Staff Member Receives Leadership Award
April 12, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Madison Willis
Julie Schwab, Sam Houston State University senior executive assistant to the provost and senior vice president, was recently awarded the Texas Women in Higher Education’s Emerging Leader Award. This award is one of three awarded each year at the annual TWHE conference and recognizes an early career professional who has given her time, energy, and creativity to enhance TWHE at a local or state level.
Schwab has been an employee of SHSU for a total of 19 years, nine of those at the Office of the Provost. Prior to this, Schwab worked in the School of Music and moved ranks until she was the assistant to the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication. She joined the Office of the Provost as the assistant to the provost in 2013.
“I had really great bosses when I first started that empowered me to be more than the box most people put admins in,” Schwab said. “I was fortunate enough to have bosses and mentors that didn’t believe in that box and broke down those barriers.”
TWHE is a non-profit organization geared towards faculty wanting to move into leadership positions that aim to develop, advance, and support women in higher education across Texas. Their goal is to nurture and cultivate the skills needed to reach leadership positions and enhance the leadership skills of those already in such roles.
“Leadership is not about title, it’s about behavior,” Schwab said.
Throughout the years, Schwab has made a continuous and conscientious effort to advocate for professional development opportunities for staff across all departments. She believes that all faculty and staff should be afforded an opportunity to take on a leadership position, no matter their job title or what level of the career ladder they are on.
“Everybody can be a game-changer in some way, and it doesn’t matter what type of position you hold,” Schwab commented after attending the annual conference.
Martinella Dryburgh, assistant professor of business administration at Austin College, nominated Schwab for the award. Together, Dryburgh and Schwab applied for and received a TWHE regional grant that allowed them to collaborate on “Lunch and Learn” sessions. These sessions provided professional development opportunities to administrative professionals across Texas. The duo presented at the 2022 conference to educate members on how they could engage TWHE with the use of regional grants.
“This experience was very humbling, and I am very appreciative that they (TWHE) saw somebody in an administrative professional role as a leader, even though I don’t hold that [a leadership] title,” Schwab said.
Schwab plans to continue attending and staying involved with TWHE in hopes of advancing and assisting more administrative professionals to get involved in the organization. Among these future goals is creating a space for those new to leadership roles to find the value in creating a strong and successful partnership with their administrative professional and utilizing her experience in administration to help further the organization's goals.
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