New dean of arts and letters

Published by Amy Latham on

Rozilyn Miller, dean of arts and letters, shares her passion for the creative arts and the relational nature of campus for student success.
Edit: Robin Bailey / The Mainstream

For Rozilyn Miller, the new dean of arts and letters, moving to Oregon was always part of her five year plan. “I had lived in so many places, and I was like ‘this is not where I want to permanently settle’ – and again, Oregon kept calling my name.”

When she had visited Oregon years ago as part of a trip to the Pacific Coast, she saw scenery she had never seen in her life. “From the beautiful mountains to the wide open spaces, and the open ranges of Oregon, it was kind of a transformational trip. Moving here was the best decision I could have made.”

Miller, who moved to Roseburg from teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma, has a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum, a Master’s in Theater, and a Bachelor’s in Oral Communication. “I used to be exceptionally shy,” Miller said, “and when my father made me take a speech class, this class just made me feel empowered and opened up new avenues. Then my high school speech and drama were fantastic, and through those connections I got a full-ride scholarship at one of the local universities.” As a student herself, Miller was thoroughly involved in theater. Working together, creative problem solving, meeting deadlines and the whole rehearsal process was an experience she treasured. “That whole group was a fantastic memory.”

The Mainstream interviews the new dean of arts and letters, Rozilyn Miller.
Gerardo Lopez, Mason Amos / The Mainstream

After high school, Miller was drawn to the field of education. “I wanted to be a speech, drama and debate teacher, and so the experience just put me on the path toward education.”

As someone who was very involved in education as a student and as an instructor, Miller enjoys UCC’s student involvement. “Seeing students who are dedicated and look like they’re getting the most out of their college experience gives me joy.“ From her new office, she often sees students interacting with each other. “I’ve got this wonderful view right here and watch students go across campus, laughing with each other, or having intense conversations and just see the connectedness students have.” 

Miller often thinks back to her days of working in big groups and the relationships she built at other schools. She hopes the students at UCC also stay connected to the friendships they make with other peers and the staff as she has. 

Miller recently sat down with UCC’s faculty members for informal discussions. With every faculty member she spoke to, she says, “There were times where I almost got teary-eyed because it was so obvious their love and dedication and commitment to really helping students achieve whatever their goal was. I love how there seems to be a team approach, and everybody is going in the right direction, and the right direction is meeting the needs of the students.” 

One of Miller’s favorite things about community college is the wide range of goals students have with some students coming back for just one class to learn something they are interested in to students interested in attaining a two year degree to transfer to a four year institution.

“I miss the students in Oklahoma,” she said, “but I have noticed that students here are much more engaged. I mean there’s just this feeling. I’m not sure I can really find the words to describe the differences between them. The students in Oklahoma just seem so burdened, but the spirit here is so different. What I see is that students seem to have this ability to see that they are going to succeed if they put all the work in.”

In her free time before moving to Roseburg, Miller owned old houses: one built in 1906, one built in 1919, and the third built in 1940. She enjoyed doing renovations as years-long projects. In addition, she enjoys reading, watching live theater, going to art museums and watching international films. 

As of now, her newest passion is exploring Oregon. “I’ve lived from the Gulf Coast to Alaska, and this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived. I’ve also lived from Southern California to Washington D.C. My goal whenever I have free time is to thoroughly explore Oregon because it was my five year plan to get here, and now that I’m here, I want to do all the exploration possible.”

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