By Past-President Gwen Kay
In the before times (before SUNY System Administration), Teresa “Teri” Miller was on faculty at University of Buffalo’s law school. In addition to teaching, she was an advocate for those imprisoned. Her work for social justice and equity led her to administrative work, serving as vice president for diversity before every campus was required to have such a position.
Teri first came to SUNY System Administration to serve as former Chancellor Kristina Johnson’s chief of staff. In this position, she was able to leverage her commitment to diversity with Johnson’s. PRODiG – Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth – was part of her portfolio. The goal of the plan was, and is, to increase representation of historically under-represented faculty at all of our campuses. From her work at University at Buffalo, Teri understood that cohorts and community helped recruitment and retention of faculty, so she pushed for cluster hires as a key part of PRODiG.
When the former SUNY Chief Diversity Officer, and head of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion announced his retirement, Teri was the logical person to step up to that role. She continued her work with PRODiG, making tweaks and improving the program each year. She organized SUNY’s Diversity conference, and had a day just for the PRODiG faculty, to continue to build community across our many campuses.
Teri helped campuses, and their chief diversity officers, respond to challenges and crises. Her commitment to engage, and willingness to listen first enabled her to offer support and guidance in a non-threatening, but very effective way. She reached out to faculty governance, both UFS and FCCC, as an active partner for task forces, and for on-the-ground help with campus incidents. In response to Chancellor Malatras and the Board of Trusees, she worked with many partners to create a Diversity Action Plan.
In Teri, UFS had an ally and partner for our goals around equity, around social justice, around inclusion, and around diversity. She was quick to respond to our queries, always willing to talk with us about ODEI initiatives and PRODiG progress updates. We have truly lost a friend and partner in DEI work with her loss.
"Teresa A. "Teri" Miller, 59, promoted diversity as UB provost, SUNY executive", Buffalo News, 1 September 2021
"Longtime UB faculty member, diversity advocate Teresa Miller dies at 59", University at Buffalo Campus News