Dean Spotlight: Dr. Nancy Miller

College of Engineering and Computer Science - Interview with a Dean
By Reese Radmacher November 4, 2022

Computer and Information Technology occupations are continuing to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making electronic engineering and computer science degree programs a popular choice among many students. The College of Science, Engineering, and Technology at University of Arkansas Grantham has a variety of programs that can enhance your electronic engineering and technology skills.

Dr. Nancy Miller, dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology at UA Grantham, spoke with us to answer a few questions about her own educational journey and how an online degree program could benefit students like you.

Q: What is your higher education background and how did that inform your career path?

Miller: I earned my Bachelor of Science in engineering physics, Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance, and Master of Science in applied physics from Texas Tech—and then my PhD in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico. My time spent in higher education was a tool I used to attain my personal goals and to advance in my career. It created opportunities for me, like working on the design of one of the largest autofocus telescopes.

My higher education background also allowed me to lead the UA Grantham team toward obtaining ABET (accreditation for the Electronics Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science degree program). The ABET accrediting commissions help set the standards around the world for quality programs that are designed to prepare students to succeed in their industry. UA Grantham’s electronics engineering technology program received accreditation from ABET’s Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) in 2016.

The engaging and dynamic educational experience that UA Grantham’s College of Science, Engineering, and Technology has created in its electronic engineering technology program is in line with the college’s mission to provide quality and professional programs. Achieving the accreditation required a self-study, independent peer review and a demonstration of compliance with ABET’s accreditation principles.

Q: How has your career path shaped your experience in your role at UA Grantham?

Miller: I have worked in industry, government, and higher education—in three different countries. This background has given me an understanding of the various demands on our students in different environments, whether it’s a work environment or a cultural one. This understanding helps when I need to advise students or address issues.

As curriculum is developed or updated, I understand the importance of—and the challenges that can arise from—the softer issues surrounding technology, such as diversity, ethics, and the larger global context. While curriculum is developed primarily based on accreditation standards and recommendations from employers, faculty, students and professional organizations, my past experiences and point of view allow me to offer useful and relevant examples when teaching.

Q: What is your perspective on online learning? What are the benefits?

Miller: Online learning can provide a great opportunity for adults who did not have the chance to obtain a degree when they were younger or those looking to gain skills, or to advance in their career. It is really about expanding opportunity, and it also allows education to fit into one’s life rather than having to change one’s life to fit into education. But it does take discipline and stability in one’s life. To be successful, you need to be able to establish a fairly regular schedule for school or it will be pushed out by life’s other demands.

UA Grantham is committed to helping each student succeed in an online learning environment by offering support services like the The Learning Center, online library, career services and advising. Together with the ability to work at your own pace and UA Grantham’s monthly class starts, students are given plenty of support to complete their online degree program.

Q: What advice can you give to a student who is interested in pursuing a degree in the
College of Science, Engineering, and Technology?

Miller: There are a wide variety of programs in the college, for both those who are weak in math and those who are strong in math. You don’t have to be a math whiz to get a technical degree. Having said that, the courses do take some time to complete since many have a hands-on component. That can be fun, but you have to plan for it.

Set a schedule. The students who succeed have a schedule for when they do their work during the week, and they generally stick to it. Also, come with an attitude of humility. To use your time wisely, it makes sense to use our tutors if you get stuck. Too many times, students are too proud to use a tutor—to their own detriment. Allow a team of people to work with you and come alongside you and use the resources available to you to help you achieve your goals.

UA Grantham is eager to support students who are seeking a change through online education. Contact University of Arkansas Grantham today to get more information and begin your program.

About the Author

Reese Radmacher
Reese Radmacher, communications coordinator, has been with University of Arkansas Grantham since early 2021. A college graduate herself; Reese appreciates the value of higher education and relates to the student perspective. In 2019, Reese earned her bachelor’s degree in mass media from Missouri State University where she worked as a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, and then as a freelance writer for 417 Magazine.
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