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Karen Webber

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Professor Emerita of Higher Education

Karen Webber is a professor emerita in the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. She holds her Ph.D. from The University of Maryland College Park. Prior to joining the IHE faculty on a full-time basis, she served as director of institutional research and interim associate provost for institutional effectiveness at the University of Georgia. Webber came to UGA in 2003, following a 15-year tenure in the Office of Institutional Research & Planning at the University of Delaware.

She has published research on a number of issues related to institutional effectiveness in higher education including faculty roles and work productivity, graduate education, gender equity in higher education, undergraduate research, and capacity building in institutional research. Her primary research interests remain centered on the assessment of academic, cognitive, and psychosocial growth of college students, with additional interests in gender studies, and higher education data management.

Webber is the recipient of the 2018 Sidney Suslow Scholar award, which is the highest honor the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) bestows on an individual. AIR recognizes a member who has made extraordinary contributions through scholarly work to the field of institutional research and advanced understanding of the profession in a meaningful way. Webber was nominated and selected for this honor by her AIR peers.

Webber is currently president of AIR (2022-2023). She remains active in other national and regional professional organizations including ASHE and SCUP.  Webber was president of the North East Association for Institutional Research (1998-99) and received the NEAIR Distinguished Service Award in November 2004. Through 2009, she served as chair of AIR’s Professional Development Services Committee, has previously served on the Membership and Nomination Committees, and is a faculty member in the annual AIR Foundations Institute. In 2016 Webber received the Distinguished Service Award from SCUP.

She collaborates with colleagues around the world on IR, decision support, and academic planning in higher education. Webber travels to other countries to assist with improvements in higher education, with recent stops in Croatia, South Africa, and the UK.

Projects

Students’ access to work-related experiential activities (WREAs) (funded by NSF)
Faculty Satisfaction in Today’s Colleges and Universities (partially funded via TIAA Research Institute)
Graduate Student Debt (partially funded by AccessLex/AIR grant)
Measuring Business Engagement in STEM activities (funded by UGA Interdisciplinary Seed Grant)
Building Capacity in Institutional Research and Decision Support
The Uses and Misuses of Data
The Role of Institutional Research in a High Profile Study of Undergraduate Research
Measuring Faculty Productivity
Research Productivity of Foreign- and US-born Faculty: Differences by Time on Task
The Use of Learner-Centered Assessment in US Colleges and Universities
Curriculum Vitae:
Email:
kwebber@uga.edu
Education:
  • Ph.D., Counseling & Personnel Services, The University of Maryland, College Park  
  • M.A., Clinical & Community Psychology, The University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • B.S., Psychology, East Tennessee State University, summa cum laude
Research Interests:

Dr. Webber has published research on a number of issues related to institutional effectiveness in higher education including faculty roles and work productivity, graduate education, gender equity in higher education, undergraduate research, and capacity building in institutional research. Her primary research interests remain centered on the assessment of academic, cognitive, and psychosocial growth of college students, with additional interests in gender studies, and higher education data management.

Grants:

Work-related experiential activities that contribute to successful employment acquisition. National Science Foundation, $630,027.

Mote, T., PI, Barbour, S., Hornak, L., Webber, K., Crain, A. co-PIs (2019, proposal submitted). Student success through the STEM accelerated career track (STEM-ACT). Research proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation, March, $998,000.

Tanner, D., Webber, K., & Burg, T. (2017). How business engagement in high schools and college impacts student persistence in STEM education and STEM careers. President’s Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program, UGA, $104,000. 

Webber, K.L. (2016). The rising tide of graduate student debt: examining change from 2008 to 2012. Access/AIR Grants Program, $49,508.

Webber, K.L. (2016). Faculty member satisfaction: Are there differences by Institutional level? TIAA Research Grants program, $33,500. 

Webber, K.L. & González Canché. (2015). A multistate analysis of the career path of STEM faculty members. AIR/NCES/NSF Research Grants Program, $39,925. 

Webber, K. (2012). Doctorate degree completion: Equal benefits for all? AIR/NCES/NSF Research Grants Program, $39,624. 

Simpson, E.G., PI, with Bauer, K. (2005). Croatian partnership for higher education reform. Georgia Congressional Funds, $74,400. 

Pagano, N., PI, with Bauer, K., Buckley, L., Lindsey, C., Nunmedal, C., Porter, D., & Suskie, L. (2002). Communities of practice: An Inter-institutional general education assessment project. Multi-institution grant from FIPSE, $171,000. 

Bennett, J.B. & Bauer, K.W., co-PIs. (1999). Outcomes assessment of undergraduate curricular innovations: Developing a model of evaluation. National Science Foundation, $219,000. 

Cavanaugh, J.C., PI, with Duch, B., & Bauer, K.W. (1998). Problem-based learning. The Pew Charitable Trusts, $219,000. 

