Employee of the Quarter | Ann Schwab

Ann at the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in summer of 2023

With all the moving parts involved and offices to coordinate with, producing, organizing and maintaining the academic course schedule and catalog are no small feats. Much of the effort is done behind the scenes by a “tiny but mighty” team of three.

One of that team is Ann Schwab, Assistant Registrar for Curriculum Management, College of Education alumna, Employee of the Quarter (EOQ) and recently-named 2024 Garrett Swasey Outstanding Staff Award winner.

“It’s one of our biggest projects each year – the maintenance and coordination of the entire academic catalog while working with all the different departments, both academic and not, on campus,” said Ann. “Another big piece is coordinating and managing the academic schedule, for all main campus courses each semester and all six colleges in both undergraduate and graduate curricula.”

“Then we work on getting that published and making sure that when the course search opens, everyone with access can see it,” she added. “Next, when shopping carts and registration opens and all those moving parts are in play, we make sure that it’s ready to roll and handle any last-minute changes.”

It’s a significant project, but Ann enjoys it and the collaboration opportunities that come with her role. It allows her to learn more about different areas of campus and, in turn, share that information with others.

“​I ​love ​that ​I’m ​able ​to ​be ​​a ​fountain ​of ​knowledge, in a way,” Ann said. ​”I’m ​never ​one ​to ​gatekeep ​any ​type ​of knowledge. ​I ​love ​to ​share ​it. ​I ​love ​to ​help with ​teaching and training for ​anything I can.​ ​Anything that ​makes ​me ​feel ​that ​spark ​of when ​you ​teach ​someone ​something ​new ​and ​then ​the ​light ​bulb ​goes ​off, ​and ​they understand.”

Ann during a trip to Japan with her UCCS SAHE graduate cohort

Ann found another way to incorporate this love of teaching and sharing knowledge into her work by taking on a Gateway Program Seminar (GPS) course, which allows her to interact with and support students more than her everyday duties.

“I teach a fall GPS 1010 section with a ‘Movie Madness’ topic,” Ann said. “I love having the students each semester and it brings me so much joy.”

Though Ann enjoys teaching the GPS class, it was a daunting task initially. Her co-instructor had to withdraw unexpectedly, leaving Ann with a full class of 30 students while teaching the course for the first time back in the fall of 2022. She was determined to make it work, however, and has thrived in it, bringing in speakers and connecting with other student-led programs to add dimension to her teaching.

“I was very intimidated,” Ann laughed. “But the students were really excited for this class, so I didn’t want to cancel it. I made it through with my assigned peer leader, who is now graduated and is a good friend of mine, and it all turned out amazing.”

“The ‘Movie Madness’ topic stems from the involvement students have in choosing the film watched on the last day of class each year,” she added. “In the beginning of the semester, students submit their top film choices and popular vote determines the top eight that make it to the final March Madness-style bracket. Students then cast their votes weekly to ultimately choose their winner. It can become very competitive!”

Ann also creates connections to other UCCS community members and resources for the students. She’s brought in film faculty and members from the student film club to come speak and act as assets for those interested in learning more about film, and encourages her students to stay informed about what campus offers.

“Another aspect of my class is a campus resource presentation,” said Ann. “In the beginning, each student signs up for, basically, a different campus service office and then does a quick presentation on it. It’s early on in the semester, because I emphasize how the class ends in November and want them to be aware of their options. I stress to them that they can always reach out to me, but I want them to know what’s available to them and what they already have at their disposal as students.”

Seeing how much Ann enjoys teaching and spreading knowledge, it’s not surprising that her graduate degree is in Leadership with an emphasis on Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE). After moving from Wisconsin to Colorado in 2015 and ending up in an apartment across the street from campus, she started thinking about returning to school. Though her undergrad is in hospitality, she realized after entering the field that it wasn’t quite what she wanted to pursue. After exploring UCCS’s offerings, SAHE caught her attention easily and learning more about the degree and its components convinced her.

