Feb. 27-March 11, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 4
Back Issues
Think About It
Greenberg: Brown Helped break segregationist South
Medical Center operating in black
Headlines @ U.Va.
‘Homegrown’ administrator credits mentoring in career success
Faculty Senate turns its attention to matters of honor, money
He’s no dummy
Online master’s program trains nurse leaders from underserved rural areas
What About the Children?
Discovering new life at the bottom of the sea
Leap year has U.Va.’s zip code
Francesca Fuchs
Research yields benefits, mankind, marketplace
‘Homegrown’ administrator credits mentoring in career success
Anda webb (right) and M. Wynne Stuart
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Working 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 of none.”

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 system.

“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.”


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