Elizabeth Shepard-Rabadam: A 360-degree View of Higher Education

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Elizabeth Shepard-Rabadam views her eclectic professional background “a bit like sedimentary stone.”

“You have a foundation and continue to build upon what has come before with something new — this makes the foundation more solid,” said Shepard-Rabadam who brings more than 20 years’ higher-education management experience at a variety of institutional types and settings to her new role as Associate Director of Temple University Ambler.

When she began as a professional, “I really felt public history was a way to apply my interests and skills,” said Shepard-Rabadam, who has an M.A. in Preservation Studies from Boston University and a B.A. in History from Mount Holyoke College.

“My early career goals have such interesting connections to the Temple University Ambler campus, which is an important cultural landscape with historic and contemporary buildings with educational and research uses,” she said. “Coming to Temple, I feel like I’ve come full circle given my historic preservation training and my many years in higher education.”

Reporting to the Ambler Campus Director, the Associate Director serves as the finance, facilities, administration and operations manager for the Ambler Campus to ensure that the operations of the campus fully support all academic, student life, research and community relations programs on a continual basis. The Associate Director additionally participates in long- and short-range planning activities, including fiscal planning, facilities and space planning.

“The Associate Director serves as the most senior administrator at the Ambler Campus in the absence of the campus director. Elizabeth brings such a broad scope of experience to the position, we know she’ll be a true champion for the campus,” said Dr. Vicki Lewis McGarvey, Vice Provost for University College. “She will be an invaluable asset as Temple Ambler continues to develop internal and external partners for innovative research and other initiatives that will benefit our students, faculty and campus as a whole. We’re excited to have her as part of our team.”

Reflecting on how she got started, Shepard-Rabadam said her early career was spent in cultural landscapes in non-profit and public/private organizations. 

“I recognized that my liberal arts training would benefit from some hands-on business experience,” she said. “Through serendipity, a fellow alum from Mount Holyoke College invited me to join her start-up management consulting firm, Expense Management Solutions.”

Serendipity struck again when Shepard-Rabadam was in turn invited to apply at Harvard University, certainly an auspicious way to begin a career in higher education.

“It was a very busy time at the university. The University was planning new facilities such as new graduate student and faculty housing and developing a campus masterplan for the new campus in the Allston neighborhood of Boston,” she said. “I learned a great deal — lessons and skills — that I’m certainly able to apply today.”

Shepard-Rabadam said she will take a “360-degree view” of associate director’s role.

“I think with my background, I bring an understanding how complex universities, like Temple, work,” she said. “I have a lot to learn, but I have a true respect for our mission to educate students; recruit and retain the best faculty and support the important work that they do; and ensure accessibility to our campus resources for the community and as many learners as possible.”

Shepard-Rabadam brings a wealth of facilities, planning and finance knowledge to this essential campus role.  Prior to arriving at Temple Ambler, Shepard-Rabadam was Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).

From 2012 to 2017, she was the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at Philadelphia University, where she was responsible for the university’s academic growth plan, which included the planning and implementation of new academic programs and certificates, and had oversight of academic service units including campus registrar, library, and study away programs. She was additionally Assistant Provost for Administration at Bryn Mawr College from 2008 to 2012 and Assistant Dean of Planning and Assessment for the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine.  

At Temple Ambler, the Associate Director oversees all budgets for the campus, including the annual budget, gift and endowment funds, externally sponsored projects and other special and designated funds. She will also work with the University Facilities Management Office to oversee the administrative and strategic planning of the Ambler Campus physical plant and facilities in addition to being the human resources representative for Temple Ambler and a Temple representative to external organizations.

“At Temple Ambler, we are focused on educating our students, creating new knowledge through faculty and student research, and generally being a service to society. I think the best ways to achieve the goals of the campus and the University are to work as a team to serve students, faculty, alumni and campus visitors,” Shepard-Rabadam said. “As part of a world-class Research I university, Temple Ambler is a tremendous asset.  With its tree-covered, historic campus, we are one of the jewels in the Temple crown — it is easy to see why so many are passionate about Temple Ambler. The opportunity to join the Temple team is a privilege and I’m excited to get started!”