College appoints new assistant vice president for graduate and extended learning

SUNY New Paltz announces the appointment of Dr. Shala Mills as the College’s new assistant vice president for graduate and extended learning after a competitive national search. She will assume her new role on August 28. Mills currently serves as director of liberal education and chair and professor of political science, at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

As the assistant vice president for graduate and extended learning at SUNY New Paltz, Mills will provide leadership to our programs in graduate and extended learning, including summer session, winter session, online and hybrid courses, and extension programs. She will work closely with academic departments across the College, as well as with the Center for International Programs, to support the College’s goals of providing high-quality educational opportunities to a wide range of students throughout the region and beyond.

“Dr. Mills is eager to work with the campus community in continuing its excellent graduate programming and further developing online and hybrid programs for students at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lorin Basden Arnold. “Her enthusiasm and experience in leading initiatives that capitalize on multiple teaching modalities will serve us well as we work to provide an excellent education to students, in the region and beyond.”

Mills has provided leadership to a variety of curricular initiatives while at Fort Hays University (FHSU). She helped guide the process of revising the University’s Liberal and General Education Program, led the Department of Political Science as it expanded its undergraduate program into the online environment, and shepherded growth in several primarily online interdisciplinary Masters of Liberal Studies and Masters of Professional Studies programs.  She also created the Political Science Department’s dual degree program with Shenyang Normal University in China.

Mills has taught courses in the areas of law and the courts, current political issues, sustainability, food and politics, and global challenges.  She has served as one of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Global Engagement Scholars, as the National Coordinator for the AASCU Global Challenges Project, and spent her 2015-16 sabbatical serving as the National Manager for AASCU’s Blended Course Consortium. Her most recent publications and presentations have covered global challenges, academic assessment and leadership, and new models for educating students.

At FHSU she has been engaged in a wide range of service activities including leading FHSU’s Food and Hunger Initiatives and managing FHSU’s two-year Healthy Living Grant with the Kansas Health Foundation.  Civic engagement is one of her core values, permeating her teaching, scholarship and service, and leading her to involvement in the AASCU American Democracy Project where she serves on the National Steering Committee.  In 2017, Mills was the recipient of the AASCU American Democracy Project Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement.

Mills looks forward to joining SUNY New Paltz in the role of assistant vice president for graduate and extended learning. Commenting on her appointment, she said, “It is clear that SUNY New Paltz shares my commitment to high quality liberal education.  I look forward to helping the university expand its reputation for excellence by increasing opportunities to better meet the needs of students.”

Mills holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Baylor University in Texas and she earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas.