Information for Faculty
It's my pleasure to welcome you to the faculty of the Greenville campus of Webster University. Webster University was founded in St. Louis, MO in 1915, originally as a Catholic woman's college. The Greenville campus opened in 1993 for the purpose of offering graduate degree programs to working adults. The local campus has been very successful in pursuing its mission.
As a member of our faculty, your role is the most important within our organization. It is my firm belief that you, and the other members of our faculty, define our success as a university. You represent the gateway to a new season of learning for our students. Most of our students have been out of a formal educational setting for several years - sometimes a decade or more. As a result, many are anxious about their studies. This anxiety sometimes leads to behavior that we may consider inconsistent with our notion of graduate education.
On the other hand, I think you will find that most of our students are returning to school to better themselves. They exhibit considerable motivation and seek to understand how their studies can be applied to the everyday world of work. As a result, they will challenge you with the type of questions they ask. You likewise should seek to challenge your students.
Let me encourage you to help your students develop intellectually. It is our job to ensure that our students leave here better than they arrived. Of course, the students have an obligation to apply themselves to their studies. Most do apply themselves, but for the few who may not, it is your obligation to hold them accountable.
I hope you will find the information in this handbook useful as you begin teaching at Webster University's Greenville campus. It should help you gain a better understanding of our policies. It also addresses some of the dilemmas you may face in teaching the adult student. If you ever have any questions, or if I or any other member of the staff can be of assistance to you, please let us know. Again, welcome to our team.
Statement of Ethics
Webster University is an independent, comprehensive, non-denominational, multi-campus, international university with undergraduate and graduate programs in various disciplines including the liberal arts, the fine and performing arts, teacher education, business and management.
Webster University combines the cultural intellectual legacies of the past with a pragmatic concern for meeting the challenges of the present and the future. In doing so, Webster University:
- creates a student-centered environment accessible to individuals of diverse ages, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- sustains a personalized approach to education through small classes and close relationships among faculty and students.
- develops educational programs that join theory and practice, and instill in students the spirit of systematic inquiry.
- encourages creativity, scholarship and individual enterprise in its students and faculty.
- promotes international perspectives in the curriculum and among students and faculty.
- encourages in its students a critical perspective, a respect for diversity, and an understanding of their own and others' values.
- fosters in its students a lifelong desire to learn and a commitment to contribute actively to their communities and the world.
- educates diverse populations locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
- strengthens the communities it serves through support of civic, cultural, corporate and educational organizations.
Statement of Professional Ethics
On 13 December 1994, the Webster University Faculty Constituent Assembly approved a motion that "The faculty, administration and students of Webster University agree to uphold and abide by the Statement on Professional Ethics of the AAUP [American Association of University Professors]." The text of that statement is as follows:
- Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
- As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.
- As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.
- As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.
- As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
In addition to the above statement, there are two additional guidelines which should be practiced by adjunct faculty:
- Possible conflicts of interest vis-à-vis participants or other agencies and institutions are disclosed by and instructor in advance of employment or involvement in a program or course.
- Class time is not used to sell a product or service, or to distribute flyers or business cards that are oriented to the financial interests of an instructor.
FAQ for Instructors
Who are the students I will be teaching?
The students at Webster, as a group, are probably unlike any collegiate group you have been accustomed to either as an instructor or a graduate student yourself. Some significant differences are the fact that the average age is probably about 35 years and there has been a ten-year absence from the classroom. More than likely they are married, have families of one or two children, and work full-time. They tend to be graduates of smaller South Carolina colleges. Their level of motivation is probably higher than younger graduate students since they are in the working world and have more of a sense of where their education should take them.
How are they admitted?
Students are admitted to our programs on the basis of satisfactory completion of their undergraduate degree. In a sense we have an "open admission" policy inasmuch as none of the traditional graduate level pre-admission exams are used (GRE, GMAT, etc.) Students are admitted to conditional candidacy. During the first 12 hours they must maintain grades of B and above (two "C's" or one "C" and an "F" will cause the student to be academically dropped).
What is expected of me as an instructor?
Attached you will find the actual letter of appointment for a faculty member detailing the specifics of Webster's expectations. In addition, you are expected to attend the graduation ceremony held each year. Faculty should keep in mind that full delivery of the instructional program is basic to our accreditation, licensure, and integrity as a graduate institution.
Yes--one more thing. Where it is appropriate to a course the University emphasizes the importance of writing and speaking. Typically, a syllabus will reflect both writing and speaking assignments. The common denominator of success in any field is skill in expression and in interpersonal relations.
In my teaching efforts what kind of support can I expect from Webster Greenville?
We can support you in several ways. One faculty meeting per year (usually the Fall meeting) is devoted to instructional improvement. The Faculty Coordinator is available to meet with you regarding your instructional efforts including classroom management problems should they occur. You are encouraged to contact other faculty in your discipline. Another excellent resource is the publication "Webster Worldwide---Best Teaching Practices 2001," which contains many excellent cues to improved teaching. You are also encouraged to contact Webster faculty whose e-mail addresses are in the publication. You may request the Faculty Coordinator and/or Director to observe your class and make constructive comments on your teaching. An alternative would be to request another instructor in the discipline to observe your teaching.