Roselle, D.P., Bennett, J., co-PIs, with Bauer, K.W. (1997). Recognition award for the integration of research & education. The National Science Foundation, $500,000. 

Watson, G., Shipman, H., Duch, B. Allen, D., White, H., Groh, S., co-PIs, with Bauer, K., Scott, T., & Ketcham, R. (1997). Catalysts for change: Model courses for lifelong learning. The National Science Foundation, $200,000. 

Kitto, S., Griffiths, L., co-PIs, with Pesek, J., Mackenzie, E., Bauer, K., & Eiker, E. (1996). Biotechnology in agriculture: A multimedia approach to PBL and distance learning. US Dept of Agriculture, $80,000.

Webber, K.L., & Zheng, H.Y. (2020, in press). Analytics and the imperatives for data-informed decision making in higher education. In K.L Webber & H.Y. Zheng (Eds.) Data analytics in higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.(author's manuscript version)

Webber, K.L. & Morn, J. (2020, in press). Limitations in data analytics: considerations related to ethics, security, and possible misrepresentation in data reports and visualizations. In K.L Webber & H.Y. Zheng (Eds.) Data analytics in higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (author's manuscript version)

Webber, K.L. (2019, accepted). Can you trust your eyes?: Learn how to minimize misinterpretation of data reports and visualizations. Planning for Higher Education.

Burns, R. & Webber, K. (2019). Achieving the promise of educational opportunity: graduate student debt for STEM vs. Non-STEM students, 2012, Journal of Student Financial Aid, 48(3), 1-29. Retrieved from: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol48/iss3/5/

Webber, K.L. (2018). The use and potential misuse of data in higher education: a compilation of examples. (author's manuscript version)

Webber, K.L. (2018). Does the environment matter? Faculty satisfaction at 4-year colleges and universities in the USA. Higher EducationOnlineFirst. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0345-z

Webber, K.L. (Ed.) (2018). Building capacity in institutional research and decision support in higher education. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Press.

Webber, K.L. (2018, March). Help them pay: graduate student debtNACUBO Business Officer, 18-24. (posted with approval of NACUBO)

Webber, K.L., & Rogers, S.M  (2018). Gender differences in faculty member job satisfaction: equity forestalled? Research in Higher Education59(8), 1105-1132.

Webber, K.L. & González Canché, M. (2016). Is there a gendered path to academic tenure?: a multistate analysis of the academic trajectory of US doctoral recipients. Research in Higher Education.

Xu, Y., & Webber, K. (2016). College student retention on a racially diverse campus: a theoretically guided reality check. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice. 20(1), 2-28.

Webber, K.L. & Yang, L. (2015). The career path of the postdoctoral researcher. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47(6), 53-58.

Yang, L. & Webber, K.L. (2015). A decade beyond the doctorate: the influence of a U.S. postdoctoral appointment on faculty career, productivity, and salary.  Higher Education, 70(4), 667-687.

Courses Regularly Taught:
News Featuring Karen Webber
Monday, August 8, 2022 - 3:58pm

by Jewel Caruso

Karen Webber, professor emerita and president of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), was a keynote speaker at the Tennessee Association for Institutional Research (TENNAIR). 

Monday, June 13, 2022 - 10:52am

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Forum returned as an in-person gathering on June 6-9, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 3:47pm

As enrollment in graduate programs is increasing, so is educational debt. Many students wonder if they can afford to stay in school and how they can reduce the debt burden of attending college.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 10:38am

Dr. Webber will participate in a book launch of Utilization of South African Research on Higher Education with South African colleagues on November 3.
Join the event here: 

Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 2:41pm

Karen Webber and Matt Grandstaff spoke at annual meeting of the Southern Association for Institutional Research on Monday, October 11.

Monday, September 13, 2021 - 2:01pm

Research by Dr. Karen Webber appears in the September issue of Journal of Faculty Development.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 9:01am

The membership of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) has elected  Karen Webber to serve as the organization's incoming vice president.

Her leadership role begins May 2021 and continues for three years. After serving one year as vice…

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 4:49pm

Big data is getting big attention. Karen Webber and Henry Zheng (The Ohio State University) presented at the EdgeEvents virtual summit, Big Data on Campus: Becoming a Data Informed Institution.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 9:49am

Karen Webber and co-editor Henry Zheng led a recent AIR Knowledge Exchange Event to share information from their book, Big Data on Campus: Data Analytics and Decision Making in Higher Education.

The panel presentation aired on Tuesday, November…

Friday, November 6, 2020 - 4:50pm

Karen Webber is part of the opening panel session on November 9 for NACUBO’s virtual Integrated Analytics Planning Conference.

The session is titled Actionable Analytics for Changing Times and includes additional panel members Henry Zheng, and…

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