Ann at Commencement after earning her master’s from UCCS

“One of my mentors, Dr. Patty Witkowsky, was the program coordinator that answered when I inquired about the program, and after talking to her I was sold,” Ann recalled. “All students must complete a practicum within a higher education field with a requirement that a portion be spent working directly with students. After seeing examples of the practicum experience that previous cohort members completed on the program website – it really sealed the deal for me that UCCS was where I wanted to be.”

While earning her master’s, Ann also started her journey as a staff member through internships and graduate assistant jobs. Upon graduating, she joined the Office of the Registrar and has continuously evolved in her roles there, and doesn’t plan to leave UCCS anytime soon.

“That ​strong ​alumni connection, ​being ​lucky ​enough ​to ​get ​hired ​on ​by ​my ​alma ​mater, has been a big part of what’s kept me here,” said Ann. “It is crazy to think back on all of the opportunities that only came to fruition once I took the leap to apply for the SAHE graduate program. Unconditional support and kindness shown to me by my faculty and staff mentors UCCS are the prime reasons I believe the stars ultimately aligned and I was able to find a home here at UCCS.”

Ann also considers herself lucky to have the team she does, and its members are another reason she loves her job.

“We’re a small team, but we know each other and want to support each other,” said Ann. “Tracy Barber has been an amazing mentor and supervisor for my time at the Office of the Registrar. Todd Casey has been there for me the entire time in this office and I also see him as such a strong mentor and inspiration. And Michael Moody and Ari Henry are team members I get to work directly with on a daily basis, and part of the reason I love my job.”

The sentiment goes both ways.

“Ann is a valued member of the Office of the Registrar leadership team,” said Tracy Barber, Registrar. “Her dedication and passion for enhancing and communicating curriculum management initiatives, including schedule of classes and catalog, has allowed for transparency and inclusion across campus. We are so proud of Ann.”

In addition to the EOQ, Ann also won the 2024 Garrett Swasey Outstanding Staff Award, which acknowledges the outstanding achievements and contributions of a UCCS staff member who exemplifies excellence in service to the campus and community, and is named in honor of six-year UCCS police veteran Garrett Swasey, who was killed in the line of duty in 2015.

“It feels really flattering to be acknowledged, especially when I’ve always considered myself too far down in the hierarchy to win,” Ann said. “Plus, being the unseen, boots-on-the-ground person and in the middle of all these departments at once can be crazy, so the recognition and acknowledgement is exciting.”

Along with UCCS, the SAHE program and a career path she has much more passion for, moving to Colorado also introduced Ann to skiing, a hobby that quickly became a favorite pastime.

“I didn’t even start learning until around 2019,” Ann said. “My ​skis ​had ​never ​even ​touched ​snow ​in ​another ​state, but my partner is an avid skier and went almost every weekend. Now I have an EPIC pass and go as often as I can.”

Though work, her GPS course and skiing take up most of Ann’s time, she also enjoys making crafts and spending time with her three cats, Francis, Winnie and Freddie Mercury – especially when she can combine the two.

“I have a Cricut and love making things with it,” she shared. “The first year I had it I used it to make most of my Christmas presents for people, and the cat treat jars have little labels with their names on it.”

With her dedication to her work and love for her pets, it comes as no surprise that Ann’s future goals are centered around them.

“I ​don’t ​see ​myself ​leaving the Office of the Registrar or curriculum management anytime soon, so my work ​goals ​revolve ​around ​streamlining processes and digitizing information – improving what we’re already doing and continuing to accomplish our goals,” said Ann. “And my three cats ​are ​my ​babies, so ​I ​​hope ​that ​I, ​in a few years, ​have ​the ​same ​amount ​of cats – or more. I’d love to make them a catio, and have shelves on the wall for them.”

“I guess all the future dreams revolve around the cats and their happiness,” she laughed.

About the Gateway Program Seminar

The Gateway Program Seminar (GPS) is an academic program designed to help students successfully adjust to university life. GPS serves as the foundation for the Compass Curriculum, the campus-wide general education program at UCCS. Through GPS, students are exposed to interdisciplinary curriculum taught by experienced faculty from across campus to establish meaningful connections, cultivate an inclusive community, and create a sense of belonging from their first year at UCCS and beyond.