Miller announces she won’t run for re-election as faculty regent

Mai Hoang

The University Senate will hold elections for a new faculty regent next month, and the body will do it without Mary Ellen Miller’s name on the ballot.

Miller confirmed her decision not to run for re-election last week, and although the deadline for nominations is Friday, none have been received.

University Senate President Robert Dietle isn’t surprised.

“It’s a big commitment,” he said. “Anyone who is interested will think long and hard before they will allow themselves to be nominated. They will be signing up for three years of hard work.”

Miller’s three-year term on the Board of Regents officially ends in November. She also served a term on the board in the 1980’s.

Time was a major factor in her decision.

“I have some very exciting new academic projects,” she said. “And I need more time for those new projects.”

President Gary Ransdell said he was surprised and disappointed that Miller decided not to run for re-election.

“She’s been a superb regent,” he said. “And she’ll be difficult to replace.”

Ransdell said Miller has done a good job representing the faculty, and she also manages to keep an objective perspective, and considers the entire institution in her decision making.

“I think she does her homework,” he said. “She’s very thorough. She’s forthright, and I appreciate knowing precisely where she stands on a given issue. That’s important.”

Regent James Tennill of Louisville agreed.

“She was very open in the meetings. I enjoyed that,” he said. “I’m sorry she’s not going to be with us in the future.”

Miller said she enjoyed being a regent because she learned about the operations of different departments at the university.

But the next faculty regent will face major issues, she said, including a slim state budget.

“We cannot look at Western’s problems and issues in isolation,” she said. “We’re part of a state system. We are very dependent on what happens at the state budgetary level.”

Western’s growing enrollment is another issue that needs to be examined, she said.

Miller said she is concerned about the higher numbers of students affecting the university’s ability to provide a quality education.

“How far can you go in recruiting until you have recruited past your resources?” she asked. “That’s a question we have to face. We are getting to that point where we need to draw back. We need to draw back and make some major decisions.”

Although she isn’t running for re-election, Miller said she enjoyed being part of the board and working with other regents.

“This is a board that wants the best for the school,” she said. “One of the things that impresses me is that they don’t seem to be interested in grandstanding. It’s a board we can be proud of.”

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]