Dr. Karen Shumway: Leading the Way
February 17, 2014
Being a leader is a way of life for Dr. Karen Shumway, both on the ASU campus and beyond.
An ASU faculty member since 2001, Shumway is a professor of management and associate dean of the College of Business, where she helps oversee the curriculum and delivery of all ASU business courses and programs. In 2009, she was named the Mr. and Mrs. Virgil J. Powell TSCRA Professor in American Economic Principles, a five-year endowed professorship – and in 2011 served as director of academic assessment for ASU’s successful re-accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
“That was a great learning experience because I got to know people all over campus, in different colleges and different departments,” Shumway said. “I really value that year of getting to know people outside of my own college. Part of what I really buy into is the idea that education is about being a well-rounded individual, so being able to connect with other departments helps me understand the full curriculum the students are getting.”
At the same time, Shumway got involved off campus in the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a national organization that determines the accreditation of U.S. business schools, including the ASU College of Business. She started out doing site evaluations for campuses trying to receive or renew ACBSP accreditation, but in 2013 assumed a prime leadership position.
“I learned in the corporate world that I really enjoy teaching adults, but I wanted to do it in a university setting.”
“People just really valued my perspective and so kept asking me to step up and step up and step up,” Shumway said. “Before I knew it, I was a commissioner and now chair of the Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners. The real honor was that it wasn’t something I sought out, it was people who sought me out.”
Her new position also includes service on the ACBSP Board of Directors, helping lead the entire organization.
That theme of leadership started at a young age for Shumway, the oldest of eight siblings.
“My mother relied on me quite a bit to keep everything organized, keep the kids together and get stuff done,” she said. “There was no room for failure. When I got into the business world, the corporate world, what people most valued about me was if I said I was going to do something, then I got it done, regardless. There were no obstacles.”
A native of Wisconsin, Shumway earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Chicago. She then spent a decade traveling the U.S., conducting leadership workshops for corporate clients.
“I learned in the corporate world that I really enjoy teaching adults,” Shumway said, “but I wanted to do it in a university setting.”
Her first university setting was Robert Morris University-Illinois while she was still pursuing her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Administrators at Robert Morris told me, ‘We have enough people who can teach, but we don’t have enough people who can lead this institution,’” Shumway said. “I was actually dean of the School of Business Administration before I finished my Ph.D.”
Since joining the ASU faculty, Shumway has won multiple Outstanding Faculty Awards for the College of Business, the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the ASU Alumni Association and the 2009 ACBSP Region 6 Teaching Excellence Award.
Her latest leadership project is bringing the Housley Principled Leadership Institute course to ASU. Originally launched at Texas State University, the institute course was founded by late San Angelo businessman Kevin Housley and fellow businessman Bill Poston.
“We’re calling it a capstone experience in leadership,” Shumway said. “If students have had other leadership courses, this takes them up to a whole different level in terms of their own self-awareness and examining their strengths, and also the things they might need to consider working on if they want to move into leadership positions later on in their career. For them, it’s a very introspective experience. I know for a fact that you can’t be a good leader if you’re not self aware.”
Basically, ASU business students are learning leadership from one of the best.