On June 30, after 24 years of service, UCR University Extension and UCR staff said goodbye to Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Education and Credential Programs, Annette Webb. She is beginning a new position as Dean of UC Merced Extension, demonstrating the rewards of hard work and determination. Here are some highlights from Annette’s inspirational story, with a few thoughts from those along the way.
Annette’s career journey began in 1999, when she was hired as a Senior Typist Clerk for the Education Extension Department. It was her first job in higher education. Annette soon became the department director’s primary advisor, “I always trusted Annette’s fair judgment and decision-making processes. She has the innate ability to work effectively with everyone and bring consensus with diverse groups,” said the retired Director and Associate Dean of Extension Education, Dr. Sue Teele.
Annette kept an eye out for opportunities and volunteered when leadership sought people to work on projects and special assignments. She steadily moved up in the organization, eventually earning her Associate Dean appointment.
Former Dean, Dr. Sharon Duffy, wrote, “UCM’s Extension program will grow and thrive under Annette’s leadership—no one is better suited to that position than she is. I know she will quickly become a favorite colleague on the UCM campus (as she has been at UCR) and that the entire region will find that she is unstoppable in the development and delivery of high-quality educational programs. They’re going to welcome her into their community, too. Congratulations to one of my favorite colleagues and friends. I could not be happier for Annette.”
In 2018, Annette was appointed as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs by Dean Kevin Vaughn. Dean Vaughn, new to UCR University Extension, had quickly noticed that Annette was an out-of-the-box-thinker, with a deep understanding of the needs of adult learners and non-traditional students. Through her own initiative, she became a key leader in the organization, was entrusted with a higher level of responsibility, and managed a broad range of responsibilities that included domestic, international, academic credit and non-credit, professional, and custom programs. She also became a strong presence with community and campus stakeholders.
Annette’s original and thoughtful ideas have paved the way for a more sustainable, secure future for UCR University Extension. She built tailored partnerships that met individual needs of each campus, involved multiple stakeholders to build the solution, engaged staff, and communicated with administrators and managers – all with an eye on the student experience.
She developed certificates in Ethnic Studies and STEAM—and more than 100 local teachers have now earned STEAM certificates. Annette engineered a partnership with UC Davis C-STEM to offer the Authorizations in Computer Science as a joint program to educators across the state. She collaborated with Soongsil University in Seoul, South Korea, and created a customized offering in educational therapy, allowing their graduate education students to study at and earn a certificate from UCR.
Working with Riverside County Office of Education, Annette put together a program to deliver a certificate in Computer Technician program to custom high school cohorts, as part of RCOE’s alternative education curriculum; and the Academic Dual Enrollment program that allows underserved, at-risk students to earn both high school and college transfer credit, and a certificate in Applied Cybersecurity. The programs are life-changing for the students and their families.
In 2019, when the pandemic hit and downsizing staff was necessary, Annette learned that UCR’s counterpart at UC Santa Barbara was also experiencing staff attrition. She suggested ways the two organizations could capitalize on a mutually beneficial relationship that would result in cost-savings by sharing expenses and employees—and in the end, a strong partnership.
Dr. Sheetal Gavankar, Associate Dean, UCSB PaCE, said, “My collaboration with Annette in conceiving, designing, and implementing this arrangement is one of the highlights of my own career. After a successful conclusion of this pilot, Annette replicated this model in collaboration with other sister campuses during the crucial pandemic years, and I have heard only praises for the success of these arrangements. This was in the topmost tier for me for quality of innovation and effectiveness.”
Ian Gibson, the Associate Dean of the Division of Continuing Education for UCI added, “The impact of this sharing model is significant. Annette’s creativity in operational leadership, expansive vision, and drive to carry a complex and unprecedented process to fruition are deserving of recognition. She embodies the sort of thought leadership and ingenuity our field needs to thrive.”
Some of Annette’s notable accomplishments include Member of The College Board’s Advanced Placement Summer Institute Advisory Panel; Chair of the Advisory Board to the First 5 Riverside Children and Families Commission; UCR’s Staff Representative on the UCOP Systemwide Advisory Committee for the Status of Women; Inaugural Staff Co-Chair for the UCR Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women; and UPCEA Business & Operations Award for Operational Excellence.
Annette is known among the staff for always giving timely credit and accolades when due. Mentoring and sponsorship are critically important to her, and she is a recognized advocate for issues that affect women in the workplace. Annette has served on both the UCR Chancellor’s and UCOP Systemwide Advisory Committees on the Status of Women, and one of her go-to questions is “Are you walking in advocacy for other women, too?”
Dr. Marie Martin, Director of Academic Quality, Integrity, and Assessment and Degree Completion Programs, who will be Annette’s successor as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs noted, “I'm so proud to call her a colleague. What is amazing about Annette is that not only does she rise to the occasion (whatever it may be), she turns around, reaches out, and lifts others up around her. Annette is a model of leadership with an incredible ability to produce, get the job done and make it appear effortless. I'm genuinely excited to see what she will do at UC Merced, and I'm so grateful for the time I had to learn and grow from her example.”
Abril Chavando will be assuming the position of Director of Education, and she had this to say, “I have worked beside Annette for over a decade. She has always been generous with her time, knowledge, and kindness. She has taught me so much--I don't even know where to begin. All I know is that she will be greatly missed. I wish her all the best in her new adventure. Congrats to my friend and mentor.”
Michael Pierick, Director of UC Merced Extension and Degree Completion shared, “UCM Extension is beyond excited to have the innovative, creative, and service-focused leadership of Annette joining us. Annette’s experiences and commitment to transformative educational opportunities will continue to grow the opportunities and possibilities that UC Merced Extension is committed to providing to our regional Central Valley communities.”
Dean Kevin Vaughn represents the staff of UCR University Extension with his closing thoughts, “We are over-the-moon happy for Annette. Her career here at UCR University Extension and the University of California–from Senior Typist Clerk to Associate Dean (and now Dean at UC Merced!) is a testament to what hard work, perseverance, and what a “grabbing the bull by the horns” attitude can do. She is an inspiration.”
Dr. Vaughn continues, “Whether she has represented us at the local, regional, state, UC Systemwide, national, or international level, time and time again, Annette has seized opportunities and has leveraged her experience and talent to put UCR and UCR University Extension in the spotlight. She has been nothing short of remarkable in her role as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and UC Merced is lucky to have her! We will miss her, but we look forward to working with her through our many collaborations with UC Merced Extension.”
Some final thoughts from Annette, “The University of California is an incredible place that is full of opportunities. I feel fortunate to have been part of fulfilling its public-service mission while at UC Riverside and I am looking forward to building community-serving programs and partnerships at UC Merced.”