Dr. Annette Digby in her office located in LRW. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Niewald)
Mississippi native, Annette Digby, did not get her start in higher education, nor did she anticipate her career would take her where she has been, but her philosophy throughout her career transformation has remained intact: “Your only obligation in life is to be true to yourself.”
After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at Mississippi State with degrees in education, Digby taught high school English for 12 years in Lownes County, MS. Although she misses K-12 even to this day, she knew she wanted something more out of education.
In 1989, Digby completed her doctorate education at the University of Alabama and accepted a position at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Half of her time was spent as a faculty member; the other half, working in administration. After several years of this, Digby found herself at a crossroads: stay in Arkansas or leave and become a dean.
Digby chose the latter. She accepted an Associate Dean position at the City University of New York in the Bronx. After five years, Digby was promoted to the Dean of Education. She stayed at CUNY for a total of seven years, but because she wanted to be closer to her family in Arkansas, she began applying for Vice President positions to work more closely with central administration, overseeing other academic departments. This brought her to Stephens College.
The first time she came to Stephens for her interview, Dr. Digby was sold on the entire atmosphere. Digby says, “It was the whole atmosphere at the college. Everyone at Stephens knows why we’re committed and this comes out clearly…”
Aside from professional strengths, Dr. Annette Digby is deeply rooted in her personal beliefs. First, she encourages students to have a work-life balance, inspired by a principal she worked with in Arkansas: “Work hard, play hard.”
She believes that, “If we let one area dominate our lives, we miss out on the wide range of experiences.” To her, this statement is particular to not only herself, but to the Stephens community at large.