Interview with Professor Loraine Miller ’73

August 11th, 2015 Posted in Alumni News & Events

Editor’s Note: Loraine Miller ’73 was originally run in the spring/summer 2007 edition of The Spartan. Updates on this piece were made in July 2015. See Prof. Miller’s new comments throughout.

Loraine Miller and familyFaculty Profile

Business/Computer Science Professor, Loraine Miller ’73

Interviewed by Karen Merritt ’77

Updated July 2015 – with Mary Kriever ’09

What year did you graduate from Cayuga?

I graduated from Cayuga in May 1973 with an A.A.S. Degree in Secretarial Science.

When did you start working at Cayuga, and how did you get into the field of teaching computer science?

In the fall of 1990 I was hired as an adjunct to teach Principles of Accounting and Business Communications. During the fall of 1992 semester, I was asked to take over the Introduction to Computer Science class from a professor who became ill. I had some previous experience teaching computer concepts when I taught high school business and adult education application software courses. The early 1990s saw an enormous increase in the use of PCs, especially with the introduction of the World Wide Web and affordable PCs. Because of the increased demand and my growing interest in the field, I continued to build my background by taking courses in management Information Systems at SUNY Oswego and Programming courses at Cayuga. In 1999 I started a second master’s degree at Syracuse University in Information management, part-time, and expect to complete the degree by this summer. I was hired in the fall of 2000 to teach both business and computer science courses, and now most of the courses I teach are in the Computer Information Systems program. The field is constantly changing; it’s exciting to be a part of new technology and to help others learn its benefits.

July 2015: I’ve been a full-time professor since 2000 and continue to teach courses in business and computer science. My favorite courses are in application software, database management, and web design. I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with new technology, which changes at what seems like lightning speed, and I especially enjoy working with students. Since 2009 I have served as Division Chair for the Behavioral/Social Science division which includes business, criminal justice, teacher education, behavioral and social sciences, and health and physical education. In this position I oversee faculty and work with administration to move the college forward in its mission.

Do you remember any of your classmates or professors that made an impression on you?

Since I graduated over 30 years ago from Cayuga, most professors are retired, but some only recently. The professors I remember best are Marge Miele, Helen Mahon, Bill Barth, and Don Fama. Marge and Helen taught courses in the Secretarial Science program, and both impressed me as knowledgeable, caring, and as outstanding teachers. Marge especially helped me realize my potential and built my confidence to pursue higher education after Cayuga. Bill Barth, who I feel is my role model as a professor, retired a couple of years ago, but still teaches part-time. He is detailed, thorough, and challenges student to learn all they can about a subject. It is almost impossible to follow in Bill’s footsteps, but I am honored to do so. Probably the professor who has had the most impact on my career is Don Fama. During the 1990s when I was trying to build some background in computer science and math, I had Don as a professor. He is by far the most dedicated, student-oriented, and visionary teacher I’ve known. Now as my colleague, his encouragement, camaraderie, and knowledge of the field keep me motivated and continue to help me develop professionally.

July 2015: I continue to credit my professors at ACC/CCC with success in my teaching career. I gained the foundation, the confidence, and drive to make education a life goal. These professors were my role models and I continue to use their philosophies and perspectives in teaching students today.

How does it feel to be a professor here after being a student here?

I feel at home at Cayuga. It is a friendly, caring, family-like environment. The faculty and administration are very supportive. The students are a pleasure to work with. The best part of my job comes from helping students who enter a class with little confidence and skill and walk away with the confidence and skill to continue their education or enter the job market.

July 2015: As a student it is hard to see the big picture. Continuing my education opened so many doors for me. I love to encourage students to learn about all their opportunities, work toward goals, and “think big”. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than hearing about the success stories of our graduates.

General feelings or comments about Cayuga that you would like to share?

One thing that impressed me most about Cayuga was the opportunity to meet other students and “socialize.” We would gather in the cafeteria, the student lounge, or the basement of the library building (during the 1970s there were vending machines and an open area to talk). These places, especially the cafeteria, were packed with students between classes during the day (especially the on days we held student protest against the Vietnam War but that’s another story!)

Today the cafeteria and student lounge are mostly empty and the basement of the library houses our AV equipment. The library itself and the Academic Support Center have become places to gather to study. I’m really excited about the renovations that started last year. The bookstore, cafeteria and the “cybercafé” will all be in the same area, and I hope that encourages student to come together to talk, study, and make friends. Half of the college experience and what is most memorable is the people you meet!

July 2015: Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working on the new mission and strategic plan for Cayuga. It has been a bottom-up process where we asked all our employees what makes CCC great – the dedication of the faculty and staff, the focus on student success, our proud alumni, and our community support. All of these values are built into our new mission and vision as follows:

We are Cayuga Community College, dedicated to providing students with diverse learning opportunities to discover their passions and advance their personal and professional growth.

Recognized as an essential educational resource for the region, Cayuga Community College will develop engaged citizens and improve our communities through effective leadership, robust educational programs, community partnerships, and state-of-the-art facilities.

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