Peggy Miller, retired president of South Dakota State, began her tenure as interim dean of Texas Tech’s Graduate School on Monday.
She was contacted regarding the interim dean position by the Registry for College and University Presidents, an organization that matches former university presidents with open interim leadership positions.
Miller said she could be employed as the interim dean for up to two years but expects it will take less time for the university to find her permanent replacement.
Chancellor Kent Hance said he was pleased with Miller’s appointment.
“I think she is fabulous,” he said. “Looking at her background, she is exactly what we need at the graduate school.”
Citing the university’s strategic plan, she said one important goal she will be working to achieve is increasing the graduate student enrollment by 25 percent or at least 3,000 students in an attempt to help Tech reach tier-one status.
“One thing we are doing to increase enrollment is looking at new populations to recruit students,” she said. “We’re also looking at adding new degree programs.”
Christina Fanelli, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in romance languages from Tomball, said she thought an increase in the number of graduate students could be a positive change for the university as long as professors were still accessible to their students.
“(An increase in graduate students) would be good as long as Tech maintained the same ratio of students to professors,” she said. “Part of the responsibility of the graduate school is to have professors be available to students, so if (Tech) can do that, great.”
Carrye Syma, assistant librarian and member of the Graduate Council, said she is excited about the changes Miller will make to the university and the potential increase of graduate student enrollment at Tech.
“It’s always great to have more students on campus,” she said.
Besides being president of South Dakota State, Miller was also the president of the University of Akron and chancellor of Indiana University-Northwest.
Because of her past experience as president and chancellor, Hance said, Miller will be familiar with the whole university and do an excellent job as interim dean.
Fanelli and Syma both said they agreed that the new interim dean’s past experience as president and chancellor will help her achieve her goals for the university.
“It’s good that she has experience as president of other universities,” Fanelli said. “She probably has new ideas of how to raise enrollment.”
Although she has only been in Lubbock for two days, Miller said she has enjoyed her time at Tech and noted the “lovely” campus.
“Everyone told me Lubbock was full of wonderful, nice people, and so far, they’ve all been right,” she said.