MillsNext Bridge Strategic Plan 2018-21

Last edited 6/27/19 | Download PDF

Letter from the President

Mills has long been dedicated to breaking barriers, whether as the first women’s college west of the Mississippi (chartered 1885), the first to have a laboratory school for aspiring teachers (1926), the first to offer a computer science major (1974), or the first to adopt a transgender-inclusive undergraduate admissions policy (2014). It has attracted and cultivated scholars, leaders, artists, and students seeking new ways of knowing and learning.

Now, Mills is ready to break another barrier by making global learning, acquisition of real-world skills, and academic excellence affordable and accessible across the historic barriers of race, class, and gender. First articulated in 2017 in an early iteration of MillsNext, this emphasis on student-centered inclusive excellence responds to rising concerns about the value of higher education in a society of increasing economic inequality, as well as the impact of technological and social change on how we learn, live, and work. MillsNext foregrounds student success in a collaborative and sustainable network of faculty, staff, and students.

Dismantling educational inequity, however, requires more than the traditional tools of a liberal arts education or college, especially in a place as full of challenge and opportunity as the City of Oakland, where inequality threatens to undermine growing economic strength. By forging new academic-business partnerships that advance gender, racial, and environmental equity, Mills can broaden academic and career opportunities for students while preserving its spirit of experimentation and innovation. Creative use of space, new academic and administrative approaches, and partnerships will prepare students to make real-world contributions as global citizens and leaders. MillsNext will enrich opportunities for its student population of talented women and gender non-binary undergraduates, graduate students of all genders, students of color, and first generation learners.

By building an inclusive and equitable campus, developing mission-aligned partnerships, diversifying the uses of the campus, and leveraging technology and data, we will establish a foundation for the pursuit of Mills’ mission that’s both rooted in our legacy and prepared for the future.

Elizabeth L. Hillman


Mills College is an independent liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students with graduate programs for all genders. Mills educates students to think critically and communicate responsibly and effectively, to accept the challenges of their creative visions, and to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to effect thoughtful changes in a global, multicultural society.


  • Gender and Racial Justice—we believe that women’s colleges can and should play a pivotal role in dismantling inequity, including the disparate impact of climate change.
  • Inclusive Excellence—we recognize that academic excellence cannot be achieved without inclusive content and equitable outcomes.
  • Global and Applied Learning—we prepare our students to make real-world impacts as global citizens and leaders.
  • Affordability and Accessibility—we open the doors to a high quality education to those who have previously been excluded.

Strategies, Objectives, and Metrics

  • Strategies describe our high-level goals; how we will prioritize, distinguish ourselves, and set a course for a sustainable future.
  • Objectives are concrete, time-limited, and achievable steps that we will take toward implementing our strategy.
  • Metrics allow us to measure whether we have succeeded or how much further we have to go to achieve our objectives.


Thank you to all the faculty and staff who attended the Spring 2019 Strategic Planning meetings: