Student Development Spotlight: Dean Prange


Jason Messina, Writer

Everyone on campus knows Dean of Student Development, Raphaella Prange, for some reason. But we don’t really know much about her. Dean Prange is from the Boca Raton Florida area, near Miami. She was born on September 25th and will be turning 40 this year. She is a Libra. She went to college to be a broadcast journalist and studied at DePauw University in Greencastle Indiana.

She went there for four years, starting as a broadcast communication major, and after her junior year, she did an internship at a TV station in Chicago. She ended up not liking the field because it was too competitive, so she switched to an interpersonal communication major. She got her graduate degree from Indiana state University in Terre Haute Indiana, then completed her master’s degree in student affairs administration.

Prange has been working at Millikin for 17 years and has been a dean for four. She has seven siblings and is a first generation college student. Her father was an immigrant from Colombia, with only a fifth-grade education, and her mother never completed college. Not only did Prange finish college, but so did all of her siblings. “I was certainly the first one to be able to obtain not just one, but two degrees,” Prange said. “I’m the oldest of seven children and all of us that are at the age to go to school have completed our degrees, some my parents did a really great job.”

Her favorite Millikin tradition is Vespers because it showcases the talent that exists in our student population. It also gives the community the opportunity to see what she calls a “Broadway quality” performance. Prange loves honors convocation and the celebration of scholarship where students showcase their academic work. Prange loves that students are able to show family and friends what they have been working on. She emphasizes celebrating the students more than anything else.

“I love cheering on our graduates too,” Prange said. “It kind of goes along with my love for being in Kirkland and having those events, and that idea of celebrating the students and celebrating our campus and that community.” Many don’t know what her job as Dean of Student Services entails. Her job requires her to oversee most of the functions and things that students might engage in outside of the classroom. Things like residence life, career center, health and counseling services, the inclusion of student engagement, and the office of student success are examples of what she works on.

She oversees many of the different functions that serve students and help them through any issues or concerns they might have on the campus. She is also the chief student conduct officer, which means she deals with most of the more serious discipline cases on campus, and she’s also the deputy title nine coordinator while also dealing with any of the sexual misconduct cases.   

This just a small overview of some her roles here at Central. In short, she helps students in the broad scale and also on a personal level. Her favorite part of her job is working one on one with students. “That’s probably my favorite part of my job. Just sitting one on one around this table and talking with a student about their Millikin experience and how can we make it better and how can they feel more successful.”

Talking to them about their Millikin experience and how they can make it better. She likes helping students realize that they can start over at Millikin. No matter what happened in high school, or some of the struggles they had can be overcome here at Millikin. There is no doubt that Dean Prange loves the students here as well as the school itself.

She is so connected to this school, not just because Millikin was her first job, but even her family is connected to the school. Her husband was a Millikin Alumni, and her daughter has already been planning to go to the school since first grade.

Despite all of her responsibilities to the school, she is still able to have hobbies outside of Millikin. What a lot of people don’t know is that when she’s not here helping students, she is tending to her impressive garden. She loves gardening and even has chickens. They have six chickens and are just about to lay eggs. They grow tons of vegetables, have fruit trees, and tons of herbs. They’ve been doing this for seven years, and they call their home the Prange homestead.

She and her family try to grow and eat whatever they can. She also loves to cook, and enjoys yoga and meditation. She also enjoys traveling and going back down to the Florida beach. Prange has advice for students to be successful.

“Be your own best advocate,” she said. “I say that phrase a lot to students who come into my office and feel like they have some insurmountable obstacles in front of them, and they don’t know what to do. We’ll talk about those obstacles and we’ll talk about strategies, but beyond everything you have to be your own best advocate. That means you have to learn to put yourself first.”