Starting this summer, VWC will have a new president at the helm of the college: Dr. Scott Miller
By Andrew Petrey and Jessica Mackey
After current President William Greer’s retirement announcement last summer, a nationwide search resulted in Dr. Scott D. Miller being named the next president of Virginia Wesleyan College on Feb. 25.
The search committee was composed of faculty, staff, alumni representatives and a student. The committee sought a candidate with a strong record of leadership who was a passionate advocate of the values and ideals of the liberal arts. Dr. Miller exemplifies such criteria with his extensive college leadership skills.
“I’m in my 24th year as a college president and have served three excellent liberal arts institutions—Lincoln Memorial University, Wesley College, and Bethany College,” Dr. Miller said. “I’m known around the country as one of the most entrepreneurial and innovative campus leaders, and my experience has prepared me well for the tremendous opportunities that I know we have at VWC. With its strong reputation and fantastic location, the College has those opportunities in abundance. I can’t wait to get started!”
Dr. Miller will be the fourth president in Virginia Wesleyan College’s 53-year history. He follows President Greer’s 23-year tenure here at the college.
“In a few words, I’m competitive, hardworking, and totally committed to the distinctive experiences offered by small, residential, liberal arts colleges,” Dr. Miller describes. “I have high standards for the institutions I serve and for myself, yet I also enjoy the job tremendously. Each day is an adventure, enriched by the devotion of campus constituents—students, faculty, staff members, families, alumni, and many others—whom I’ve been privileged to work with over the years.”
After earning his B.A. degree in communication from West Virginia Wesleyan College he worked as a journalist, later earning an M.A. from the University of Dayton, Ed.S. from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University.
“As noted, I love to write,” Dr. Miller said. “My first column in college, ‘Miller Time,’ was sports-related, and a few years ago I finally abandoned my reporter’s notebook, which I still carried each day, for my iPad. Now I write on many higher-education topics of national and often regional relevance. I also feel that because a college president is to a large extent the public face of the institution, it’s important from a marketing and external-relations perspective to promote the campus via social media and other communication avenues. People tend to pay attention when a college president goes on the record, and the tools we have now for expanding communication and building new relationships will benefit Virginia Wesleyan in many exciting new ways.”
In addition to his commitment as a higher-education leader Dr. Miller is a well-known sought mentor, presenter, and author on higher education topics such as financial sustainability and presidential performance for national conferences and trade journals. While remaining a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and scholarly journals, he maintains a daily blog, Dialogue, a campus-wide morning message, Nota Bene, and an e-newsletter, The President`s Letter.
Dr. Miller is excited to be joining the Virginia Wesleyan College community and bringing in a new era of college communication geared toward the student demographic.
“If experience at Bethany is a guide, my presence on social media will produce enhanced opportunities for enrollment, fundraising, alumni relations, and daily communications with the campus community,” Dr. Miller said. “Competition for our audiences’ attention is growing. Timing is often everything. In our age of instant news and information updates, social media such as presidential e-letters, blogs, Twitter, Flicker, LinkedIn and Facebook increase frequency and quality of communication to current and prospective students and the wider campus community at little or no cost. An essential goal of colleges and universities today is to increase their institutional profile, and we need to use these technologies to attract the interest and resources we need at VWC as we go forward.”
Although Dr. Miller is bringing years of experience with him to the campus community, he says every school is unique in its own right.
“All colleges are different, and one important lesson I’ve learned is that “one size doesn’t fit all,” Dr. Miller said. “The vision for each institution must build on the individual strengths, traditions, and opportunities within it, and a major part of a president’s job is to ensure that his or her strategic vision for the college arises from and is shared broadly by the various constituent groups—students, faculty, staff, parents and families, alumni and friends. For Virginia Wesleyan and many other quality small colleges, a realistic strategy aligned with the heritage and mission and the aspirations of the constituencies mentioned above is a productive course.”
President Greer shares the same sentiment of the search committee. “Recognizing Dr. Miller as a seasoned college president, I see him doing extremely well here and continuing to lead the college to a better place”.