credits mentoring in career success
by Andrew Shurtleff
with five different provosts, associate provosts Anda webb
(right) and M. Wynne Stuart have supported faculty and the
academic mission for a combined total of nearly 20 years.
By Anne Bromley
Anda Webb, associate provost
for management and budget, is so immersed in the daily functioning
of the University that in any given meeting, she might discuss
budget priorities for Arts
& Sciences, explain the University’s policy on a
new hire’s moving expenses, or champion the benefits of
mentoring for faculty and staff.
“The great thing about my job is that I get to be involved
in lots of interesting things,” she said, before adding
jokingly, “The bad thing about my job is that I am involved
in lots of different things — a jack of all trades, master
Some of the big projects she’s been tackling with other
administrators include reviewing U.Va.’s financial aid formula
and helping the University prepare for a new student software
“I am continually impressed by Anda’s ability to analyze
complex issues and bring insight, focus and fairness into every
recommendation,” said her boss, Gene Block, vice
president and provost, the fifth provost for whom she has
worked. “I am also amazed that she can tell people ‘no’
... and still receive a thank you.”
Having grown up in small, sleepy towns in Mississippi, Webb said
she never thought she’d leave the state. A degree in computer
science from the University of Southern Mississippi gave her a
ticket out, but it was a few years before she cashed it. Going
anywhere else to live would have been an adventure, she recalled.
She moved here, sight unseen, in 1987 to work as a computer programmer
for a company subcontracted by Centel.
“I loved Charlottesville from the day I got here,”
said Webb, who applied for a job at U.Va. so she wouldn’t
get transferred away from her new home. She landed a programmer
position for academic computing in the basement of Gilmer Hall.
Less than two years later, in 1988, former associate provost Kathy
Reed — who would become an important mentor — hired
Webb as a systems analyst for the provost’s office.
That new job was full of challenges, like working with PCs instead
of room-sized mainframe computers, and getting involved in the
budget process. “I didn’t even know how to read a
budget,” Webb said, adding that she asked lots of questions.
Finally, one day Reed responded, “Don’t worry about
it. You can’t screw it up so badly, we can’t fix it.”
“That was a freeing moment for me,” Webb continued.
“It gave me license to learn and take the initiative. And
she was right.”
Webb soon was ready to move on to a new job with more responsibility
and became associate dean of continuing education. During her
five years there, the division was elevated to school status,
becoming the School for Continuing and Professional Studies. She
also helped create the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program
from the ground up.
“That was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve
worked on,” she said.
But when Reed’s job came open in the provost’s office,
getting back into the hub of the University was too good an opportunity
to pass by, she said.
Webb again works with M. Wynne Stuart, who was recently named
associate provost for academic support and classroom management.
“Anda is wise: she listens carefully to what anyone is saying,”
Stuart said of her colleague. “She tries to think of all
aspects of ramifications of decisions made and actions taken.
She has used her opportunities in her life to listen and learn,
which has given her knowledge to use as she goes on.”
Like many other faculty administrators, Webb serves on several
committees and is chairing the president’s Women’s
Leadership Council for the second year. The group continues to
work on how best to get widespread support for diversity issues,
with gender being one of them. This year, they’re going
to focus on mentoring, too, Webb said.
“At some point, I became a resource for people, and I try
to answer their questions,” said Webb. Often by the time
people are calling her office, they have been transferred several
times in search of help for some kind of problem. She calls a
large part of her job “crisis management.”