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Alumni in the News – Living the Union Mission

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Sabrina Puppin Opens “Fluid Perceptions” at Grand Hyatt Doha

Internationally known artist and U&U alumna, Sabrina Puppin, has just opened a new show named “Fluid Perceptions” in Doha. Learn more about Dr. Puppin and her remarkable work at this link.

What Makes Preachers and/or Pastors Great?

That is the question that UI&U alumnus, Dr. J. William Poole answered in his book, “What Makes Preachers and/or Pastors Great?” Dr. Poole concluded that they live by example as he examined the lives of four prominent African American ministers. Read more about the late Dr. Poole and his findings at this link.

Recipient of Union Honorary Doctorate to Deliver Convocation Address

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and UI&U recipient of an honorary doctorate, will address psychiatrists at the APA Annual Meeting in San Francisco when she delivers this year’s William C. Menninger Memorial Convocation Lecture, titled, “Psychiatric Leadership to Expand Equity and Well-Being.” Read more at this link.

Be part of the Union Mission to be a world-changer by enrolling in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program today. It all starts with You! Click below.

Dr. Kim C. Byas, Sr., Appointed Program Director of Innovative Master of Science in Health Care Leadership

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Dr. Kim C. Byas, Sr.

Kim C. Byas, Sr., Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.H.E., was appointed to lead Union Institute & University’s new innovative Master of Science in Health Care Leadership (MS-HCL) program.

As a seasoned health care professional, Dr. Byas has served nearly 40 years in various health care settings—including as regional executive with the American Hospital Association where he works with hospitals on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health policy.

Dr. Byas cites two very important reasons for the formation of this new program. “First, many of us dream of a health care system that provides the best care with the best outcomes possible—regardless of ethnicity, cultural background, or financial circumstances. As most know, our health care model falls short of achieving this.

Second, Union Institute & University’s historic and unique commitment to experimental adult education prepares motivated adults who want to work to improve health care access and eliminate health inequities.  Consequently, Union Institute & University has more than five decades of success in helping adult learners first transform their lives; and then transform their communities and promote social justice.  Union Institute & University is nationally ranked as the fourth best university for adult learners—individuals who work, support families, and have very busy lives while seeking to change the world.”

Dr. Byas was instrumental in designing this accredited and 100 percent online program that includes the following unique program features.

  1. Each student works with a senior health care executive who will be a mentor from start to finish. This feature is both unique and essential to the MS-HCL program because research shows that the most important determinant of long-term leadership success is mentoring. Subsequently, students will work with mentors in the field who can model behavior and help them navigate very complex health care settings.  Such mentoring will help each student become an effective leader in today’s rapidly changing health care field.
  2. To encourage professionalism and to foster enthusiasm for life-long learning, each student in the MS-HCL program will be given a membership of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)—the premier professional organization for health care leaders.
  3. As part of the admission process, each student must identify a work-related project that is addressed throughout their coursework. At the conclusion of the program, each student will have a work plan or a finished project ready for implementation.
  4. In addition, the MS-HCL program offers coursework that emphasizes population health, social entrepreneurship, and data analytics. After completing this program in 12 months on a full-time basis, each graduate will be prepared to provide ethical and creative leadership that promotes social justice in health care.

Unlike MBA programs that cost at least two to four times more that the MS-HCL program, this program is also distinct and different from MBA in health care, MHA, and MPH degree programs in this one key way: The MS-HCL Program trains participants to lead financially successful organizations and foster social justice in health care delivery—not study policy or develop research models.  The MS-HCL program will impart practical knowledge and leadership skills for achieving social change, as well as fostering creative problem solving within an ethical framework.  Ultimately, graduates of the MS-HCL program will drive success within their health care organizations.

About Kim C. Byas, Sr., PhD, MPH, FACHE

Dr. Byas is Program Director, Union Institute & University’s Master of Science in Health Care Leadership degree. Prior to accepting this position, he served for more than 16 years as the regional executive with the American Hospital Association working with hospitals on federal advocacy, health care system transformation, and health policy.

