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Alumni Spotlight

October 5, 2018

This week we are proud to highlight an inspirational alum, Susana Rivera-Mills.  Dr. Rivera-Mills graduated UNM in 1998 with a PhD in Romance Languages.  She received some exciting news over the summer, becoming the Provost and Executive Vice President of Ball State University in July. 

Dr. Rivera-Mills writes of her time at UNM:

“My education and training at UNM prepared me not just to be a professional in my discipline, but for the unknown world of administration. As Provost and Executive Vice President, I have used my research skills numerous times to strategize, move projects forward, implement initiatives, and strategically use data to inform decisions at my institution. What UNM instilled in me more than anything was a love for learning as a scholar, teacher, and professional. 

“I have fond memories of my professors, our intellectual exchanges, and of course, how could I ever forget New Mexico’s green chili and sopapillas!!! My family and I still return to New Mexico once a year to get our green chili and sopapilla fix!! I am proud to be a Lobo, and carry UNM in my heart!”

Susana Rivera-Mills became Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, in July 2018.

At Ball State, she oversees the academic mission of the university and plays a vital role in academic planning. As a first-generation college student, Susana understands the transformative power of education. As Chief Academic Officer, Susana oversees all academic units, is in charge of implementing the strategic plan for the university, aligning the plan with financial and human resources, leading the strategic planning of academic programs, and promoting a culture of collaboration that values a community that is diverse, seeks equity and inclusivity.  In addition, she works closely with the President and other leaders and stakeholders to support and advance excellence in all areas at Ball State. Susana has extensive administrative experience, and is passionate about connecting universities to their communities. Her goal is to create a learning environment where all students can access a high-quality education and succeed in order to reach their full potential.

Dr. Rivera-Mills’ prior administrative experience includes serving as Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Learning Innovation at Oregon State University. At OSU, she was involved in developing mentoring and leadership programs for faculty and students, building community partnerships, advancing student engagement and success strategies, supporting leadership development in higher education nationally, promoting internationalization, participating in engaged research, and advancing initiatives around equity and inclusion. As Vice Provost, her main objective at OSU was to promote and improve student success at OSU, a critical element of the university’s Strategic Plan, with a particular emphasis on increasing and equalizing retention and graduation rates across all student populations. In her role as Vice Provost, she advanced university goals for student success, worked in partnership with academic colleges, Student Affairs, Faculty Affairs, and Information Services. She also coordinated the development and enhancement of high-impact educational practices, the use of data analytics to inform decision-making, and strategic planning for enrollment and academic programs. Susana oversaw a suite of units, including Enrollment Management, Extended Campus, ROTC, Academic Programs, Assessment & Curricular Processes, the Center for Teaching & Learning, and Study Abroad. 

Dr. Rivera-Mills earned her bachelor’s in Spanish and a master’s in Spanish linguistics from the University of Iowa. Her doctorate is from the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on Latino communities, Spanish language and culture, issues in sociolinguistics, as well as online teaching and learning. She has published several books and numerous articles on related topics.

Congratulations Dr. Rivera-Mills on all your great accomplishments!