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May 30, 2003


Contact: Kristin Anderson, University Relations, (517) 353-8819,


EAST LANSING, Mich. - Barbara Steidle, who for 13 years served as assistant provost for undergraduate education and academic services at Michigan State University, will receive the 2003 Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan American Council on Education (ACE) Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education.

The award recognizes a woman in the state whose work has made a substantial difference in the lives of women in their profession, society and higher education through advocacy, research and role-modeling.

The award will be presented during a noon luncheon Tuesday, June 10, at MSU's Henry Center for Executive Development.

Exploring issues and diverse perspectives of higher education and alliance-building will be the focus of the annual conference.

Key speakers for the event include Shakti Butler, executive director of World Trust and a founding partner of InPartnership, a consulting advisory firm; Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan; Kathleen DeBoer, commissioner for general services for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government; and Eleanor Josaitis, executive director of Focus: HOPE.

Break-out sessions include "Mentoring Relationships - Building Alliances that Last"; "Don't Fear the Headlines - Developing Positive Relationships with the Media"; "Building and Using Your Network When Budgets are Tight"; and "Building Alliances Beyond the Academy: A Solid Foundation for Community Relations."

"Barbara has made a significant difference in the lives of many women in higher education through mentoring, role-modeling and encouraging them to take on leadership roles in higher education," said Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU interim president. "In her 36-year career in Michigan higher education she has been a pioneer and effective woman leader, and has opened doors for many women in the academic community."

Steidle says mentoring was not a prominent concept when she was growing up.

"I was always conscious that a succession of people took uncommon interest in me and actively sought to enlarge my sphere of interests and promote my progress in a wide array of activities," Steidle said. "Much of this support provided me with the ability to choose new options, but it always had the effect of encouraging and challenging me. This style of mentoring had a lasting impact on me and has shaped my approach to nurturing leadership skills and potential in others."

Steidle received her bachelor of science degree in education from Pennsylvania State University and her master's and doctoral degrees in history from Rutgers University. She taught at Rutgers, Central Michigan University and MSU. She served as dean of MSU's James Madison College from 1980 to 1989 and was assistant provost for academic services from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, she was named assistant provost for undergraduate education and academic services, a position she held until 2002.

Her responsibilities at MSU included Enrollment Services, Academic Integrity Review Board, University Committee on Academic Policy, All-University Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Forum, University Curriculum and Catalog Office, and commencement and ceremonial events.

She served as chairperson of the assessment/accreditation network of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, as a consultant-evaluator for the North Central Association Accreditation Review Council and served as an institutional representative to the College Board and American Association of Colleges and Universities. She will be the project manager for "Teachers for A New Era Grant," working with the colleges of Education, Arts and Letters, Natural Science and Social Science through 2007.

"My administrative roles have given me the chance to shape policy and develop practices and programs that encourage fairness, provide opportunities and broaden the academic focus on gender and multiculturalism," said Steidle, who is currently in her consulting year through December 2003. "The expansion of my office over the years offered numerous opportunities to identify, hire and promote women at a variety of levels from clerical through middle managers. The impact of the concept of leadership by example has brought rewards in the progression of the academic supervisory staff and the willingness of exceptional women faculty to take on leadership roles in the governance communities with which I have worked over the years."

"Barbara is committed to institutional advancement and advancing the university's mission," said MSU President Peter McPherson. "Her continuing leadership and dedication as a teacher, faculty member and administrator to MSU and to higher education make her very worthy of this award."

ACE member institutions nominate candidates for the award; nominations are then reviewed by a screening committee appointed by the Michigan ACE Network executive board.

"I am honored to be nominated for this award," Steidle said. "I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the university community and the Michigan ACE Network for Women leaders in Higher Education for this recognition."

For more information or to register for the conference, visit the Web at