Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, President of Union Institute & University, has been awarded the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Indiana University School of Education.
Dr. Webb earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from Indiana University and was recognized by her alma mater for her leadership role in higher education and dedication to the IU School of Education mission to improve teaching, learning, and human development in a global, diverse, rapidly changing, and increasingly technological society. Dr. Webb was joined by three other alumni who received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Education. They were David Ambler, Carole Ames, and Marilyn Friend.
“These four alumni have dedicated their careers to improving teaching and learning across their fields,” Indiana University’s Dean of the School of Education Dr. Lemuel Watson remarked. “Their contributions to the world of education are inspiring, and we’re honored to give them this award.” The alumni were honored at a dinner celebration on October 26, 2019.
Dr. Webb was particularly recognized for her work as founding dean of Alliant International University’s School of Education, which she grew to serve more than 900 students in California and internationally in Mexico, Indonesia, Jordan, and China. She has proven herself as a visionary servant leader who has dedicated her career to educational excellence, and to the advancement of racial, ethnic, and underrepresented populations in higher education. Her contributions to higher education span four decades and reflect her remarkable leadership skills and unwavering passion for equity, academic quality, student success, and diversity.
In 2018, Dr. Webb became the first woman of color to be president of Union Institute & University. Her guiding principle–that attainable pathways to higher education be available to all who aspire–is at the core of her professional and personal work. She established the university’s Union Institute of Social Justice to work toward equality of access, prize all aspects of diversity, and demonstrate a commitment to innovative teaching and learning cultures to promote the common good.
At Union, she leads efforts to expand degree attainment by Hispanic childcare workers, and oversaw an articulation agreement with the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica to provide accredited bachelor’s degrees.
Dr. Webb serves as chair of ACE’s Women’s Network Executive Council, and as Presidential Sponsor of the ACE Women’s Network of Ohio, encouraging professional development and promoting the advancement of women into senior positions in higher education.
Dr. Webb was named a 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. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on equity of access and for mentoring women in higher education by the Gestalt Center, Cleveland. She serves on the advisory boards of Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia; Every Child Succeeds, Cincinnati, which promotes healthy child development; and Women Walking West, Dayton, assisting foreign-born women.
She developed Indiana University’s School of Education’s first multicultural education courses and served as assistant director of the Learning Center. She has held teaching positions at Indiana University, University of Kentucky, George Washington University, Coppin State University, and Howard University, and was dean at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
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