Congratulations to Face of ACE, Karla T. Mugler, on her upcoming retirement from The University of Akron! ACE Women's Network-Ohio continues to explore new and creative opportunities to communicate who we are, provide networking opportunities for Ohio women in higher education and to promote women's professional advancement. Our new Faces of ACE posts will introduce you to women involved in the ACE Women's Network-Ohio.
Name: Karla T. Mugler, PhD
Title: Associate Vice President—Office of Academic Affairs
Education: BA German, Kent State University MA German, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL PhD Counselor Education, Northwestern University
1. How long have you been involved with the ACE Women's Network-Ohio and in what capacity?
I served as the University of Akron's representative to the Executive Board from 1998-2013; it was my privilege to serve as State Co-Coordinator from 2000-2003 with some remarkable women.
In 2010, I served as Conference Chair when the statewide conference was held at Quaker Square on the UA campus.
2. What have you gained from your involvement in the ACE Women's Network-Ohio?
The ACE Women's Network-Ohio afforded me the opportunity to gain wonderful colleagues throughout the state and nation. When I served as State Co-Coordinator, I attended ACE conferences and met women serving in similar capacities throughout the country. Women in leadership roles mentored those of us who were trying to build our state networks. The Network has also helped me develop my own leadership and presentation skills.
3. What's the best career advice you've ever received?
“Be your own self, at your very best, all of the time.” That advice from a woman in a leadership position in the 1970s helped me realize that I could be true to myself while I focused on the things I needed to improve upon—to take risks, to volunteer for opportunities from which I would learn and grow (even if I was uncomfortable about the task at the time), and become my personal best. At UA, I have worked to build a team and mentor my colleagues so that they are empowered. While many women are perfectionists, we need to feel good about what we have learned from a situation and acknowledge how we have grown because of the experience.One other piece of advice given to me by my mother is a version of the Golden Rule: one should treat people the way one would like to be treated, because those you pass on the way up the ladder of success are the same people you will pass on your way down that ladder, when your services are no longer needed by the institution. I have tried to acknowledge all of those who work with me at the University—not just those in power. It takes hundreds of people to ensure that we are able to do our jobs every day, and I’m grateful for a host of support staff members and colleagues.
4. Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
The students I have served over the years have most impacted my career. While still in graduate school, I realized that I wanted to work with people, and changed my course of study from German to Counseling so that I was prepared to take on a myriad of roles at higher education institutions. In California, I served as Counselor and Articulation Officer at Mission College, a community college in Santa Clara County. We served a large Vietnamese population, and I recall a young woman I’d counseled, who realized that she would be able to transfer to Santa Clara University, a private university, and earn her degree in accounting. The joy that she had as she discovered the possibilities that were open to her was a gift to me. Students we work with are the “messengers to a time we will not see”—if we can assist them as they earn credentials in higher education, we are preparing them for the future, and they will impact their families, our state and our nation. I worked in California for nearly 13 years within the community college system, and I’ve worked almost 25 years at The University of Akron as Dean of University College and Associate VP in the Office of Academic Affairs. My primary focus in these positions was helping students reach their educational goals. The programs I developed with my creative and hard-working colleagues were instituted to help students achieve their potential and graduate from the institution and take the next step in their education or career. It is the success of these students that has been my greatest reward.