He has more than 40 years of successful leadership and innovation in health care settings ranging from his role as the interim president/CEO, Institute for Diversity in Health Management; CEO of Kailo Alliance—a health care strategic consulting company; executive director of a multispecialty physicians group; and as adjunct faculty with DePaul University’s Master in Public Administration program and Loyola University of Chicago’s MBA in Healthcare.

Dr. Byas received his Ph.D. with a concentration in Ethical and Creative Leadership from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati; Master in Public Health from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and B.A. from Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

He volunteers with many not-for-profit organizations—including the National Association of Health Services Executives; the HCA Corris Boyd Scholarship Committee; the advisory boards of the Master of Health Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati; March of Dimes—Chicago and Illinois; the Advisory Board to the Office of Equity and Inclusion at The University of Michigan, and the Multi-racial and Multicultural Council of the National Rural Health Association.

He is a former board member with Union Institute & University where he served as vice-chair; a board member of the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University; and a founding board member and past chair of the Asian Health Care Leaders Association.

ACADEMIC HONORS

Oncology Research Fellowship, Harper‑Grace Hospital; Detroit, MI

Philosophy Honor Society, Wittenberg; Springfield, OH

Summer Research Fellowship, Michigan Cancer Foundation; Detroit, MI

Indiana State Hoosier Scholar; Gary, IN

Federal Government

Grant Reviewer for HHS Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Adviser to the HHS Office of Minority Health

HPSA & MUA Advisory Committee, HRSA

Professional Associations

American College of Healthcare Executives

American Public Health Association

American Society of Association Executives

Asian Health Care Leaders Association—founding board member and board chair (2011-2013)

Chicago Health Executive Forum

Multi-cultural and Multi-racial Council of the National Rural Health Association

National Association of Health Service Executives—Chicago Chapter

Speaker and Trainer

Presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences such as International Conference of Nurse Practitioners and Advance Practice Nurses in Rotterdam, Healthcare Financial Management Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Federal Office of Rural Health, Health and Human Services—Office of Minority Health, March of Dimes, National Association of Health Service Executives, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Be the world-changer you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in the online MS-HCL program for adults with at least three years of health care-related work experience. Click below to register or learn more.

Union Institute & University Elects New Trustee with Long History of Giving Back

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Richard C. (Rick) Stover of Dayton, Ohio has been elected to the UI&U Board of Trustees, effective January 24, 2019.

Mr. Stover, a retired businessman has more than 35 years of serving clients and providing solutions to the many complex business issues faced by companies doing business in the U.S. and internationally. He is actively engaged in his community and mirrors Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower students to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

“Giving back was instilled in me by my parents at an early age,” said Stover. “My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they leant a helping hand to neighbors and strangers alike. My parents were my role models on how to treat people.”

Mr. Stover was drawn to Union’s mission.

“I think Union offers an important niche in adult learning. Union fills a critical gap for the working adult who needs to complete or expand his or her educational level,” said Stover.  “I respect that Union is mission driven.  I look forward to contributing to the mission by listening, being supportive and helpful, but letting management do their job.”

Mr. Stover’s election underscores Union’s commitment to its social justice values. Union serves diverse populations: minorities (44 percent), women (56 percent), and an older, adult population (average age of 39), and focuses on serving the underserved with curriculum that engages difference and applies theory to practice. Union serves a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division .

Union President Dr. Karen Schuster Webb looks forward to Trustee Stover’s contributions and insight. “Rick is a servant leader.  He brings business knowledge and prior university board experience to Union, coupled with the desire to improve communities. We feel fortunate to have Rick join the board.”

His recent community activities include:

  • Citywide Development Corporation, Dayton, Ohio, – Board Chair, 2017-2018, Board Vice Chair & Audit/Finance Committee Chair 2015 and 2016
  • City of Dayton Schools Accountability Committee – Co-Chair, 2018, 2017 and 2016; Committee member since 2008
  • Financial Executives Institute – President – 2018; Vice-President, 2017, Director and academic liaison 2016; member since 2015
  • United Rehabilitation Services (URS) Foundation – Board member since 2010 and Capital Campaign member, 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • Better Business Bureau, Dayton, Ohio, Integrity awards, Judge, 2017 and 2018
  • Created PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) scholarship fund at University of Dayton in 2014 with continued fundraising efforts

Mr. Stover has also been a past officer or board member of many diverse organizations such as the Greater Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Dayton Opera, Culture Works, URS, Special Olympics and many others.

