Since joining the College of International and Extended Studies (CIES) at San José
State University (SJSU) in 2009, Ruth Duran Huard has been committed to the College’s
core mission of increasing access to educational opportunities and developing global
citizenship. In her current role as Interim Dean of CIES, she is developing the strategic
vision and providing operational leadership for the College, overseeing five departments
including Extended Education credit programs (Special Session, Open University, Intersession),
Professional Development and Training (continuing education units and non-credit programs),
International Programs and Services, International Gateways (intensive language programs),
and International Recruitment and Partnerships. Dr. Huard also manages the administrative
units of the College which include finance, marketing and communications, and information
technology. As Interim Dean, she is responsible for supporting over 11,000 students
that participate in the extended education programs annually, 2000 international students,
and the administration of the College’s $30M budget.
In collaboration with the College’s leadership council, Dr. Huard is setting the direction and goals for both continuing and international education. Strategic plans currently call for growth in key areas of the College – for example, 15% growth in Special Session programs and intersession, 20% growth in matriculated international students with the necessary student support services, 15% growth in language programs, and the establishment of new international academic program offerings. Dr. Huard has managed the development and implementation of extended education programs for SJSU students and the broader community. For example, she launched the high-demand (bottleneck) courses program as a means of increasing student access to critical courses (General Education and major requirements). In its pilot year, the program served over 100 students, generating about $150,000 annually that was re-invested into the program in the form of course development grants, instructional design services, and development funds for participating departments. In collaboration with the academic colleges she is expanding extended education offerings by growing (and reinvesting in) current programs and developing new ones. She implemented a pipeline of program opportunities, and within nine months has 15 programs currently in the pipeline portfolio representing multiple disciplines such as social work, music, nursing, justice studies, world languages, accounting, and science education. Dr. Huard believes that the incubation and growth of these programs and the continued development of traditional special session offerings will not only provide greater educational opportunities to students but help support the colleges and departments where they originate.
Through her former role with SJSU’s eCampus and as the current Director of Spartans Online, she has facilitated the growth of online teaching and learning opportunities for the SJSU community through academic entrepreneurship and accessible technologies. She led campus wide technology initiatives such as the launch of a new learning management system in 2009 to a user base of over 25,000 students and 900 faculty members, and implemented comprehensive training and education programs for instructional technologies. She authored the e-learning strategic plan, “Envisioning the 21st Century Student”. Working in close cooperation with faculty, Dr. Huard sees online technologies as key tools to
improve educational access while also presenting educators the ability to scale programs to the benefit of all stakeholders.
Prior to her work at SJSU, Dr. Huard was a faculty member at the University of Hawaii (UH) School of Communications and the Graduate Program for Communications and Information Science. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in information and communication technologies, applied organizational communication, human-computer interaction, and research methods. Dr. Huard spearheaded the e-learning program where she developed, implemented, and evaluated courses for online teaching/learning and designed instructional materials and course delivery practices using emerging instructional and social technologies.
At SJSU and UH, Dr. Huard has been strategically responsive to emerging needs and opportunities. Examples include: the development and launch of UH’s online course delivery to support international students and military personnel (and their families) stationed abroad; the development and funding of a faculty-in-residence program to support online teaching initiatives; the launch of the Golden Four General Education Online Program that provides required courses for international students to transfer to SJSU; and ownership and management of the international agreement process across academic affairs to ensure that critical institutional partnerships and programs continue to be developed and formalized. Finally, in both institutions, Dr. Huard has held a variety of academic leadership positions including Interim Associate Dean for CIES, Director of Spartans Online, Director of eCampus, Graduate Chair in Communications at UH, Chair of the Information Technology Alliance, and Chair of the Curriculum Committee for Communications at UH.
Dr. Huard believes that leaders of public institutions in higher education will need an entrepreneurial disposition to be able to meet its mission given the economic conditions of reduced budgets and impacted resources. Dr. Huard developed such a disposition early in her professional career in her work with start-up companies in the private sector. As Director of Usability and Interaction Design at Extempo Systems, she led the division in developing applications with emerging, intelligent interfaces (e.g., animated, interactive guides with natural language generation and understanding capabilities). These programs were commercially developed for integration with consumer web applications and in-house training programs for multiple clients, all with very demanding time-to-market requirements. The products that her team designed were successful in penetrating a new and unproven market (in 1996). She also co-authored and managed a $3M grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology - Advanced Technology Program to develop emerging interfaces via artificial intelligent characters for applications in education, training, and business. While the products developed by Extempo Systems contributed to the bottom line of the company, the more important outcome was that it paved the way for current innovations that have shown to improve people’s lives (e.g., assistive technologies, digital learning aides, and speech interfaces).
As Vice President of User Research and Development at WorldRes she produced numerous designs for consumer and enterprise web-based applications for the hospitality industry, launching software applications consistently and on schedule to 2,000 websites in 160 countries for a consumer base in the hundreds of thousands. Her division developed and managed consumer websites with first to market
functionality as proving grounds for the product and business decisions made. This was a significant undertaking as her team addressed complex requirements (e.g., internationalization and localization) and the infrastructure required to serve a global market. Under her lead in both companies, business and operational goals were consistently achieved in her divisions. Through Dr. Huard’s experiences in these start-ups and in academia, she has learned how to bring innovation to organizations effectively.
Dr. Huard received her Ph.D. from Stanford University where she conducted research in both the School of Education and Computer Science Department - Knowledge Systems Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Her areas of concentration were in learning systems and human-computer interaction. At Stanford, she worked in inter-disciplinary research teams (comprised of computer scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, communication scholars, and social scientists) to develop systems that supported people’s personal and work life. She understood the value of involving all stakeholders when developing these systems. Dr. Huard continues to have an inclusive and collaborative approach in her work.