How long have you worked at Buffalo State College and, if applicable, what other areas have you worked/positions have you served?
I started as an assistant professor in biology in January 2003 (So, I have been here exactly 16 years). I have been assistant, associate, and now a full professor in biology. I was also the chair of the College Senate for two years and have served as chair or member of many committees. For the last two years, I have been the interim director of the Honors Program.
What motivates you to provide excellent services for your colleagues, students, and supervisor?
I am passionate about educating our students and providing the best possible experience for them around that education. I believe strongly in providing opportunities for our students and have worked with many many students on research projects. Now with Honors, I can impact even more students by providing an excellent, interactive Honors Program. Seeing students move on to great careers or graduate school is incredibly motivating. Watching students grow from insecure, immature thinkers to capable, confident, educated human beings is the very best part of my job! I also have great personal satisfaction in working hard and accomplishing goals.
What personal philosophy about working with others guides your day-to-day work?
Everyone is important and everyone can teach me something. Students in my classes and labs bring diverse and interesting perspectives and keep me young, and colleagues bring ideas and experiences to each committee I am on or workshop I am in. My philosophy is to always be learning and I appreciate what each individual brings to contribute to that learning process.
What do you do when you are not working?
I love to contra dance, read, go to musical theater and concerts, hang out with my cats, hike, and experience nature. And I try to see my daughter in New York City whenever I can!
Dr. McMillan pours her heart and soul into our students, with consideration and kindness. She gives each student her individual time and attention. She plans for the Honors students to attend events on and off campus. These events enrichen the student’s experiences, semester after semester. Often, these take place after normal work hours or on weekends, but she arranges her schedule so that she can attend with the students.
Afterward, she speaks with them to get their thoughts and feelings. She works late, comes in early, and works weekends. Her motivation? Giving her Honors students, biology students, the Honors Program, and the college her best. Recently a student brought to Dr. McMillan the idea to encourage the campus to participate in doing a “Random Act of Kindness.” Dr. McMillan took the ball and ran. In a short period of time, she had flyers made and distributed them to many departments campuswide.
Dr. McMillan's example makes me want to work hard right alongside her. Her appreciation stirs within me the conviction to continue to give the students my best. I can’t think of any way I could repay her for giving me this opportunity, for the kindness, warmth, and inclusion she has extended to me. I continue to do my best and hope she understands the gravity of my appreciation.
She addresses students, faculty, staff, and administrators, with respect. She is welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds and treats everyone with dignity and respect.
Recently, well-known civil rights strategist Diane Nash came here to speak. Not only did Dr. McMillan actively encourage participation but she expressed, adamantly to the Honors students the need for them to attend this event. I attended this event and it was a cultural educational experience which all students would have benefited.
Dr. McMillan has engaged her class to openly discuss and express their thoughts on current and community events. She uses these opportunities to open the minds of the students. She presents the facts and asks questions to help the students analyze the facts. She enlightens the students and helps them appreciate a situation from a different perspective. Dr. McMillan has expressed that she wants the students to feel welcome to come to us for assistance and that we want to support faculty.
She is positive, energetic and a beacon of light. She fosters a positive work environment with her cheerful disposition and her charismatic personality. It is an utter joy to work with her each and every day.
Dr. McMillan can be found on campus or with students at off-campus activities almost every day of the semester. She is engaged and engages students in so many ways beginning at summer orientation sessions when she graciously welcomes each and every student and their parents while providing valuable information about the program and college. This continues when the students arrive on move-in day. She was there bearing gifts and greeting students and families. On the Friday of the first week of school, she hosted a BBQ for all Honors students and created an atmosphere of engagement and inclusion. The students shared a meal, played games, learned about the opportunities and activities in store for the semester.
She always has a smile and a warm greeting, while still instilling discipline and hard work as core values of the students' time at college. She engaged students in activities throughout the semester: Bengal Dare to Care; the Donor Breakfast; Homecoming; the Babel Speaker Series, bringing students to Kleinhans twice this semester; and the Honors Golf Outing. She brings all the faculty in Honors together at least twice a semester to share ideas and time with each other. She has created an Honors Advisory Board of constituents across campus to generate ideas and collaborate on what's best for the students in the program. There is an engaged culture of active students in Honors because of her work.
Dr. McMillan is in a temporary position as the director of the Honors Program. This has not stopped her from working tirelessly for two years to create the best program she can within the constraints of limited budget and personnel. Through it all, she has remained positive and continues to champion change while understanding change is sometimes slow. She has done many things and spent many hours on curriculum changes, global experiences, Bishop Hall, just to have the work questioned after the fact or riddled with new hurdles each day.
Through it all, she continues to understand the reasons and stay positive, even when others around her may display negativity. She wants the Honors Program to be on the forefront and as such attends the National Collegiate Honors Conference each year to bring back the latest and greatest happening in honors programs throughout the nation. When told there would be a national search for the director's position, she did not complain or ask why or stop moving forward with new directives, she matter-of-factly set to decide if she would apply. Her flexibility and adaptability are two of her greatest strengths and they have proven necessary every day as she has been tasked with growing and creating a new Honors Program at Buffalo State.
Dr. McMillan is accommodating and welcoming to all students, staff, and parents that she comes into contact with. I have seen her work long, tireless hours dedicating her time and energy to the Honors Program. She pushes me—her graduate assistant—to meet deadlines and prioritize students as much as she can. She is an "Act-of-Kindness" superstar! Thank you for your dedication to the Honor's Program- Thank you for advocating for us all!
Back to Top
Some content on this page is saved in PDF format. To view these files, download Adobe Acrobat Reader free. If you are having trouble reading a document, request an accessible copy of the PDF or Word Document.