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SEARK Presidential Candidate Miller Seeks Room to Grow

Douglas Miller leads Utah State University’s Eastern Campus as chief administrator, but in pursuing the presidency of Southeast Arkansas College, the Idaho native is seeking an opportunity that might be limited in his current role.

“I operate in a university system, and the opportunity to advance and be innovative is difficult,” Miller told members of the SEARK community during an open forum Thursday morning inside the Welcome Center. Miller is one of three finalists auditioning this week to succeed Steven Bloomberg as president.

“We’ve made real progress at Eastern, but this would give me a chance to offer myself to be as helpful as possible.”

Miller was just named senior associate vice president of the Price, Utah, campus last August. He was a faculty member at Utah State’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business in Logan, according to his Eastern biography, when he was selected.

“There are benefits to both sides, and you have to understand that,” Miller said. “A system comes with additional resources, but what a system often struggles with is meeting the needs of the local voter. In my opinion, a position like this, where you are president of an independent college, you have much greater capacity and ability to respond to local needs than you would with a system-defined institution.

To increase enrollment at SEARK, Miller said the key is determining how best to meet the needs of local students. Enrollment for the fall 2023 semester was 975 and this spring was 869, but Interim President Stacy Pfluger noted that while enrollment was relatively steady year over year (987 in the fall 2022 and 836 in spring 2023), SEARK has seen an increase in the total number of students. semester credit hours during the same period.

Miller’s educational career took him to new heights after a stint in financial management at RR Donnelley, a marketing and business communications company. Miller left there to pursue his doctorate. at Washington State University.

“While I loved my job at RR Donnelley — I had a great team of compositors and digital designers and worked with great clients — I found that, like everyone else, I wanted to have an area where I could make an impact and make the most of it. according to my abilities,” he said.

One of the most significant parts of Miller’s career, he said, is the creation of the Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy, named for the founder of Ford Motor Co., in Saudi Arabia.

“We have helped entire economies and countries build and grow those economies and drive economic development through entrepreneurship,” Miller explained. “That’s where I discovered a true passion for serving these groups and building connections between higher education and economic development.” This is what led me to take a leadership role in higher education.

In recent years, SEARK has planned to build a student union and residential hall in the middle of campus to eliminate transportation barriers between some students. The projects on the horizon, as well as the opportunity to engage in local economic development, inspired Miller to run for president.

Miller, for example, pointed to a recent $548,492 federal grant the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville received to rehabilitate South Olive Street as a commercial corridor.

“To me, that means two things: One, it shows that there is real interest in supporting this region, and two, it means that real resources are being mobilized to meet this need,” Miller said. “And I think those two things are part of an attractive package to say, ‘I can come and join in an ongoing, meaningful effort.’ We all want to play for the winning team. I want to play for the winning team. And that looks like a winning team.

Douglas Miller

Age: 40

Family: Married and father of three sons, one in high school, one in middle school and another in elementary school

Education: Doctor of Philosophy in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, Washington State University; Master of Business Administration, University of Montana; Bachelor of Science, Utah State University

Current position: Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Campus Administrator, Utah State University Eastern

Previously: Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Virginia Commonwealth University

Public forums of other candidates:

— Dometrius Hill, associate vice president for academic affairs, Lee College, Texas: 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. today at the SEARK Welcome Center, 1900 S. Hazel St.

— Tyrone Jackson, president of Mississippi Delta Community College: interviewed Monday