By: James Fagan, Photographer
Professor Rikki Miller is a psychology professor here at USM who started teaching in 2016. Miller has been working at USM for a year and a half, and this is her third semester teaching here. Miller was happy to have been granted another one-year contract to work at USM. When her first one-year contract was reaching its end she decided that she was going to do everything in here to stay as long as possible. “I’m here for the long haul if possible,” Miller said.
Miller went to the University of Edinboro in Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree. She went to the University of New Hampshire for postgraduate study. Miller has her master’s degree in psychology and education, and her Ph.D. in psychology. For some time she thought a clinical path may be the path she wanted to take for her career, but eventually she realized that education would be a much better fit for her.
Miller feels that it is her job to know her students, and she wants them to be successful no matter where their path may take them. She feels that some students may not be ready for college, but that is okay. However, she does wish that colleges did a better job of recognizing that a student may not be ready for college, rather than just taking the student’s money. She feels like not everybody learns the same way, and that is part of the reason many students have trouble with classes, not because the classes are “too hard,” but because the students might just not learn the way a particular professor teaches.
Miller stated that, while it may seem cheesy, her son is her hero due to how her son is always able to maintain perspective. She feels her son has always been able to make her look at situations from a different view point. Miller said that her son has been able to keep her from giving up when times are rough. “He’s always been an advocate, even when it’s been hard for him to do so,” she said.
When Miller started graduate school she was having a hard time, and for a while she wanted to move back home, but her son said that they had already been in this new place for long enough that it would be unfair to be uprooted again. And while that was a sort of tough love, she feels that it is that sort of level-headedness that she really looks up to in her son.
If Miller could give her students any piece of advice, she says that she would tell them to be critical consumers of information. She thinks they shouldn’t take things as they present themselves, as everyone has motives, so when people are giving them information, it is generally motivated by their perspective, so the information will be presented in a way that favors those who are giving the information. Students should do their best to understand all information provided to them. She feels that if a student learns to properly evaluate information then they can make a difference. Miller believes that students should learn to develop opinions, not convictions, because as soon as something becomes a conviction, then students close themselves off to too many thoughts and viewpoints.