Q&A with Jean Ann Miller: Walks with Campus Leaders

On May 9, Oakland Post photographer Bohdanna Cherstylo attended the third of five Walks with Campus Leaders scheduled for this spring. The walk was led by Jean Ann Miller, director for the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development (CSA). 

The Walks with Campus Leaders series is organized by Stephanie Willis, Campus Recreation wellness and educational outreach coordinator. Each walk is led by a different campus leader. Previous walks have been led by Dr. Alison Hynd and Housing residence directors

Cherstylo spoke with Miller about her role on campus, experience leading the walk and upcoming plans for the CSA. 

When it comes to your role, what would you say is a summary of what you do?

Miller: We get the students engaged on campus, outside of the classroom. So, making sure that they’re very well-rounded and really practice what they do in the classroom and getting involved on campus or being involved with a student organization is a hands-on experience.

Why do you believe that these walks are important for our campus?

Miller: Well, it gives you a sense of pride about what your campus is all about and how it looks and who’s a part of it. Plus you’re healthy, it promotes that healthy lifestyle. It is kind of best of both worlds and what better than to start at Elliott Tower, our new center point of campus.

Did you plan your walking route beforehand or just make it up as you go?

Miller: I did, I did [plan it out] … I wanted to check the time and make sure that it was appropriate because people are [walking] during their lunch hour and I don’t want to go over and I don’t want to go under, either.

Do you think that these walks reach out to the students as well?

Miller: I think that it is a really good idea. It’s just a matter of availability. Today is the first day of school obviously for everybody. So, they are all going to their first classes, first day of the semester, so a lot of staff are involved with that transition.

How do you think that students can become more involved in the walks?

Miller: Incentives [laughs]. What would be a great incentive for them is to walk, but also maybe an incentive is who they are walking with. If they would have a key administrator or key professor and then they can walk and talk at the same time like we did, it shows just how awesome Oakland University happens to be, how important students are, and how important it is to communicate with other people on campus.

For the summer, what plans does the CSA have?

Miller: For us, we have a leadership institute. That’s for sophomores, juniors, seniors, grad students that want to enhance their leadership skills, especially if they’re involved in a student org and meet other students from other student orgs. So, it is like a leadership camp, literally a camp. It’s up in Lapeer for a whole weekend and we’re doing a low ropes course and just a lot of different opportunities to talk with one another and share ideas or maybe brainstorm some new ideas. That’s one thing that we are doing, and then of course we help promote the Elliott Tower concert series that they have. I haven’t seen yet if they started it, but hopefully it’s online. Usually it comes from the College of Arts and Sciences.

What are you most excited for in the summer?

Well I teach, so I’m super excited in terms of teaching Summer I and Summer II, and my first class is tomorrow night and it’s a large class, and so I always get excited because I get to interact with students on a whole different perspective than just the engagement part. This is the academic side, so it’s best of all worlds. I teach – you’re going to laugh – Stress Management. It’s under Exercise Science and it’s a two-credit class where we meet on Tuesday night. But it’s just really fun because it’s, like I said, a different way to interact with students and I’d like to see the holistic side of students.

Upcoming Walks with Campus Leaders are listed below. All walks gather at 12:00 p.m. at the Elliott Tower. 

  • June 7 – University Rec & Well-Being
  • June 9 – Scott Kunselman, chief operating officer
  • June 24 – Patricia Wren, program director of the Health Sciences and Applied Health Sciences Programs