Dr. Fayneese Miller officially became the 20th president of Hamline University on July 1, 2015. She is the first African American president in the history of Hamline and the university’s second female president.
The former dean of the College of Education and Social Services and professor of leadership and developmental sciences at the University of Vermont, Dr. Miller brings 30 years of academic and higher education leadership experience to her role at Hamline. She was the first coordinator of education studies and the founding chairman of ethnic studies at Brown University, where she served on the faculty for 20 years and, for nearly 10 years, as dean of the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont.
“Dr. Miller is a dynamic and inclusive leader with a strong commitment to diversity and deep experience in academic program development, fiscal management, and fundraising,” said Bob Klas, Jr., chair of the Hamline University Board of Trustees. “She is a champion of collaborative governance and values voices of students, faculty, and staff. We feel she will be an exceptional president for our campus community.”
“I am honored to be selected as the 20th president of Hamline University,” Dr. Miller said, “an institution that values social justice, equity, inclusion, and civic engagement through its service-learning opportunities for students, curriculum offerings, and innocence initiative. I am looking forward to working together with board members, students, faculty, staff, and the community in enhancing Hamline University’s strong commitment to high academic standards and developing students who understand and appreciate their role as members of a civil society.”
In her previous role as dean of the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont, Dr. Miller was responsible for all aspects of both the graduate and undergraduate curriculum, professional development of faculty, budget management and new net revenue generation, fund development, and international collaborations for the college, among other responsibilities. She is a proven fundraiser and continuously exceeds fundraising expectations for her academic unit. The graduate education program in her college, since her hire, has improved its U.S. News and World ranking by more than 75 places, where it now resides as among the top 65 in the nation.
Dr. Miller served on the University of Vermont’s Strategic Budget Steering Committee and represented the deans on the President’s Leadership Council. She chaired the university’s Council of Deans, served on the Strategic Visioning Steering Committee, New Net Revenue Generation sub-committee, Diversity sub-committee, and chaired the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. She recently wrote a report documenting the University of Vermont’s STEM education activities, and many of those recommendations made are currently being implemented on campus.
While at Brown University, Dr. Miller was the chief architect and academic leader of the education studies concentration, for 10 years, and the ethnic studies concentration. She was the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and chaired the University’s Affirmative Action Monitoring Committee. In 1991, Dr. Miller became the first native born African American woman to be promoted to associate professor with tenure at Brown University.
Dr. Miller is a social psychologist who specializes in the psychosocial development of adolescents, with a focus on socio-political and identity development. She has authored or co-authored seven books or monographs, more than a dozen book chapters, and an extensive number of journal articles, research reports, and conference presentations. She has conducted studies for the Rhode Island Family Court on school-based truancy courts and the Rhode Island Supreme Court on race and gender bias in the courts. She has been an invited lecturer at institutions throughout the U.S. and in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China, Australia, and the United Kingdom. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She currently serves as special advisor to the chairman of the board at the University of Business and Technology in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Miller holds a PhD and an MS from Texas Christian University in experimental psychology, and a BA in psychology from Hampton University. Her post-doctoral work in applied social psychology was completed at Yale University.
Dr. Miller’s national committee service is extensive. She is a past chairman of the board of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), past president of the Council of Deans from Research Extensive Institutions (CADREI), a past co-chairman of the Outreach and Engagement Committee for the American Council of Education (ACE) Fellows and a past member of the fellows’ executive committee. She is a 2004-2005 ACE Fellow. She has also served on the advisory committee for the National Truancy Board. In addition, she has served on task forces or conducted research for such organizations as the Annie Casey Foundation (Task Force on Reproductive Health of Minority Youth); Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Mellon Foundation Planning Effort on Minority High Achievement; the SPSSI Taskforce on Culture for the American Psychological Association; the Advisory Board of the Committee on Title 1 Testing and Assessment for the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Science’s Task Force on Diversity in Higher Education, and the Kellogg Foundation (Taskforce on Minority High Achievement and the National Review Panel for Service-Learning Initiative Committee on Meritocracy and Schooling).
Dr. Miller is committed to public and community service. In Vermont, she serves on the board of the United Way of Chittenden County and its Community Investment Committee. She was appointed by the past governor of Vermont to join on the Vermont State Board of Education on which she served as chairman for five years. In Rhode Island, she was appointed to numerous committees by the State Attorney General, the Governor, and the Mayors of Providence and Pawtucket. Specifically, she served on the Attorney General’s Drug Court Planning Committee and the Pawtucket Juvenile Hearing Board. She was also a member of the board for The Wheeler School, Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, Rhode Island Historical Society, Rhode Island Youth Guidance Center, Big Sisters, Providence NAACP, Community Preparatory School, San Miguel School, Sojourner House, Langston Hughes Center for the Arts. She has been a member of Technical Advisory Committee for KIDS COUNT for The Rhode Island Foundation, United Black and Brown Fund Steering Committee, and Rhode Island Governor’s Task Force.
A special thank you to Hamline's Presidential Search Committee members Barbara Lupient (chair of the committee and trustee), Doron Clark (trustee), Cindy Gregorson (trustee), Brenda Heim (trustee), Denise Holloman (trustee), Mike LaFontaine (trustee), Gwen Lerner (trustee), Julie Showers (trustee), Mark Berkson (professor/CLA), Beth Gunderson (professor/HSB), Jennifer Carlson (associate professor/HSE), Carol Swanson (professor/HUSL), Jane Turk (staff), Hussein Rajput (staff), Allissa Heim (undergraduate student representative), Cha Xiong (law/graduate student representative), as well as additional interviewers John Mazis (professor/CLA), Jenny Keil (professor/HSB), James Brickwedde (assistant professor/HSE), Jonathan Kahn (professor/HUSL), Wendy Burns (staff), Jason Verdugo (staff), Heidi Fisher (graduate student/HSB), Alia Abboud (undergraduate student/HSB), and Julie Luker (graduate student/HSE) for their incredible time commitment and diligence in selecting Hamline’s next leader. Thank you, as well, to Cathy Wassberg for staffing the committee, to Patti Joseph for help with logistical support, and to the firm of Isaacson Miller for leading the search.