From Excellence to Eminence: Dr. Millet's Thoughts on the Journey
How do we get from excellence to eminence? The journey may not be easy, but Dr. Peter Millet, newly appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for Stillman College, has no doubt that the College will get there. “President McNealey has a relentless pursuit of excellence. Seeking to do the best, be the best, and have the best is a motto you will find displayed in almost every office on campus,” says Dr. Millet, who formerly served as Dean of Education at Tennessee State University and as a Mellon Assistant Professor of psychology at Connecticut College. A bachelor’s degree from Oakland University; a master’s and doctorate from The Ohio State University in Columbus; a predoctoral residency at the Medical College of Georgia; a postdoctoral internship at Meharry Medical College; and Leadership Training at Harvard University are among his many impressive accomplishments.
Dr. Millet believes that Stillman has demonstrated excellence in many areas. "Achieving eminence will require a continued commitment to technological sophistication, greater community involvement, and a fresh approach to research and scholarship."
U.S. News and World Report recently listed Stillman among the “15 most wired” campuses. Dr. Millet wants to keep the College at the forefront of technology. “Institutions that do not embrace technology run the risk of being left behind. This is the way students today communicate, so we want to meet students where they are,” Dr. Millet states. While embracing technology is important, Dr. Millet also understands the challenges this might present. “People have different levels of technological sophistication. Some are experts. Some only use computers to check their e-mail. We must be sensitive to the needs of students, staff and faculty as we take them to where we want them to be.” Dr. Millet believes that hands-on training and consistent usage are the keys to helping Stillman attain eminence in the area of technology.
Washington Monthly ranked Stillman College #32 among 309 baccalaureate colleges based on Stillman’s contribution to the public good. Again, Stillman will not rest on its laurels. Dr. Millet wants “to increase Stillman’s level of community involvement and engagement and become even more of a resource for the community.” He seeks to have “a very vibrant interaction with the community.” Meeting more frequently with city schools and local businesses and organizations will be among the first steps toward strengthening local and regional ties.
Stillman’s new focus on research and scholarship promises to usher in an exciting new era. “Historically, we were a teaching institute. Now there is movement toward expanding our level of scholarship. Stillman has a very highly qualified faculty. Eighty-six percent have a terminal degree, which is the highest in their field. We are going to see increased research and creativity coming from this institution. We have established scholarship research groups, which will allow faculty to more easily collaborate on scholarship documents and write grants for funding.” Eventually, Dr. Millet hopes to expand these efforts to involve other schools in the state and around the country.
But Dr. Millet notes that, as critical as sophisticated technology, community involvement and research may be, there are also certain intangible qualities that will help Stillman as it moves from excellence to eminence. “We give students a good education in terms of content, but we also believe its important for them to develop a mind toward service and integrity. We focus on character in addition to content. We teach integrity first by modeling it in our classrooms and secondly by discussing it with students outside of the classroom. We talk about what a Stillman Man or a Stillman Woman should look like. Honesty, honor, and integrity are important to us,” said Dr. Millet, who adds that he is “honored and humbled to be invited to be a part of the Stillman family” as the College moves from excellence to eminence.
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