kind of wanted to hit on the part of mental health and me being a student athlete, we’re 12% more likely to deal with mental health issues. So I kind of wanted to ask you, how are we bridging the gap between the awareness of mental health issues pretty much, and being aware?

That’s another good question. That’s an issue that many campuses are needing to address. We do have mental health services on campus. We do have the virtual mental health services. We’ve got to figure out how do we because the student athletes are over 25% of the student body. But I don’t want to make it seem like the justice student athletes will have this issue. It’s not. But that is an issue that we are always aware of, knowing that we got to pay close attention to that and always look at where are some other ways to place we can put some resources to address a mental health issue for students as part of the NCAA. That’s also part of the agenda for student athletes with each campus at Ncnn.

But experiencing trying to get to those resources, it’s kind of hard to.

I Guess, bring in more staff or how exactly can we get to a point to where it’s easy access to okay.

Vice President Christine, here’s that question, too, right? Easier access. And so, again, you may have to come talk to us and tell us more about what you’re thinking in that area to help us be able to address the concerns that you’ve raised. All right, so, again, I know we can’t answer all the questions because you’ve got an agenda ahead of you, but this is and I’m so glad you all asked questions. I’m going to ask even your question. I am so glad you all are asking questions because we can’t address issues and we can’t tell you what we’re doing in our hands if we don’t know what your questions are. So I thank you. And again, do remember, I am available, I am accessible. And if you have any questions, you have any concerns, if you can’t get to me, which you usually can, but if you can’t get to me, I can’t tell you just how important Supers is. Patty and Carlos and Patrick, there’s a whole host of other people, they are extremely important to this university, and the work that they do makes it possible for us to focus on some other things because they got this area.

Do they need more resources? Yes, they do. Yes, they do. I’m very much aware of that. But I can’t thank them enough for always thinking about you. You first. You first. That’s where they think. So thank you, Patrick, for a lot of I’ll need to come in this morning and spend some time with you. Again, thank you for agreeing to be the student leaders on campus.

What is the best way for them reach out or contact you? Is it the President at is it the President at handling email or is.

It a form if the President at email is one way because or contacting my office or going on Hopk added up at one point, I don’t know if Hack is still doing it.

Yes, he talks about that in a minute when she comes up, if that’s cool.

Yeah, cool. Okay, well, thank you. There is food over there, I understand. There’s bacon.

There’s a lot of bacon. I checked for you.

That is my favorite food besides popcorn spacing.

All right. And I’m just going to let Pad speak for a few minutes as well.

Again, thank you, President Miller, for being with us on a Sunday morning. We know that the work of the President is seven days a week, and all of the different opportunities and places where students get to see you is important and again, very valued in being able to have a connection in the relationship. Both college campuses, I’m just going to say, you wouldn’t see a presence on Sunday morning in the Anderson Center fully accessible to students. And so I really value the relationship we have with President Miller and being able to be here and being community and conversation with us.

Again, I’m Patty Kirsten.

I’m your students and your Vice president for Student affairs. And I just had to say, walking.

In today, I was so excited.

The work that we’ve done, the commitment that’s happened, we’re able to be a mask at a place that we have created as safe for the community as. We can be along with the supporting of everyone who continues to wear masks. And we’re entering a whole new time with all of those. I’m.