Notable Women in Education: Debbie Ford

Chancellor / UW-Parkside

  • Category: Notable Women in Education
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 25
  • Undergrad degree/university: B.S. -- University of Louisville
  • Graduate degree/university: Master of Education -- Indiana University; Doctor of Education -- University of Louisville

UW-Parkside chancellor Dr. Debbie Ford’s leadership qualities were demonstrated by her most recent efforts to keep a smaller university like Parkside (student enrollment: 4,500) at the forefront of higher education, diversity and innovation, all during a global pandemic. 

No easy task, considering Parkside is located between Chicago and Milwaukee, competing with several major nearby institutions for potential students, according to Andrew Savagian, UW-Parkside’s communications director.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, faculty, staff, and students fed off her positive, no quit attitude, her personal connections (she continued to meet with students and was constantly on campus engaging with the university community), and her uncanny ability to not let myriad (and often daily) changes to critical situations phase her, all while inspiring her faculty and staff to provide a world-class education and experience for the students, Savagian said.

“She often seemed everywhere, utilizing social media to engage and connect with students and our local community, and never shied away from pushing all of us to meet the goals of protecting the safety of our community while providing a higher education for all,” he said. “We see the fruits of her labor as the fall 2020 and spring 2021 graduating classes were the largest in Parkside’s history.” 

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin