April 16, 2018
Geoffrey S. Mearns, the president of Ball State University, has selected Dr. Susana Rivera-Mills to serve as the new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. She will begin her service on July 1. In her position, she will oversee all academic colleges and units and play a crucial role in the development and implementation of a new strategic plan for the University.
“Susana is the right person to fill our University’s role as chief academic officer because of her extensive experience in higher education and her passion for preparing students to have successful careers and to lead meaningful lives,” said President Mearns. “Susana is committed to creating a learning environment that enables all students to reach their full potential, and she has a proven track record for developing the types of programs and building the necessary partnerships that will enable our University to fulfill our aspirational mission.”
Dr. Rivera-Mills joins Ball State from Oregon State University, where she has taught and served in various administrative roles, most recently as vice provost for academic programs and learning innovation. She earned a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Iowa, and she received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.
“My vision is to create a learning environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential,” said Dr. Rivera-Mills. “We will implement this vision through collaboration from all campus units, building partnerships, focusing efforts to strengthen existing programs, identifying synergies, and establishing a clear road map.”
Dr. Rivera-Mills is a native of El Salvador and came to the United States as a young girl, not knowing how to speak English. Her experiences as an immigrant and first-generation college student shaped the trajectory of her career. She also illustrates the transformative power of education, which is at the heart of the mission of Ball State.
Dr. Rivera-Mills is also passionate about community engagement. Her desire to connect universities with surrounding communities has been the impetus for her scholarly research, which has focused on Latino communities, Spanish language and culture, and issues in sociolinguistics.
“What I have valued the most is being at a university whose mission positions us to serve communities,” said Dr. Rivera-Mills. “I am a builder by nature. I enjoy building partnerships and fostering a sense of community that creates a collective vision. I think Ball State University will allow me to continue my commitment to serve communities, promote positive town and gown relationships, and address a broader range of needs to advance the public good in a significant way.”
Dr. Rivera-Mills’ hiring follows a six-month national search led by an internal search committee whose members worked with a search firm to generate a large pool of qualified, diverse candidates for the position.