Instructure names UVU's Dr. Ronald Miller as One of Six 2022 Educators of the Year

Utah Valley University professor Dr. Ronald Miller was named one of Instructure’s 2022 Educators of the Year, a prestigious annual award.


Utah Valley University’s (UVU) very own Dr. Ronald Miller was named one of six of Instructure’s 2022 Educators of the Year, a prestigious annual award. Out of several impressive nominations this year, Instructure chose six educators who best demonstrate dedication to and love for their students, as well as passion for quality education.

“To be honest, I feel grateful, but I also feel very indebted to the people I've learned from,” Miller said. “Teachers who give examples of what they've done well, as well as students who give feedback as to, ‘Hey, this is working,’ or, ‘This isn't working,’ or, you know, ‘This is working, but is there a way to make it work better?’ Grateful, but again, very much indebted to the people and groups who are willing to share.”

Instructure’s Educator of the Year awards are judged on the following criteria: How does this teacher redefine classroom activities based on evidence to help students meet their academic goals? (50%); How does this educator’s classroom experience support inclusion and improve achievement for at-risk populations? (25%); How does this educator inspire students, spark curiosity, and support student growth and achievement? (25%) 

Sean Nufer, former student of Miller and current professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and senior director of teaching and learning at TCS Education System, believed that Miller fit the bill and nominated Miller for the award.

“All of his lessons are geared around students excelling in all aspects of their life,” said Nufer. “And anything he does professionally in the classroom, committees, and meetings is geared around ‘How can I help these students? What more can I be doing?’”

Miller is a professor in the Strategic Management and Operations Department of UVU’s Woodbury School of Business (WSB). His favorite subject to teach is statistics, which he believes is applicable and valuable in a vast array of fields. As a visiting scholar with Harris Manchester College and Oxford University, Miller carries an impressive resume of international work in countries such as Ghana, Mexico, India, the Philippines, Fiji, China, Tonga, and more. His publications and presentations explore several scientific research areas, including business, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and game theory.

During the pursuit of his Ph.D., Miller never imagined himself as an educator — he’d expected to end up using statistics in a business setting. But he was compelled by a teaching job offer from Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYUH) and discovered his passion for education.

Because of Miller’s reputation as an accommodating instructor, potentially at-risk students seek him out, and he helps them excel. He finds it very rewarding when a student is curious — when they not only come to understand the subject he’s teaching, but they want to learn more, and they discover how to apply their knowledge of the subject toward achieving their goals and dreams.

Bonnie Mortensen, assistant dean of the Woodbury School of Business, said that, while Miller is too modest to say it himself, Miller “has single handedly updated our business stats courses. He is the faculty member who introduced R analytics, an industry-standard tool, in his class. In the WSB, he's a rockstar — students really do seek him out by word-of-mouth. He has been the reason for several students achieving graduation.”

Miller said he was inspired by his own instructors who were excited about the subject they were teaching and didn’t make him feel foolish for asking questions. He was greatly influenced by a professor in graduate school who allowed him to spend hours in his office asking questions. “I think it's excitement from the teachers but also patience as someone learns that marks a good teacher,” Miller said.

“Dr. Miller focuses on the practical, influencing me to do my own research and to focus my attention on what I can utilize beyond being a student,” said Garth Talbot, one of Miller’s students in the WSB. “Academically, Dr. Miller was the first person to share UVU's focus with me — that the university's focus is on students and student success, not on faculty and faculty publications.”

Miller said that UVU is his favorite place he’s taught because of how laser-focused the university is on student achievement. “In senate meetings, meetings with the president, [and] meetings in my department and the Woodbury School of Business, if something helps a student, there isn't really a debate. It's, ‘Okay, if it helps students, how do we help you do it?’” he said.

He loves how the UVU administration and faculty are constantly asking questions about how to empower students, how to fund programs and initiatives, and how to make sure that the students have software, opportunities, and small class sizes.

“Sometimes at other universities, the faculty are the focus,” Miller said, “or the administration has their own focus, but at UVU it's always the student … If more people realized how well UVU can empower them as students, I think many, many more would come to UVU.”