Mr. Stover is a current lecturer at the University of Dayton. Trustees re-elected to new terms include Dr. Richard N. Aft and Dr. Shekhar Mitra, both of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Union Institute & University’s leaders are committed to the university’s purpose and mission. To learn more about our board members, click below.

Black History Month Spotlight – Student Examines Social Justice Impact of Musical Greats Etta James, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, and Aretha Franklin

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In recognition of Black History Month, Union Institute & University is pleased to showcase the many contributions made by African Americans by featuring several Union alumni and others who are making an impact in their communities. This week’s spotlight is on Alyssa Harris, a student in the Master of Arts with a major in History and Culture. Read about Alyssa and her fascinating career as a blues singer and her plans for her second act.

African American blues singer Alyssa Harris is often the only “girl” in the room. She is building on that musical experience to explore the role that Black music has played in protests and movements and brings to her work reflections of the lives of musical greats Etta James, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, and Aretha Franklin.

As a student in the Master of Arts program she is researching the social commentary, social justice, civil rights, and feminist underpinnings these famous singers faced and the legacies they leave.

“I relate to these celebrated ladies,” said Alyssa. “The music industry is a male-dominated culture. How did these extraordinary women navigate the waters? Even today, women are invalidated and treated differently.”

Alyssa has followed her dream as an artist and is now following her dream to enter academia.

“My ambition was to be a cruise ship entertainer. I have traveled the world, New Zealand, Panama, Europe, and the United States,” said Alyssa, who lives in Las Vegas. “I’ve had a wonderful first act. But now I want to put my stamp in the scholarly world. I want to be a community college lecturer or an advisor for college students.”


Alyssa chose Union to fulfill the second act. “I was very attracted to the flexibility the M.A. program offers as I travel for work and I needed a school that could work with my schedule.”

Professor Woden Teachout, says Alyssa encapsulates so much of what Union is about. “Alyssa is thoughtful and articulate and collegial. And she has done the first part of her coursework while working as a singer on a cruise line sailing around New Zealand!”

Alyssa credits her parents for her motivation. “I have been very fortunate to have my parents’ support in every endeavor that I take on. Not only do they believe in my dreams, they set a great example by being dedicated to their jobs, hobbies, and other things that they love – which  always reminds me to live my life with passion and zeal.”

 

It may still be a man’s world as James Brown sang, but Alyssa is striving for “Respect.”

For more than a half century, Union Institute & University has helped working adults realize their dreams of getting a degree so they can change the world. With online and low residency learning, you now have the flexibility you need to get the degree you want.
Be the world-change you’ve always wanted to be. Enroll now in the Master of Arts with a major in History and Culture.

Union Celebrates Black History Month

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To the Incredible Union Institute & University Community,

Throughout the month of February, in recognition of the nationwide celebration of Black History Month, Union Institute & University is offering a broad range of activities showcasing African Americans, many of them Union alumni. We urge you to take advantage of some of the activities ,and learn more about their insights, experience, and impact.

While some events are based here in at our Cincinnati headquarters, others are vignettes/videos available online from wherever and whenever you care to view them.

 

Friday, February 8, 6-8 PM:

Freedom Talks Lecture Series – “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Enslaved; The Underground Railroad in American History and Culture”

Presenter: Dr. Prince Brown, Professor Emeritus, NKU.

Dr. Brown is co-author of “The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States,” and is currently collecting data to create a database of enslaved persons who ran away between 1640 and 1862.
This presentation is the first in a series of four events co-sponsored with  ASALH, the Association for the Study of African
American Life and History.
Friday, February 15, Time TBA:

Kathryne Gardette: A Presentation on Adinkra Symbols in Art

Artistic, logistic,and civic renaissance woman, Kathryne Gardette, creates designs that incorporate adinkras, the Ghanaian philosophical writing symbols representing the philosophy and vision of everyday life.

By fusing folk art traditions from Ghana and America, she creates a cultural expression that is uniquely African American.

