Karen Schuster Webb,Ph.D. Union Institute & University
Dr. Karen Schuster Webb is a visionary leader who brings more than 20 years of executive leadership in higher education and serves as the sixth President of Union Institute & University. Union is a private non-profit university system, living its social justice mission, and which has Academic Centers in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hollywood, Florida, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, as well as offering programs online.
She also serves on the Advisory Board of the William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia. Prior to her Presidential appointment, Dr. Webb served as the Antioch University-Midwest campus President and Senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. Dr. Webb also served as Associate Provost for Community Engagement and the founding University Dean of the California School of Education at Alliant International University System. Dr. Webb has dedicated her career to the pursuit of equity of access to educational excellence and to empowering those, especially women, who aspire to higher education leadership.
Dr. Webb was named as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues in Higher Education Magazine. As a reflection of her commitment to addressing women’s issues in higher education, Dr. Webb has been named Chair of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council. Dr. Webb holds three degrees from Indiana University-Bloomington: a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Master of Science in Education, and Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies. In addition, she completed work at the Complex Instruction Institute of Stanford University.
Doreen Larson, Ph.D. Edison State Community College
Dr. Doreen Larson is the fifth President of Edison State Community College, located in Piqua, Ohio. She began her position on July 1, 2015 and is the first female president of the college. Dr. Larson’s experience in community college education began at Lakeland Community College as a tenure-track faculty member, Dean of Counseling and Assistant Vice President for Student Access and Services. She established the first office of services for students with disabilities at Lakeland.
Dr. Larson then served as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts where she increased the diversity of the students and staff by developing college teams and partnering with local K-12 school systems. She was awarded the Massachusetts State Women’s Leadership Award and was selected as a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In 2010, Dr. Larson was selected as the President of Pierpont Community and Technical College where she focused on regional partnerships, outreach to veterans, increased graduation rates, and workforce training.
Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D. Lourdes University
Mary Ann Gawelek began her term as Lourdes University President in July 2016. An innovative visionary, she has made a tremendous impact on the institution. Under her leadership, the institution achieved its 10 year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, gained approval to offer online degree programs and established several new academic programs.
The Online Doctor of Nursing Practice is the first professional doctoral program in the institution's history. Graduate students can also enroll in the Master of Education in Special Education, the online Master of Business Administration and online Master of Nursing degree programs. New undergraduate programs include bachelor's degrees in Craft Beverages, the first of its kind in the US, and Digital & Media Studies.
In Fall 2019, the University welcomed freshmen to the iWolf Power of Innovative Learning program. The iWolf program ensures a dynamic and relevant learning experience for Lourdes University students. Each freshman received an iPad Pro and select 100 level courses are designed with the full support of mobile technology. By providing a more technology-rich environment, Lourdes seeks to increase student learning and engagement, improve the quality of teaching materials and decrease student costs.
Lourdes made national and international news with the addition of E-sports and the opening of a state-of-the-art gaming arena. Men's and women's bowling and tennis are the latest editions to the strong NAIA sports lineup.
A proud Ohioan, Dr. Gawelek received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Master of Education and Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology degrees from Boston University.
Prior to her tenure at Lourdes, Dr. Gawelek was the chief academic officer at Seton Hill (1996-2016). While there, she held the rank of Professor in Psychology and served first as Vice President for Academic Affairs and then Provost and Dean of Faculty.
As a leader in academia, Dr. Gawelek has spearheaded licensure efforts for mental health counselors in Massachusetts and provided counseling psychology programs in multiple states. At Lourdes, she has begun the process of enhancing undergraduate social science programs and initiated a new pathway for biology majors to pursue graduate programs in the sciences. The curriculum partnership with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine allows Lourdes students to apply for an Early Acceptance Program in one of three graduate tracks: medicine, dentistry or pharmacy seamlessly without having to take the MCAT.
Dr. Gawelek is leading Lourdes University as it fulfills an aggressive strategic plan focused on community growth and financial stability. Part of the plan involves strengthening partnerships within the business, non-profit, educational and governmental sectors. President Gawelek began the Lourdes Advantage program, a partnership with businesses that allows employees to have access to high quality academic programs with a tuition discount. The program also supports establishing on-site academic delivery such as creating a satellite location at the headquarters of a national agribusiness. She has encouraged greater town-gown relationships within the city of Sylvania through support of the arts and involvement in the Chamber and will begin her term as President of the Sylvania Chamber in 2020.
Dr. Gawelek's scholarly interests include the study of gender's impact on teaching and learning, diversity, and the exploration of how technology can facilitate the development of critical and creative thinking while engaging learners. Throughout her career, she has authored several publications and presentations.
A member of the American Psychological Association, Division 35, Dr. Gawelek has received national recognition for her accomplishments. In 2005, she received the Athena award for professional excellence, community service and mentoring of women. In 2011, she earned the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Officer Award.
Dr. Gawelek has traveled extensively, most recently to Ireland and Italy. She is a lifelong swimmer, an activity that she attributes to feeding her creative thinking. She loves spending time with her family, which includes their golden retriever Cody Quinn and reading a good mystery novel. A voracious reader, she tries to read at least two books a week.