Dean of the College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) Ruth Huard is among the outstanding leaders who will be honored by YWCA Silicon Valley at its annual Tribute to Women Awards on April 25. The organization released the list of 2019 honorees at its March 13 meeting. In its 35th year, the awards are an effort to encourage women’s leadership and promote equal advancement opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds.
“I am thrilled that our dean of the College of Professional and Global Education Ruth Huard will be recognized at this year’s YWCA Silicon Valley’s Tribute to Women Awards for her dedicated leadership and her commitment to transforming students into global citizens,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, who nominated Huard for the honor. “Ruth is certainly an innovative thinker and role model for women everywhere.”
Huard, who oversees a team of 85 staff members that provide a wide range of services to more than 11,000 students, has been integral in raising San Jose State University’s reputation as an educational destination for scholars from around the world. SJSU serves one of the largest populations of international students among master’s granting institutions in the United States, is recognized as Fulbright top-producing institution, and offers more than 60 destinations for local students to engage in a study abroad opportunity.
In addition to support for global education and initiatives, Huard has reinvigorated SJSU’s professional education offerings through degree programs in emerging technologies such as data analytics, certificate programs and professional development programs.
Working with the leadership team in her college as well as collaborating with colleagues across the university, Huard is focused on ensuring that the College of Professional and Global Education serves as nexus for globalizing the campus, particularly in developing students as global citizens and ensuring international student success; evolving the college into the leading provider of educational programs that meet the workforce demands of the region and the world; and maintaining a financially and operationally sound organization that contributes to the university’s top initiatives and priorities.
Huard has served as dean of the college for four and a half years, and has worked in higher education for 15 years. She has a PhD from Stanford University in the area of Human-Computer Interaction and Intelligent Systems. As a faculty member at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, she taught courses on emerging technologies, research methods and applied organizational communication and leadership. She started her career in leadership positions in Silicon Valley technology startups in product research and artificial intelligence.
She was the principal investigator on a State Department-sponsored project, Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program. The project built distance education capacity to deliver foundational courses in computer science and teacher education to remote students, particularly women, in the outlying areas of Pakistan where education is rarely available. In 2013, Huard was selected as an SJSU Salzburg Fellow and participated in the Global Citizenship Alliance in Austria.
President Papazian’s nomination was accompanied by a recommendation from Interim Provost Joan Ficke. Through its Tribute to Women Awards, YWCA Silicon Valley’s goal is to cultivate a Silicon Valley where women are not only welcomed in leadership positions and STEM fields, but respected as well. The nonprofit provides pathways to well-paying, growth careers through youth engagement in STEM and removing barriers for families in accessing quality early learning and school-age opportunities.