Friday, February 22, Time TBA:

Concert and Discussion of Clarence Rufus J. Rivers

Union alumnus, Clarence Rufus J. Rivers, Ph.D. 1978, was the first African American priest in Cincinnati, and is considered the father of Black Catholic liturgy and the dean of Black liturgists, combining Catholic worship with traditional African-American music.

He wrote several books on music and spirituality. His music was used at the first official American mass in English after the Second Vatican Council in 1963.

Additionally, you can visit our social media platforms (@myunionedu) and YouTube channel to take advantage of our video series Perspectives: Black History and the Union Community. Featured in the series are:

Cecil Thomas
Union alumnus (BS, Criminal Justice Management)
Ohio State Senator, 9th District, former member of Cincinnati City Council, past executive director of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, 27-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department
Jill P. Meyer
President & Chief Executive Officer, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, with 4000 member businesses, with a commitment to model inclusion and regional thinking
Union alumnus (Ph.D., concentration in Peace Studies)
Director Emeritus , Peace and Justice Programs
Xavier University
Chaplain , Christian Life Communities in Cincinnati,
Coordinator of Greater Cincinnati Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions, promoting peaceful and democratic solutions to world issues
 
Union Institute & University Trustee
Chief Marketing Officer , Champion Petfoods
Trustee/Advisory Council member for Women Helping Women, Hoxworth Blood Center, Mason City School District
Alumnus, BS in Organizational Leadership
Senior Director, Member Relations
Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber
Chief Executive Officer , Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber
Former Ohio State Senator , 9th District, Minority Leader
Founder and owner of Sesh Communications

Showcasing the talent and vision of so many people, many of whom are Union alumni, is part of Union’s legacy of transforming lives and communities. We encourage your engagement and your feedback. Get involved and be sure to visit our Facebook page and let us know how you are enjoying the events and offerings.

With warm regards,

Karen Schuster Webb, Ph.D.
President

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Union Leaders – Dr. Glenn Kendall

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Dr. Glenn Kendall
Founder and Executive Director of Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc.

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month’s Union Leader is Dr. Glenn Kendall. Dr. Kendall founded Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. based on his UI&U Ph.D. study, “Understanding effective models of group care: enhancing group home services for homeless, abused, and runaway children.” This new group care model is for residential and non-residential foster care, homeless, and vulnerable youths. The innovative model is a public ecovillage, which means that the organization will expand the traditional group home model to include an edible landscape, an organic urban farming-to-plate program, and renewable and sustainable energy systems. Another central feature is an entrepreneurial and job development program (a modest business incubator). The Youthaven Board wants to offer something new and exciting in the field of group home services to residential and non-residential foster care, homeless, and vulnerable youths. Learn how Dr. Kendall has used his leadership skills to help children in the Q & A below.

Q: How do you define leadership?
A: I define leadership as the ability to establish a meaningful and sustainable relationship (you can say a type of sacred contract) among staff, clients, and stakeholders. Staff must dynamically involve stakeholders so that both serve as the guardians of the mission benefiting children most in need. Many people may think of leading in front; however, followership demonstrates that effective leadership is a synergistic and accountable process dynamically involving leaders and followers. All stakeholders must harmoniously work together to achieve the vision of the organization that lifts the hopes among some of the most traumatized children in our society.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: 
My leadership journey began when I was working for the Job Corps Program in Brooklyn, New York. One day I went to the center director and explained that staff needed more time to effectuate the desired evaluation results of corps members, or at least slow down the rate to early termination from the Center. In my judgment, the center director approved the dismissals of far too many Job Corps members who needed safe bedding; job training, placement, and G.E.D.; and a secure program to learn to become responsible adults. I said to myself, if given a chance, I will provide future adolescents opportunities to become successful adults without the burden of unwarranted early terminations.

