July 18, 2007

Miller named new director of UWPA

by K.C. Jaehnig


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Michelle Hughes Miller, associate professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the new director of University Women's Professional Advancement, effective immediately.

Miller's academic background, research interests and leadership skills make her well equipped to handle these additional responsibilities, said Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity.

"I am confident that she has the experience and the vision that can take this program and make it meet more of the current needs of women on this campus," he said.

Miller, cross-appointed in the Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections and in the Women's Studies program, specializes in research dealing with women and crime and teaches courses related to criminology and gender (both together and separately) and to the art of teaching itself. She joined the SIUC faculty in 2000.

Despite the progress society has made, workplace barriers still exist for women, Miller said, making programs such as the one at SIUC still vital to their success.

"We want to ensure that everyone works at their level of ability and that everyone has an opportunity to go where they need and want to go," she said.

To that end, the program will undergo some changes, Bryson said.

"In the past, we have focused on preparing women for an administrative position on campus, but now we are going to expand our focus," he explained.

"We want to provide the services and activities to help prepare all women to reach their full potential, whether they are faculty members or in administrative or Civil Service positions."

In addition to providing training opportunities and internal internships, Miller said her unit would focus on determining the effectiveness of campus policies and practices.

"SIUC has been behind the curve on some of the work-life balance issues that affect women," she said.

"We want women to be successful in the workplace without feeling like they have to leave their families behind."

While most people connect "advancement" with promotion and moving up the career ladder, Miller said she hoped to emphasize a broader interpretation of the concept.

"For those who want to remain in their current jobs, being successful means being as effective and as happy as you can be there," she said.

"I don't want people to lose sight of that."

Miller, a Nebraska native, came to SIUC from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she served first as an instructor and then as an assistant professor. She earned her bachelor's in 1986 from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1990 and 1997 respectively.