Hatton Professor of Education Named at WT; Miller to Focus on Improving Virtual Learning 

Chip Chandler

Photo provided by WT Communication and Marketing

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]  

 

CANYON, Texas — A West Texas A&M University professor of education will assist regional schools in delivering excellence in virtual instruction, thanks to his appointment to an endowed professorship. 

Dr. Russell F. Miller, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, will serve as the first Lanna and Bob Hatton Professor of Education, following a $125,000 gift by the Amarillo couple first announced in February. 

“Dr. Miller is an excellent choice,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “His research agenda includes a timely effort to increase our understanding of the digital transformation of education and how electronic instructional practices impact student learning and success.” 

Miller joined the WT faculty in fall 2021 and will be the director of educator preparation beginning in September. He earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from WT in 2007, a master’s of education administration from Wayland Baptist University in 2012 and a doctoral degree in curriculum and teaching from Baylor University in 2020. 

An Amarillo native, Miller worked in K-12 schools in Amarillo, Missouri and Central Texas for 16 years, including working as a teacher, coach and administrator.  

At WT, he teaches undergraduate educational methods, educational psychology and graduate research courses. 

“I am honored to join with Lanna and Bob Hatton in pursuit of further research surrounding the ever-changing climate of digital instructional practices,” Miller said. “The generous funding provided by the Hattons will provide me with the ability to further investigate digital instruction and the repercussions for students in both K-12 educational settings and in higher education. This research has the potential to impact our community in a positive and practical manner by providing resources for educators and improved awareness of best practices in the online environment.” 

Miller has distinguished himself since joining the WT faculty, said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of WT’s Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences. 

“Dr. Miller brings valuable experience as a public-school leader to our educator preparation program,” Henderson said. “The Hatton professorship, together with Dr. Miller’s expertise and leadership, will advance in meaningful ways our preparation of future educators in the area of virtual teaching and learning.” 

Education has long been a cornerstone at WT, which was founded in 1910 as a teachers college, and the Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences remains dedicated to the development of tomorrow’s leaders. Currently, 73 percent of educators in the Panhandle area have at least one degree from WT. 

The Hattons have a history of giving to WT since their return to Amarillo. In addition to a legacy gift creating a major endowment fund established in 2020, the Hattons previously funded the Lanna Hatton Professor of Learning Disabilities, a position currently filled by Dr. Michelle Simmons. 

Bob Hatton currently sits on the board of directors for the WTAMU Foundation, and Lanna Hatton is a member of the advisory board of WT’s College of Education and Social Sciences. Both serve on the One West campaign steering committee. The couple also has given generously to the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities. 

“Lanna and Bob Hatton continue to demonstrate their commitment to the education of educators, supporting programs and people that will better prepare educators to be more effective in their work,” Henderson said. “We sincerely appreciate their wise counsel and unfailing and generous dedication.” 

A focus on regional needs, particularly in supporting the area’s teachers, is a key tenet of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. 

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million. 

 

About West Texas A&M University 

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.

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