Chavonda Mills, PhD
Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Georgia College
HERS Institute Alumna, Class of 2016
We are excited to introduce the HERS Network Spotlight interview series. Within each newsletter we will feature a member of our greater HERS family who is making a profound impact in helping us all live the HERS mission.
As a HERS Institute alumna and past Institute faculty member, Chavonda Mills, Ph.D. has made incredible strides in her career. She came to the HERS Institute as a professor of chemistry and as Presiding Officer of the university senate at Georgia College. She now serves as the Dean of the School of Science and Technology at Georgia Gwinnett College. We were fortunate to chat with Chavonda about her HERS Institute experience and how it helped her move forward in her career within higher ed.
What did you value the most during your time at the HERS Institute?
The HERS curriculum provided an in-depth look at higher education and leadership development. And, the residential program afforded me the time to reflect on and digest the breadth of information presented by HERS faculty. Being in the company of women who were in various positions in their careers provided the opportunity to learn about them and their experiences, all of which helped to inform my decision to pursue administration.
Why would you encourage other women to attend?
Networking is the most critical component of HERS. You immediately are embraced by a network of 60+ women leaders or aspiring leaders, and in higher ed, you don’t get that opportunity often. The HERS Network is expansive and it creates an immediate sense of community.
What advice would you give to a woman in higher ed who wants to advance their career?
You belong here. Oftentimes women in higher ed experience the impostor syndrome and it stifles one’s ability to advance. As women, we second guess if we belong in leadership positions. We can’t pave the pathways for those who come next, if we don’t believe we should be here. We are not going anywhere, we are not going to leave, and we are not going to be pushed out. The more we say and live that, the bigger the difference we can make in shaping the future of higher education.