Robin Parker looks back on building a strong legal team at Miami

She will retire in September


Robin Parker

By Carole Johnson, university news and communications

As chief legal counsel, Robin Parker exudes a kind of protective passion that reassures. No matter the issue, she’s got this. 
If allowed to edit the above statement, she would demand the use of the word, ‘we,’ — “We got this.”
Serving Miami University since 1994, Parker will retire in September after building a department of expert individuals who tackle everything from contract negotiations to public records requests.
More specifically, the office provides legal advice on an ever-expanding and complex list of topics. These topics include, but are not limited to, multi-million-dollar contracts, civil rights and employment, immigration, intellectual property and constitutional law.
“I could not have asked for a more wonderful team,” she said of the three other lawyers, one paralegal and one administrative assistant who work alongside her. They are “trusted, creative and thoughtful problem-solving partners for faculty and staff across campus.”

Over the years, she’s developed fond memories of working with fellow Miamians. People like Miami University Police Chief John McCandless with whom she serves on the university’s crisis response team, one of her many committees.

McCandless said that most people don’t realize that she is on his shortlist of people he calls when the worst of the worst happens.

“No matter what time of day, she drops everything and helps solve the crisis,” he said. “Robin is not only an excellent professional, but she is also a wonderful person. Miami has been fortunate to have someone as dedicated and selfless as Robin.”

Parker said, “It’s the crisis response incidents that draw people together and emphasize that what we all do, every day, matters.”

There has been a lot done over the years that her team and a host of others around campus have worked diligently to put in place.

“The job of legal counsel is not to make things, but to help everyone else do their jobs better,” she said.

Miami was one of the first institutions to include a domestic partner policy, and to expand nondiscrimination policies that include gender identity and expression.

The university also created a designated Title IX office within the Division of Student Life, something she is most protective of because of the work they do in all aspects of the federal regulations, including how the university addresses sexual assault complaints. The university has a comprehensive program that includes education, prevention, resources, reporting and judicial processes.

All of these projects she credits to many people working together.

"Robin has been an integral part of the Miami University team for 27 years," said Miami University President Gregory Crawford. "She has made tremendous contributions as chief legal counsel and will truly be missed. I wish Robin all of the best as she enters this next chapter."

One project Parker is especially proud of is the transformation of the Miami University Policy and Information Manual (MUPIM). Her team took it from 1,000 pages of unorganized policies and procedures to an organized 125-page manual. It is both dynamic and accessible in an online policy library.

“The policy manual gives faculty, staff and students full and immediate access to the policies that spell out their rights and responsibilities as members of our community,” she said.

Many faculty and staff members will remember her MUPIM Safaris she energetically led, sometimes wearing full Safari dress complete with helmet. She also provided plastic animals to add to the festivities. Teams competed by answering MUPIM related questions.
During the fervor of the competitive atmosphere, participants soon understood that Parker’s attention to detail is part of her protective nature.
“At the end of the day, our goal is that everybody is treated fairly and with respect,” she said.