Glenna Frank Miller and Gregory Peoples named interim co-directors of Office of Student Engagement
Miller and Peoples bring more than 40 years of student affairs experience each to UM-Dearborn.
With 40 years of student affairs experience each, interim Office for Student Engagement co-Directors Gregory Peoples and Glenna Frank Miller know how to build a strong campus community.
“An inclusive, hands-on approach to campus life gives way to fresh ideas, buy-in and involvement. Especially for students,” Miller said.
Coming out of retirement to lead the Office for Student Engagement (OSE) through a time of administrative transition, Peoples and Miller said UM-Dearborn’s welcoming, diverse campus with its commitment to Metropolitan Impact was the right opportunity at the right time.
“Retirement is great, but this is what I love to do,” said Peoples, who retired with Miller from Eastern Michigan University in 2013. “Getting involved as an undergraduate helped me, personally, in so many ways. It shaped my career trajectory and helped me get to where I am today. Student learning outside of the classroom is essential. You gain life-long skills that can be applied to work, family, community.”
Miller and Peoples oversee all areas of student engagement—campus activities, residential engagement, Greek Life, diversity programs, civic engagement, LGBTQ and inclusion.
The duo—who began working together in the 1970s—have met with members of the UM-Dearborn community and started making small strategic changes in the University Center. For example, some student-focused areas have changed, based on suggestions shared with the co-directors.
Among them, the Media Center and The Michigan Journal office are now across from each other on the University Center second floor to allow for computer access to student writers who may not have the technology at home. And to reinforce the importance of the InCLUDE programming space, it has moved next to the OSE office and has an area for both LGBT inclusion and multicultural inclusion.
“We were given thoughtful input from people who use these areas and we’ve run with it,” Miller said. “People support and become involved with what they help to create. And when the student voice is reflected, I believe it makes for an even stronger institution.”
In their interim role as co-directors, they are also focused on hiring the right people for open positions, building upon UM-Dearborn’s student affairs foundation and giving students a welcoming place for their ideas to be shared.
“The student voice is essential and we must give them ways to amplify it,” Miller said. “The Office for Student Engagement is an important place for learning outside the classroom. Come, get involved and make a positive difference here at the UM-Dearborn.”
And students who make that difference develop competencies—like leadership, teamwork, cultural competence and action orientation— gain essential knowledge that will positively impact their families, communities and the workplace.
Peoples, who recently provided guidance at this summer’s Ross School of Business LEAD Program in Ann Arbor, said he heard from the professionals in attendance share why it’s so important for students to be engaged in activities outside of the classroom.
“The academic record of the student is important, but equally important when looking to hire were the student's demonstrated leadership skills, as well as their ability to be a team player. That is why the Office for Student Engagement is so important,” Peoples said. “The latter two criteria come from a student's involvement in outside-of-the-classroom opportunities. And those experiences have the ability to change the trajectory of one’s life.”