Q: Share an example of how you have put leadership in action.
A: Founding Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. is an example of putting leadership into action. I want to use an evidence-based model to change the paradigm for group homes, which focuses on respecting clients, expanding their horizons through enriched programs, and connecting their lives to the importance about nature. Young people can learn how to live in an ecological type of program or community, and thereby grow to better care for each other, our immediate environment, and the residence of nature–trees, animals, etc. Although funding and money are clearly necessary, on the global and local scales, money is less important when compared to having clean water, clean air, and healthy produce, the required elements needed to sustain all life. One example to put this type of leadership in action is to incorporate the use of solar panels, greenhouses, and edible landscapes on all our sites. Furthermore, Cincinnati has one of the highest percentages of children in poverty in the nation and a large number of former foster care and homeless children in the Ohio prison system. Foster care and homeless adolescents are much more susceptible to be incarcerated than other adolescents living in the general population. We have to find better ways to help vulnerable youths; a public ecovillage may be one solution.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
A: 
There are many leaders that I admire. A partial list includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandala, Michael Moore, and political commentator Rachel Maddow. However, it is difficult to pick only one. But four leaders rise to the top for me. They are:

  1. President Obama: The first African-American President who won two terms of office.
  2. Abraham Lincoln: He kept the union together and created a model for abolishing slavery.
  3. Shirley Anita Chisholm: The first African American woman elected to Congress (representing Brooklyn, New York) and to run for the President of the United States during the Democratic primary during the 1970’s.
  4. Katherine Coleman Gable Johnson: A NASA mathematician. She was directly responsible for the safe trajectory and return landing for astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn. She did it without the use of computers. Without the calculation this African-American genius and the Black women who worked for the NASA, the space program would have significantly been impeded.

Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
A: 
The quote closest to my heart is one articulated by Martin Luther Kings, Jr., but the original author is no doubt Unitarian minister Theodore Parker addressing slavery in (and even outside) the United States during the 19th century: Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.


About Dr. Glenn Kendall

Glenn Kendall, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. His passion has always been to help children and teens who are most in need of safe and caring homes. Throughout his thirty-five years of public service, he only worked for three employers. The last two were the City of New York as its Head Start Contract Manager to ensure mandated compliance affecting services for 12,000 children, and ten years later with the National Park Services, which included working as the Residential Supervisor and Clinical Director of a Job Corps Program in Brooklyn New York for 225 young people.

Dr. Kendall attended four graduate schools. He qualified for a Master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University. Later, he earned three degrees: A Master’s in Humane Education from Cambridge College, a Master’s in Theological Studies from Drew University, and a Ph.D. from Union Institute & University. All of his studies were designed to improve the group home model for homeless, abused, and foster care youths. He was a nominee for the UI&U Marvin B. Sussman Doctoral Award.

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“A More Perfect Union” Dr. Webb Is Inaugurated

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Inauguration of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, Nov. 8, 2018. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

“A More Perfect Union” Dr. Karen Schuster Webb Is Inaugurated as Union Institute & University Sixth President

The inauguration of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, the sixth president of Union Institute & University and the first African American woman to hold the office, took place on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at 4 p.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

Drums for Peace led the procession of university delegates, faculty, staff, administration, students, and alumni followed by a rendition from Ragtime, “Let Them Hear You,” by Mr. Kent Overshown, accompanied on the piano by Mr. Billy Larkin. Christine van Duelmen, chair of the Board of Trustees, gave welcome and introductions. The Honorable Tamaya Dennard, Cincinnati City Council, President Pro Tem proclaimed November 8, 2018 as President Karen Schuster Webb Day.

Dr. Dr. Karen Schuster Webb delivers her inaugural address, “A More Perfect Union”. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

Ramona Laughing Brook Webb, daughter of Dr. and Mr. Wallace Webb, recited “Remember,” a poem by Joy Harjo of the Msvkoke/Creek Nation in honor Dr. Webb’s Creek Nation heritage. Members of the academic community and representatives from Southwestern Ohio Consortium for Higher Education, GC3, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network of Ohio, and others gave greetings and welcomed President Webb to her new position. Union’s Board of Trustees issued the presidential charges, and presented the presidential medallion and the university mace to Dr. Webb.

Dr. Webb’s “A More Perfect Union” inaugural address outlined her vision to continue Union’s distinguished social justice legacy as a world-class university. She urged the community to seek out Union, not only for academic degrees and certificates, but to engage with Union faculty, staff, alumni, and students to seek solutions to the world’s challenges.

