Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange is the University of Washington College of Education Distinguished Graduate Awardee for 2013. The Distinguished Graduate Award was established in 1986 and is awarded annually to a College of Education graduate of marked distinction.
Lange is currently vice president for minority affairs and vice provost for diversity at the University of Washington. She received a doctorate from the UW College of Education in educational leadership and policy studies and a master's degree in public administration.
“Sheila is an incredible leader at the University and in our region,” Dean Tom Stritikus said. “We are proud that Sheila is an alum of the College of Education and eager to honor her contributions to higher education, civic engagement, and academic scholarship.”
At the University of Washington, Lange has helped develop creative faculty recruitment initiatives and has been active in mentoring students, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She is the project manager for an alliance between colleges in Washington, Oregon and Idaho that work collaboratively to increase the number of underrepresented students earning degrees in STEM. Lange has a wide array of experience in higher education administration, previously serving at Seattle Community College District, Western Washington University, and the University of California, Irvine. She credits her work at the College of Education with some of her progress within her tremendous career.
“My degree from the College has given me the language and tools needed to work on educational equity in our state. Before getting a Ph.D. the only narrative I had to work with was my personal experience navigating the pathway to college and my professional experience working in higher education. The degree program exposed me to literature and research that gave legitimacy to my educational and work experiences. I have been able to think about practice and how it relates to the findings from data and research on underserved students in higher education. It is only by connecting practice to research that we can hope to make progress.”
Lange is a charter member of the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers and a member of the Women in Engineering and Program Advocates Network, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association for Institutional Research. Her civic and community engagement include serving on the boards of the Alliance for Education, the Seattle Art Museum and membership in many other local organizations.
Lange was the recipient of the UW’s 2005 Diversity Award for Community Building in recognition of her work as a community activist and advocate for diversity in higher education. In 2011, she was also named a Woman of Influence by the Puget Sound Business Journal.