CHILLICOTHE – She’s a globetrotter a little passionate about education, languages - and horses.
“I often imagined myself traveling the world in one way or another,” said Roberta Milliken. “I had globetrotting grandparents who probably fueled this desire. I never dreamed of being Dean of Studies, but teaching and learning has always been important to me.
Today, Milliken has a doctorate. and is Dean of Campus and Community Relations at Ohio University Chillicothe.
“Education is my passion,” she noted. “It’s a job that makes sense to me. I like helping university students, faculty and staff.
Milliken grew up in Bay Village, a small town west of Cleveland.
“When I was young, I was always a good student,” she recalls. “But I also loved to ride, and I studied for a time with an excellent teacher hunter-jumper. My father and my brothers were gifted athletes, so I was also very active as a kid. This is partly what fueled my interest in riding. I was also an avid reader – and a dreamer, so I often imagined going to travel the world in one way or another.
She graduated from Bay High School in 1981, then went to Ohio University in Athens.
“I never knew exactly what I wanted to do,” she said. “I had many interests and generally liked to learn on my own. As I explored several majors, I continued to take French and English classes because I loved them both. I ended up getting a bachelor’s degree in French, then after spending a summer in Lyon, France, I came back to start my Master of Arts program in English, again at the OU in Athens.
“I got my first graduate degree in 1987, she continued, and I took a year before receiving a scholarship to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland to study medieval language literature. After a year there, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I went home to get closer to her. I ended up finishing my PhD. in language and medieval literature at the University of Toledo in 1996.
She then worked at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth for 24 years as Professor of English, Director of the Women’s Center, Chair of the Department of English and Humanities, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Milliken arrived at OU Chillicothe as Campus Dean in January 2021.
“Roberta was one of the finalists from more than 40 candidates,” said Curt McAllister, a member of the search committee that led to the hiring of Milliken. “It is differentiated by its local knowledge of Chillicothe, temperament good listening and action-oriented leader who effectively engages faculty, staff, students and the community. During his first nine months as Dean, Roberta has exceeded all expectations.
“Dean Milliken is an exceptional leader for the campus and the community,” said Laurie Sheridan Lach, director of development of regional campuses and engagement of elders. “She ensures that academic rigor is balanced with practical experiences to create exceptional learning opportunities for our students. It only takes a moment with Dr. Milliken to see his true love for learning and his passion for education.
“I am very happy with the paths my life has taken,” Milliken replied. “My interest in learning and in-depth study quickly led me on the path to higher education. I have been fortunate enough to work with great people everywhere I have been. I want to help students and teachers to be able to be successful at what they are trying to do. This is my primary motivation and my final goal.
For more information on Ohio University Chillicothe, log on to www.ohio.edu/chillicothe.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, please let us know [email protected] or 740-349-1110.