Her Excellency, Dr. Hassana Alidou, ambassador from the Republic of Niger to the United States delivered the keynote address at the dinner following the installation ceremony. The dinner launched the new Union Institute for Social Justice, being developed to provide innovative and practical solutions that advance four broad goals: secure change through civil discourse; foster economic and social equity through education; defend opportunity and social justice in all our communities; and promote a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international community through engagement. Dr. Alidou urged the audience to continue Union’s mission of transforming lives and communities, and spoke of her personal journey, mentored and encouraged by Dr. Webb.

Drums for Peace. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

President Webb took office as president on July 1, 2018. She is a visionary leader with a passion for community and mentoring women in leadership, having dedicated her career to the equity of access to educational excellence in the United States, as well as around the world. She brings more than 20 years of executive leadership and an impressive career in higher education, most recently as the Midwest campus president and senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. She also served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University Midwest Campus. Prior to her work at Antioch University, Webb served at Alliant International University System from 2000 to 2013, where she was founding university dean of the California School of Education, overseeing programs in California, Mexico, and the Far East, as well as online programs. She was also associate provost for Community Engagement at Alliant from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Hassana Alidou, ambassador from the Republic of Niger to the United States and keynote speaker with Dr. Webb. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

Dr. Webb is chair of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council (WNEC), Washington, D.C. She also served on the ACE Northern California Women’s Network for more than 10 years and held both vice chair and chair positions there. She has earned numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year by the California School of Education doctoral students at Alliant International University, and was selected in 2016 as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues In Higher Education Magazine, honoring her commitment to and advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and mentoring. Dayton Magazine profiled her for their leadership series. Moreover, she serves on the Advisory Board of William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Dr. Webb earned her B.A. degree in Spanish, her M.S. in Education: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Applied Linguistics, and her Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Dr. Webb succeeds President Roger H. Sublett who was president of Union Institute & University from 2003 until June 2018 when he retired.

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Inauguration Of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb

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The inauguration of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, the sixth president of Union Institute & University will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 at 4 p.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati located at 50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Dr. Webb is the sixth president in Union’s 54-year history, and the first African American woman to hold the office. She is a visionary leader with a passion for community and mentoring women in leadership, having dedicated her career to the equity of access to educational excellence in the United States, as well as around the world.

The inauguration program will include welcome remarks from a number of university delegates and Dr. Webb’s colleagues, as well as greetings from the faculty, staff, administration, students, and alumni of Union Institute & University. Trustees will issue the presidential charges, and present the presidential medallion and the university mace as Dr. Webb takes office. Also included are a musical offering and a poem recitation to honor Dr. Webb’s Creek Nation heritage. Dr. Webb’s inaugural address is titled, “A More Perfect Union.”

Following the inauguration, a dinner and keynote address will launch the Union Institute for Social Justice. The speaker is Her Excellency, Dr. Hassana Alidou, ambassador from the Republic of Niger to the United States. She is an educator and diplomat, and internationally known for her work in guiding community-based organizations, national governments and international institutions, including UNESCO and the World Bank.

Union alumni and students from around the world will be able to participate through a live feed provided the day of the event. Stay tuned to Union’s social media pages (@myunionedu) for more details.

President Webb took office as president on July 1, 2018, after a national search was conducted to replace retiring President Roger H. Sublett, Ph.D., who served as Union’s president for 15 years. Chair of the UI&U Board of Trustees, Ms. Christine van Duelmen said Dr. Webb is ideally suited to lead Union. “She has the background and experience to lead our university forward, in her words ‘to a more perfect Union,’ and is committed to Union’s mission and values to engage, enlighten and empower individuals to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

Prior to her appointment as president, Dr. Webb served as Midwest campus president and senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. She also served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University Midwest Campus. Prior to her work at Antioch University, Dr. Schuster Webb served at Alliant International University System from 2000 to 2013, where she was founding university dean of the California School of Education, overseeing programs in California, Mexico, and the Far East, as well as online programs. She was also associate provost for Community Engagement at Alliant from 2009 to 2013. Click here to learn more about Dr. Schuster Webb.

The public is invited to attend the inauguration. RSVP here.

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The Higher Education Journey Together

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Married couple Antwan and Daniel Mckenzie-Plez took the higher education journey together. “Chasing our career dreams with each other added a layer of support I didn’t expect,” said Daniel. “Our mantra was we can do this.”

