Steele Stepping Down, Bound for California
Susan Steele has worked at UConn for less than four years, but when she departs to become provost at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., on June 1, she will leave behind a decade's worth of progress.
"Susan's energy and commitment have taken the undergraduate enterprise to the next level in what is, in the academic world, an extremely small amount of time," says Chancellor John D. Petersen. "We will miss her enthusiasm and perseverance."
Steele, UConn's first vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction, announced her departure last month. The appointment of an interim vice provost will be announced shortly.
During Steele's service at UConn, she spearheaded the creation of a new set of General Education Requirements, reorganized the academic advising system into the Academic Center for Entering Students (ACES), opened a dialogue with faculty from Connecticut's 12 community colleges that will enhance the ability of students from those institutions to transfer into UConn, and headed the committee that has shepherded the design and planning process for The Learning Center, a comprehensive collection of academic and career-oriented offices and labs that will be housed in what is now the School of Business Administration building.
Steele also worked extensively with Keith Barker, associate vice provost for undergraduate education and director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning, to develop effective mechanisms to help improve teaching, especially through the use of information technology in the classroom.
Now Steele returns to California, where she grew up, to take the number two slot in a private college with 1,000 female undergraduat es and several hundred students enrolled in a co-educational graduate school.
"My long-term goal was to become a provost," Steele says. "I thought it would take longer to accomplish that goal, but this job came along and it was a good fit."
Steele says she will miss UConn, which, she says, has gone through a period of profound change.
"When I look back, I see a place that I thought had tremendous potential and it has really moved fast to achieve that potential," she says. "I'm delighted to have contributed to that growth."
At Mills College, Steele says, her challenges will include increasing undergraduate enrollment, restructuring the academic enterprise, and improving the administrative structure. The more than 150-year-old college also is in the midst of a $100 million capital campaign.
A reception will be held in Steele's honor on Thursday, May 10, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the William Benton Museum of Art.