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Miller named first vice provost for equity and inclusion

Teri Miller

Teresa Miller will lead efforts to build a culture of equity and inclusiveness at the university. Photo: Douglas Levere

By SUE WUETCHER

Published February 27, 2014

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“Creating the conditions for inclusiveness and equity among faculty, staff and students is critical for the transformational learning environment that will ensure UB’s reputation for excellence in the highly globalized and rapidly changing 21st century.”
Provost Charles F. Zukoski

Law professor Teresa A. Miller will lead UB’s continuing efforts to build a culture of equity, diversity and inclusiveness as the university’s first vice provost for equity and inclusion.

Miller’s appointment, announced last week by Provost Charles F. Zukoski, is effective March 3. She will serve as a member of the senior leadership team, reporting to Zukoski.

“Creating the conditions for inclusiveness and equity among faculty, staff and students is critical for the transformational learning environment that will ensure UB’s reputation for excellence in the highly globalized and rapidly changing 21st century,” Zukoski said in an email to the campus community. “Professor Miller’s demonstrated commitment to equity, advocacy and compassion in her work, as well as her creativity and ability to work across disciplines, make her an outstanding choice to lead, plan and coordinate UB’s equity and inclusion efforts.”

Creation of the new vice provost position coincides with the implementation phase of UB 2020, the university’s strategic plan, and has been informed by the work of the Commission on Academic Excellence and Equity.

The commission, chaired by Athena D. Mutua, professor and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar in the UB Law School, was formed to examine data, policies and practices on faculty recruitment and career paths.  It was charged with identifying barriers that impede faculty success and making specific recommendations that would lift these barriers so that faculty, “regardless of gender/race/ethnicity, can excel and flourish.”

An implementation committee, chaired by School of Management Dean Arjang Assad, recommended the appointment of a senior member of UB’s senior leadership team to oversee diversity and equity issues at the university and monitor efforts to create a university-wide culture of equity and inclusion.  

The committee also recommended expanding the availability of demographic data about faculty and staff to optimize the effectiveness and transparency of inclusion measures and processes; additional faculty mentoring and evaluation to improve the prospects for positive renewal and tenure decision; and development of guidelines for improved faculty work-life balance.

As vice provost, Miller will:

  • Work with other senior leadership of the university to ensure that diversity and inclusion objectives are incorporated into the strategic plans of the university
  • Research and establish best practices in the area of equity and inclusion, and identifying gaps in UB’s policies and practices
  • Establish a Council for Equity and Inclusion to foster a culture of equity and inclusion at UB. The council will draw its members from academic units, professional schools, administrative units, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni
  • Encourage the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students from underrepresented minority groups
  • Work with senior academic leadership to improve access of underrepresented minorities and establish a stronger pipeline of diverse undergraduate, graduate and professional students

A 1986 graduate of Harvard Law School, Miller joined the UB faculty in 1995. She previously taught research and writing at the University of Miami Law School, and clerked for the Hon. William M. Hoevelor in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.

She has published extensively on immigration law, prison conditions — she travels throughout New York State evaluating conditions at state prisons on behalf of the Correctional Association of New York — and other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Miller has produced two documentaries on the Attica Correctional Facility — “Encountering Attica,” which tracked three law students who met with inmates serving life sentences at the prison, and  “4 Myths about Attica” for a conference she organized on the 40th anniversary of the Attica uprising.

Her most recent project, “Attica: the Bars that Bind Us,” documents the “human costs” of living in a large men’s maximum security prison through the voices of prisoners and their family members, the warden, correctional officers and others.