That foundation paid off when Antwan and Daniel graduated at national commencement on October 6, 2018. Antwan with his M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling Graduate Certificate and Daniel with his B.S. in Business Administration.

Both chose Union to pursue career dreams.

“My grandaunt, Earlene Gilmore-Solomon, is an alumna of Union. She took over the role of grandmother to me. She taught special education for 40 years and inspired me to give of myself,” said Antwan.

Antwan credits his degree from Union for his career. “I am pursuing my passion to work with developmentally disabled adults. The drug abuse in this group is overlooked because there has been little to no research in this area. I am working to influence policy to help these individuals. The CMHC major requires an internship and now I am employed fulltime in a career where I can help people,” said Antwan.

Daniel wants to climb the corporate ladder and be a CEO.

“My professors made me believe in myself. They were the first to point out how much I bring to the table,” said Daniel. “Because of them, I am in a new job and better pay scale. My employer is impressed with the skills I offer.”

Antwan and Daniel have found that a degree from Union builds a career that is true to Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower.

Discover your new career path today!

Distinguished Alumni Award Presentation

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The International Alumni Association Board (IAAB) bestowed the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award to Virginia R. Wiltse, Ph.D. (2000) at the Homecoming celebration on October 5, 2018.

Dr. Virginia Wiltse is a most deserving recipient of this award, having distinguished herself and Union Institute & University through her generous and selfless service and visionary leadership of a variety of organizations and agencies, both in the U.S. and abroad. A member of Union Institute & University’s Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2015 (and chair from 2012-2014), she also served with the SC Ministry Foundation Board of Trustees, Seton High School Board of Trustees, the Children’s Heart Association Board of Trustees, the Association of Enneagram Teachers in the Narrative Tradition, the Order of Malta, and St. Xavier Parish, Cincinnati.

“It is truly an honor to be singled out as a distinguished Union alumna. Union Institute & University has transformed so many lives. Mine is but one of thousands. My experience at Union was, in every way, transformative and there is a clear link between what I studied at Union and who I have become since my graduation from the Ph.D. Program in 2000,” said Dr. Wiltse. “I love Union. All the efforts to serve it for which I am being honored tonight are simply my efforts to repay what I gained here. The experience of Union changed me. For that I will be forever grateful.”

She has received numerous awards, including: Exemplar Award from the Notre Dame Club of Cincinnati with son David; Bene Merenti Medal for service to the Church and poor of Madagascar; numerous citations of appreciation from Government of Madagascar, Ministries of Health and Education; Bayley Diamond Tribute Award with husband Dave Wiltse, M.D.; Mother Seton Award for service to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; and Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year honoree.

It is her work both for Union and for Caring Response Madagascar Foundation that singled her out as the recipient of the award.

Dr. Wiltse, among her other major achievements, has been instrumental in securing two major gifts – among the largest in the university’s history – to support graduate students: the Virginia Ruehlmann Women in Union Scholarship grant from the Helen Steiner Rice Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, created to honor Dr. Wiltse’s mother; and the Eugene P. Ruehlmann Fellowship for Public Service, funded by the Western & Southern Financial Fund, created to honor and further the contributions of Dr. Wiltse’s father, longtime Cincinnati mayor, Eugene P. Ruehlmann.

Dr. Wiltse directs the operations and fundraises for Caring Response Madagascar, the charity founded by her son, David Wiltse. As vice-chair, she engages volunteers, including medical and nursing staff, to impact not only education and literacy for the unschooled and inadequately schooled, but also to help with environmental issues, disasters, healthcare, literacy, economic self-development, nutrition, sanitation, and saving the lives of mothers and babies. Since 2002, more than 122,000 adults have completed the CRMF literacy program. In 2006, CRMF funded the regions’ first computer training center, where 5,000 young adults have completed technology-training programs.

Through her visionary and selfless leadership and hands-on implementation, Dr. Wiltse is breathing life into Union’s vision to transform lives and communities, and exemplifying her alma mater’s mission by inspiring others to become engaged, enlightened, and empowered to lead a life of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Discover how a degree from Union can transform your life and community!