The School of Business & Technology at Webster University is one-off. The late William Safire, the New York Times language connoisseur, in a column a while back offered the following: One-off does not mean merely "unusual"; nore does it mean "like Halley's Comet," coming back once in many blue moons. One-off is standing alone, pristine in its singularity. It is the compound adjective and noun that means "without precedent, easily copied but impossible to perfectly reproduce or clone." I submit to you that Webster University is one-off, "without precedent, easily copied, but impossible to perfectly reproduce or clone."
This summer I had the rare opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the July 1st St. Louis Cardinals' game against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. What a thrill! A dream come true! Growing up in Nigeria, I didn't have the opportunity to play baseball. The days before, I practiced throwing from the mound across the street at the Webster Groves High School baseball field. As the big day got closer I began to day-dream of Albert Pujols catching my pitch. And so on July 1st on arrival at Busch Stadium I asked if Pujols was available.
The School of Business & Technology is at a very important juncture in our relatively short meteoric history. We are at a place where some tough decisions have to be made that will determine the future viability of our school. This will not be an academic exercise where we spend an inordinate amount of time arguing over how to divvy up the pie or how to make any changes painless and politically correct.
This winter has been very consistent, every now and then spring appears and then summer shows up. The uncertainty of certainty has been the order of this winter season. In the winter of our spring and summer there is another obvious change taking place in the higher education landscape.
There has been an increasing amount of research on birth order these days and how it affects one's relationships and ultimate success through life. As a father of three girls--a built-in scientific study of sorts--I can attest that there is definitely some truth in these classic characterizations.
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In your short time with us here at Webster we hope that you will come to an appreciation of our rich history, our accomplishments, our challenges and our aspirations. We look forward to your professional perception on where we are as a school and what we can do to build on our success. You will be given an insider perspective of this institution and as such we hope will gain an understanding and appreciation of our institutional journey and the notable accomplishments along the way.
We have become a society more and more comfortable with status quo because it’s simple and easier to maintain. More of us are a bit hesitant to go beyond where we are, to stretch further than we can comfortably reach.
I want to welcome you to our 2007/2008 kick-off of our speaker series. In the 1960's two Michigan brothers borrowed $500 to begin what is now known as Domino's Pizza. Ten years later, our guest speaker was acquiring the knowledge he would later use to build this company into the world's recognized leader in pizza delivery.
The 2007/2008 academic year is dedicated to strengthening the present while investing and planning for the future. In traditional Webster fashion, the School of Business is already moving into the future by focusing on the journey ahead. And as such, we intend to center our attention on three overarching goals. Strategic Planning, quality assurance, development and public engagement
A story is told of a seven-year-old girl sitting on the steps of a large newly completed facility at a major university somewhere in America. As a man walked by, he paused for just a moment to gaze in appreciation of the beautiful building. He found himself caught up in the beauty of the architecture.
Martin Fisher arrived in Africa in 1985 after finishing his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford. Yes – he could have stayed in the ivory tower and become a professor like his father and two brothers. He could have used his extensive education to start a career with an oil company or government research lab. But what Martin Fisher wanted to do was to help others help themselves.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once boarded a train headed to Washington, DC. About 30 minutes into the train ride he realized that he had lost his ticket. The conductor recognized him and said, “Judge, don’t worry about it sir. I’m sure when you find it you will send it in.” Justice Holmes replied, “Young man, the question is not where is my ticket but rather where am I supposed to be going?”
Jo Clifford is an example of the value of networking and the results that come from having a community presence. As the Director of the Ocala campus, Jo has been relentless in ensuring Webster University stays connected to the community. And, she has done it by becoming a valuable member of that community herself. Jo’s volunteerism makes her a visible asset to worthy causes in the Ocala/Marion area. Her activities, just to name a few, include Board Member of Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corporation and President of the Board, Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
The RBC’s success in aligning the 13 colleges and universities in the region deserves recognition. Tonight, I am honored to recognize a leader who exemplifies the belief that the most valuable commodity is not what we own but what we know – Clark Davis has played an extraordinary leadership role in the RBC. He is the intellectual architect in the development of the higher education collaboration.
The School of Business and Technology is the largest provider of Business education in the nation today. Webster University graduates more diverse students than any other institution in America. Webster has more presence in more states than any traditionally based center of learning in America. Our worldwide network of campuses in Europe and Asia is providing hundreds of people a real opportunity to gain knowledge for real world success.
The very essence of our role as faculty is for us to be good teachers. In today's assessment driven environment, we are asked to go beyond the traditional practice of teaching. Times demand that we develop a culture to validate that learning is taking place and that is what good teaching is all about. The attached short video clip addresses the need to refocus our attention to attain these goals.
In the best seller "The World is Flat," Thomas Friedman outlines the consequences of the flattening of the world. He writes that from any desktop in the world we can contact one another and perform virtually any activity. Obstacles such as time and space are being eliminated by technology, literally creating a level playing field, which he characterizes as flatness.
We live in a time where the ultimate competitive advantage is change. The institutions that are best prepared and willing to embrace these changes will live to see tomorrow. Those that are especially comfortable with innovation, reconfiguration and discovery will ultimately prevail and will own the future.
I believe that Webster must stay on the forefront of innovation by demonstrating the audacity and courage to see things differently. It will happen by offering creative programs that meet the ever changing demand of the workplace. The recent introduction of such new programs in leadership and management, entrepreneurship, decision support, information technology management, non-profit management and web design is a validation of our seriousness of purpose. In addition, the new MBA Cohort of 50 allied health personnel at BJC the largest hospital in the system in the United States confirms our willingness to dare to be creative.
There is an age old saying that the apple does not fall too far from the tree. It is universal in its meaning and its application is real. This is a saying that speaks to responsibility and accountability. I have found this saying to be relevant to the Assessment Initiative currently underway in the School of Business. The saying gives relevance to the journey that lies ahead.
Consistency ensures that the curriculum in all of our programs is validated for substance and outcomes across the institution.
Assessment is the process whereby we measure that the learning outcomes are being learned by the students. In a passing discussion with Larry Haffner, Webster’s CIO said it best, “It’s hard to assess consistently when you have consistent outcomes and expectations.”
"The very essence of our role as faculty is for us to be good teachers. "
- Dr. Benjamin Akande
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