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Mills College Student Priorities

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Overview of Mills College

Mills College is a liberal arts and sciences college located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mills was founded as the Young Ladies Seminary in 1852 in Benicia, California. The school was relocated to Oakland, California, in 1871, and became the first women's college west of the Rockies. Currently, Mills is an undergraduate women's college with graduate programs for women and men. The college offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors and over 25 graduate degrees, certificates, and credentials. The college is also home to the Mills College School of Education and the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business & Public Policy.

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills sixth overall among colleges and universities in the Western U.S. (regional universities) and one of the top colleges and universities in the Western U.S. in "Great Schools, Great Prices," which evaluated the quality of institutions' academics against the cost of attendance. The Princeton Review ranks Mills as one of the Best 380 Colleges and one of the top "green" colleges in the U.S. Washington Monthly ranks Mills as one of the top 10 master's universities in the U.S.

UIF at Mills

In the Spring of 2018, 4 Mills undergraduate students had the pleasure of undergoing training facilitated by the University Innovations Fellows. The learning experiences they gained from training spurred innovation and the production of four projects.

Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Mills

While, Mills College is committed to their social justice ideals there are areas in the Landscape Canva where Mills still needs further development. In the discover section of the canvas, we noticed that there are a greater opportunity for Mills students to engage with other students, faculty and staff. For example, the Social Justice and Leadership Conference was organized in collaboration with the staff of The Center for Leadership, Excellence and Equity and student leaders (including from the Division of Student Life and Activities). On the other hand, in our landscape canva shed light that Mills College had few opportunities for students to engage in hands on experience that is accessible to all students.  

Faculty Innovation

Mills College Faculty Members are involved in a number projects, often times requiring faculty members to take a sabbatical leave. A large number of research opportunities come from the STEM departments disproportionately.

Technology at Mills

Apple Pilot Program- Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, Mills College implemented a test run for the Apple pilot program that granted iPads to students. Students in certain pilot classes, including Ethnic Studies’ Comparative Ethnic Literature; SAW (Summer Academic Workshop); and Hellman. The Summer Academic Workshop (SAW) is a program that started in the summer before the students first year of college that follows them through SAW seminar into the incoming school year. Similarly,  Hellman is a STEM focused summer program that helps first year students prepare for college level science.

University-industry collaboration

Mils College is still developing their partnership with commercial entities as they want to align their values with their partnerships they seek.

Regional and local economic development efforts

The Peralta Promise was one of the first steps that Mills College took to be proactive in bridging the relationship that Mills and the wider Oakland community should have. The Peralta partnership establishes dual admissions for students who desire to pursue both an associate’s degree and baccalaureate degree with Peralta Colleges and at Mills College.


Food Pantry by Emmely

Strategy- 2 year Plan

  • Establishing a Food Pantry on campus takes a lot of effort, advocacy and collaboration which can take an extended amount of time. In order to accomodate how slow change is in higher education I have developed a 2-3 year plan.
  • For the first couple of month (1-6 months) will hold as the listening and data collecting period. A Food Insecurity Survey will be sent out to the larger student population (Faculty and Staff will be included in the survey at a later period) so data can be collected that will be added to our proposal to the Board of Trustees. Listening sessions, also known as a Town Hall, will be handled by Student Leaders/The Associated Students of Mills College with the intention of having a dialogue on students concerns around Food Insecurity at Mills and gather feedback.
  • Following this, we will set up a dry foods “soup pantry” that can be housed in the Associated Students’ Leadership Lounge as we work on the grand opening of the Food Pantry.
  • A final Draft of the proposal to the Board of Trustees will be presented to the Board for a vote.  

Undocumented Resource Center by Jessica

  • It is important to provide a physical space for undocumented students because out of fear many will not know where and to who to reach out when a situation happens. I want that space to also provide for the community because they are a part of Mills and we should be catering to their needs and make sure that they are also getting the support that they need.

Research at Mills by Tamika

  • Add more opportunities for students to be involved in research on campus. Research is a way for students to have a more hands on learning experience, and can better the quality of their learning.
  • After speaking to the provost we have learned that most of the research is focus in stem based majors. The purpose of this project is to allow all students on campus to have the opportunity to do research alongside their professors.
  • Ways to do this
    • Training for students and faculty to become apart of research. There should be requirements for students who want to be apart of research with professors.

Retention at Mills by McKenzi

In order to combat the retention rate at Mills with regards students staying on campus, I would implement surveys and do some investigation into small private institution schools that have had the same problem. I would try to figure out how they combated this issue and use their findings to towards solving the retention rate problem here. With regards to the retention rate, I will be solely focusing on students remaining at mills on the weekend and the overall comfortability that students have in this institution. Although Mills has a larger problem with students re-enrolling into the school I believe that is out of my jurisdiction for now. I would first like to focus on students finding enjoyment on the campus before solving the issue of students returning. I am approaching retention in this manner with the hope that solving the first issue with put a spark in solving the second issue.  Before approaching this issue I plan to continue doing research into what is already being implemented here and work alongside those that have noticed this issue and are devoted to finding a solution to this problem. After hearing the responses from the students and finding more research into the problem I would like the bring issue to the whole student in our student forum, which is our electronic daily newsletter. Having the whole school notified about this student and cause students who want to be involved in the innovation project to step forward. This will allow Mills students to find even more unity by solving this issue together which again might positively affect the retention rate.