Don Mills watches his students present their semester projects with a smile on his face and grading sheet in hand. After 17 years of being a leader in all student affairs issues at TCU, Mills has decided to “retire” to the classroom.
Graduate student Kyle Arnold worked with Mills when he was vice chancellor and currently has Mills as a professor. Arnold said that he enjoys having more one-on-one time to learn from Mills now that he doesn’t have the countless responsibilities that come with the title of vice chancellor. “He’s definitely slowed down a bit,” Arnold said. “You can definitely see a more relaxed approach, which is nice because he has a lot to offer in the professor role, and I think he’s getting to do that and fulfill those parts of his career.”
Mills stepped down as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in June, after serving in the position for the past 17 years. He is now on the faculty of the College of Education as distinguished professor of educational leadership. This title was given to him in honor of his vast experience in the field of student affairs.
“It’s certainly been a good change for me,” Mills said. “I had been an administrator for over 40 years, and I knew I wanted to do something else before I decided to retire and this opportunity presented itself to me. It’s been really terrific to work with new colleagues and work with another part of higher education.”
Graduate student Alexis Branaman worked with Mills in Student Leadership when he was vice chancellor. She now has Mills as a professor and said she felt honored to be taught by a professor with a prestigious history of work in student affairs.
“Dr. Mills has a really good idea of how all the departments interact together and how they are going to affect each other,” Branaman said. “This helps his students learn how to be an effective student affairs professional.”
In addition to Mills’ position as vice chancellor, he has also served the university as director of housing and associate vice chancellor. Mills said all of the positions helped him gain a better understanding of students and culture at TCU.
Mills said he plans to continue working with student affairs projects in the future and would like to create and oversee a doctoral program in higher education in the next couple of years.