After being elected provost and dean of faculty last semester, art history professor Mary-Ann Milford started the spring semester with many goals for her new position and with support from the administration, faculty and students.
Milford, former dean of fine arts, said that unlike those who have been provost and dean of faculty in the past, she wants to remain in the position for a substantial period of time to achieve her goals for the academic life of the college.
“I don’t want this [position] to be a revolving door,” Milford said. “There has been so little continuity.”
Milford said she hopes to enhance the intellectual atmosphere of the college and provide faculty with the environment and support they need so that they can put most of their time and energy into teaching and research. As provost, she will work with and bring together the administration and academic sides of the college.
“I want to work with the students and faculty to focus on why we’re here at Mills,” said Milford. “Sometimes we’ve [the faculty] lost our focus by putting too much energy into other pressures [such as faculty committees and advising]. It’s time that we look at the accomplishments of the faculty and return to what we’re best at.”
President Janet Holmgren said she has the highest respect for Milford and is impressed with her scholarly achievements, enthusiasm for Mills and desire to be supportive and help expand faculty work.
She [Milford] represents the highest aspirations and strengths of the college,” said Holmgren. “I am looking forward to working with her for a long time.”
Students are also optimistic about Milford.
“She has a positive view of what students can do, which is very positive for us,” said ASMC Vice President Jill Habig.
Holmgren said that the other three candidates for provost and dean of faculty, Barbara Li Santi, math professor, Ruth Saxton, English professor and dean of letters and Marianne Sheldon, history professor and interim associate provost, also presented a very strong potential for the position. She added that the final decision was a difficult one.
“All of them are excellent members of the faculty,” said history professor Bert Gordon. “Any of them would have done well.”