August 24, 2021

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

I am writing to share the unfortunate news that Cheryl Miller, Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development, will be stepping down very soon from her role at Connecticut College for urgent family reasons. Her last day will be Sept. 3.

We have been able to appoint Mary Keeney, an experienced HR professional and formerly Vice President for Human Resources at the State University of New York, to serve the College in an interim capacity starting Sept. 8. A search for a permanent successor will begin immediately.

Cheryl came to lead the Office of Human Resources in 2008 with a plan to stay for five years, but the strong ethos of our community called to her and she ended up staying thirteen. During her tenure, the College launched its first staff professional development programs; regularized the process of assessing salaries; expanded employee health benefits; and implemented best practices for managing insurance and retirement plans. The HR Office introduced many business process improvements as well, including new online systems for applicant tracking, benefits enrollment, and payroll authorization.

In partnership with the Dean of the Faculty and the Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, Cheryl was instrumental in creating new anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies while also introducing required training in sexual harassment prevention within a changing Title IX landscape. With the Vice President of Finance, she helped establish the Strategic Position Review Committee to ensure that College resources were being used effectively. With the Secretary of the College, she implemented a new online portal for Board communications. And with the Staff Council, she enabled a new paid parental leave policy; expanded the terms of bereavement leave for staff; and advanced the Presidential Staff awards program. Beyond campus, she brokered an important Memorandum of Agreement with the United States Coast Guard Academy allowing the sharing of facilities, personnel, and other resources. In all these ways, she demonstrated extraordinary commitment to this College.

In 2018, Cheryl joined my office to provide support to the cabinet, the Secretary of the College, and the Board, while continuing to oversee HR. She was an invaluable resource to all of us as we worked through the myriad challenges of operating a College during a public health crisis. She drafted new policies to support staff who could not perform their duties remotely; established COVID leave to provide for families dealing with illness; and helped usher in a new partnership with Hartford HealthCare to manage College medical services. We are grateful for the loyalty, wisdom, and compassion she has brought to every aspect of her work.

With Cheryl’s departure, I have asked Amy Dooling, associate dean for global initiatives and professor of East Asian Studies, to take on an expanded role as dean of strategic and global initiatives in order to continue building inter-institutional partnerships and strengthening global teaching and research, while also supporting my office, the senior administration, and the Board of Trustees in the advancement of College priorities. Amy will begin her new duties on Sept. 6.

Meanwhile, we have retained the executive search firm Carrington & Carrington to assist us in finding the next Vice President for Human Resources. I will share more information about the search process when it becomes available.

There will be a gathering on Cheryl’s last day, Sept. 3, to honor her contributions to Connecticut College. Details about that event are forthcoming. For now, please join me in expressing our gratitude to Cheryl and our good wishes to her family.

Katherine Bergeron