Posted April 6, 2021 — After earning degrees in business and law, Raymond “Marshall” Miller realized he wanted to pursue a career in higher education. He’s found his passion helping students as an academic advisor at the University of Houston College of Education.
“I like being able to foster their growth,” he said. “Seeing students I met apply to graduate — seeing them reach their end goal — has been really fulfilling.”
After graduating from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in business, Miller earned a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law Houston. He returned to Texas A&M to work as a financial advisor before taking the job at UH, where he advises students pursuing a B.S. or a minor in health.
Learn more about Miller and his first year as an advisor in the following Q&A.
What is an average day for you like as an academic advisor?
I start my day at 7:30 a.m. I develop all my degree plans for that day’s appointments. I send my students emails with their degree plans and appointment reminders. On a given day, I see about 10 students overall in 30-minute appointment blocks and answer emails in between. The afternoon is reserved for meetings, updating degrees and special long-term projects such as UHin4 [an initiative focused on increasing four-year graduation rates].
What are your responsibilities?
I generally advise undergraduate health majors and health minors. Health is unique because it’s not just about finishing undergraduate but positioning yourself where you want to be after you graduate, since most of our students have higher aspirations beyond an undergraduate degree.
What advice do you have for students?
It’s really important to not just plan for next semester but for your academic career. Thinking out several steps ahead is a really good way to avoid finding yourself in a bind toward the end of your academic career at UH.
How has your time advising been rewarding and/or challenging?
I started working at UH in February of 2020. So, I was only in the office for about three weeks and did most of my shadowing remotely on three-way phone calls. I’ve actually never seen any of my students face-to-face. Not being able to meet and connect with my students in that way has been challenging.
One thing I like about UH is the diversity, both among our students and staff. Our program really models Houston in that Houston is so diverse.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy trying new restaurants and traveling with friends. I travel for football games and like to explore Houston since it has a lot to offer.
Do you have any pets?
I have a 3-year-old cairn terrier named Millie. I adopted her after she was dumped on my parents’ street in Huntsville. I was looking for a dog at that point, and it was a match. She’s been perfect. My family has a beach house, and she loves to go to the beach and chase other dogs. She’s only 15 pounds, but she’ll chase bigger dogs. She’s my shadow, especially now that I work from home.
What are you looking forward to most, post-pandemic?
I look forward to meeting my students that I’ve been talking to and emailing for over a year and getting involved on campus and in college-wide events and staff organizations. I’d like to participate in Cougar Ally Training and resume traveling.
— By Lillian Hoang
— Photo courtesy of Raymond “Marshall” Miller