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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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Miller to be Honored with Governor's Excellence in Education Award

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 13, 2013) – Longtime University of Central Missouri professor Dane Miller is known for his strong sense of humor, wit and teaching style that challenges students to think critically. His service to the university and his contributions to providing a quality education experience have contributed to his recognition as UCM’s recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.

Dane Miller
Dane Miller

An educator who dedicated 35 years to students in the Department of Criminal Justice, Miller will be honored during a luncheon hosted by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Wednesday, April 3, at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also will be recognized Thursday, March 21 by UCM’s Board of Governors. Recognition takes place during the board’s plenary session at 1 p.m. in Elliott Union 237B. 

Public colleges and universities select Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipients on the basis of criteria that include effective teaching at the undergraduate level, effective advising of undergraduate students, service to the college community, and commitment to high standards of excellence. Other qualities include success in nurturing student achievement and the impact nominees have had on the academic and personal lives of their students. Applications for the award were considered by a committee of tenured faculty members.

Summarizing why Miller was selected for the award, the committee noted that Miller is not only an excellent role model but a “nurturing and engaging teacher who consistently reaches beyond the classroom to bring his students the best possible learning environment enriched by his scholarship, experiences, passion and dedication.”

Miller, who has a juris doctorate from Saint Louis University, has taught a number of graduate and undergraduate courses ranging from Introduction to Criminal Justice and the Criminal Court System to subjects such as Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence and Courtroom Procedure, and Law of Corrections and Prisoners’ Rights. He also serves as faculty advisor to the Pre-law Student Organization, as a faculty mentor and research advisor to the

McNair Scholars Program, and heads the inter-disciplinary UCM Legal Studies Program.

Miller’s colleagues who nominated him for the award cited his reputation for being a tough teacher who continually receives high praise in annual student evaluations of department faculty. His unique sense for identifying potential in students has contributed to many of them pursuing law school or post-graduate education after leaving the university. One of those students, Scott Chenault, went on to become an assistant professor in the same department as Miller.

“Dane’s belief in my abilities was a driving force behind my completion of a Ph.D. program,” Chenault wrote in a letter of support for his colleague. “I am confident there are hundreds, or perhaps thousands of other students with similar stories.”

In addition to teaching, Miller has been instrumental in bringing the Missouri Court of Appeals to the UCM campus each fall to allow students to see the judicial process in action, and he has played a key role in an ongoing relationship between the criminal justice department and the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Whiteman Air Force Base JAG Corp. This has led to campus classes co-taught by representatives of these entities and an opportunity to gain more in-depth practical analysis of these agencies.

Miller has participated in numerous campus committees, and off campus he has served as co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Corrections, member of the Missouri Sentencing Commission, and member of the Missouri Highway Patrol Community Alliance Board.

Miller has a reputation for caring about students, which extends well beyond the classroom. He and his wife often invite international students who stay on campus to join them in their home during the holiday season.

In commenting about the award, the longtime UCM professor said he is thankful for being selected. He said he considers his colleagues in the Department of Criminal Justice to be among the university’s many superb teachers.

“Simply being nominated by them is a distinct honor,” Miller noted. “Their nomination, however, also has given me an opportunity to go over evaluations and assessments of my teaching over the years and to recall how rewarding those years have been. For that I am especially grateful.”

Miller is a UCM alumnus. He graduated from the university in 1977 with a master’s degree in criminal justice administration, and also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau in 1972.