How will my teaching be evaluated?
For the first three years, an instructor will be evaluated by the students every class he/she teaches at the end of the session. After three years an instructor is evaluated once during an academic year. The faculty members are encouraged to develop their own evaluation efforts during the session. The Faculty Coordinator will be glad to assist you in this process. Faculty members are encouraged to discuss the results of their evaluations with the Faculty Coordinator.
How do I know who will be in my class?
There will be a packet of information given to you the first night of class. In this information there will be a pink attendance sheet. It is important to keep careful attendance and to report absences for the first two weeks of class by returning the pink sheet to the front desk. Federal student aid requires records of attendance. Your attendance sheet is to be turned in at the end of the nine weeks session along with the textbook and any instructional materials accompanying the text. If a student does not attend the first two class meetings, they will be administratively dropped from the class. This is only if they miss both weeks. If they attend one of the two, they are not dropped by the University.
What happens if, for some reason, I cannot meet my class?
Contact the Faculty Coordinator as soon as you know you need to miss the class. At your next class meeting you will need to make arrangements with your class for a make-up session.
When do I get paid?
Thought you would never ask! Faculty members receive electronic transfer of payment to their bank accounts three times during the instructional period. The exact dates for each period are posted in the mailroom and are on the letter of appointment.
Can I change the syllabus for the course as it has been taught?
Yes. You will receive via e-mail the course syllabus. You can modify everything except for particular policies such as attendance, grade system, course description, etc. that are mandatory by the University. Please return these in a timely manner since the syllabi are made available to students as soon as registration starts. This is important because students are cautioned not to order books until they receive the syllabus. Since their books are ordered in St. Louis we can experience instructional delays if the syllabus production and book ordering are delayed.
Can I change the textbook?
Yes. A good bit of lead-time is necessary since we operate nine-week sessions. An excellent resource for selecting texts is www.facultycenter.net. There you will use the ID: 71469 and the Password POI879. This resource rates texts and indicates which other universities are using that text. The Faculty Coordinator will obtain desk copies and instructional accompaniments once you have selected a text. We ask that you return the materials at the end of the session unless you will be teaching the same course in the next session.
What are the chances of teaching other courses in my area?
Excellent providing your academic transcript and professional experiences support that. The Faculty Coordinator gains approvals from the academic departments in St. Louis.
How often can I teach?
Normally, you may teach twice in an academic year.
Will I have access to audio-visual equipment?
Yes! Overhead projectors, VCR's, and projectors, that run off of a PC for uses with programs such as MS PowerPoint, are available. All of these are limited in availability and require prior reservation at the front desk. Please try to reserve these machines early, as the demand is high. Please cooperate with other faculty.
Is there a preferred method of testing of students?
Typically, mid-term and final examinations are part of each syllabus. The method of testing is the prerogative of the faculty member. In general, we stress the use of written examinations, short and long essay tests, over objective testing. However, each faculty member must judge the appropriateness of his/her testing methods to the course content.
Is there a preferred format for writing assignments?
Yes. The APA writing format is standard for Webster University. Summaries of it are available for students and faculty members on our Greenville website at http://www.webster.edu/greenville/apa_research_writing.htm.
What should I stress with students at our first class meeting?
Faculty members are advised to remind students of the attendance policy of the institution and of their intent to enforce this policy. Secondly, faculty would do well to remind students of the institutional policy on academic dishonesty, a growing problem in higher education. Faculty members should also use this occasion to go over the syllabus and be explicit as to the faculty member's expectations of students.
How are grades handled?
The grading of students is the responsibility of the instructor. The instructor is the final authority in the matter of grading. As such, it behooves an instructor to establish fair and equitable standards applied to all students in a course. The instructor should keep a record of those grades for a period of at least one year.
What is an incomplete grade?
If for some reason, acceptable to the instructor, a student is not able to complete a course on time, the instructor may issue an incomplete grade, or I. This grade of I should not be assigned until at least the 7th week of classes. The form requires the instructor to list what the student must do in order to complete the course and how long of a time frame they have to complete the work. This form must be filled out in detail explaining the exact tasks needed to be completed before course is considered complete. Instructors are not to use an incomplete grade with the recommendation that the entire course be retaken. Students will be charged tuition to re-take a course.
Do I have access to the Online library/Passports system?
Of course! Faculty members have an I.D. number that may be used for Webster's online library. Please contact someone at the front desk about looking up your I.D. number if you do not have yours. As an off-site institution, Webster University has created one of the most outstanding on-line library facilities that can be found. http://library.webster.edu/ is the website for the online library.
Can I get an e-mail account through Webster?
Yes! Free e-mail accounts are available to all faculty. Full-time and part-time faculty who wish to receive e-mail accounts just need to notify the Faculty Coordinator and one will be requested for you.
Effective Teaching of Adult Students
Jerold W. Apps' book, The Adult Learner On Campus, identifies some teaching principles that work.
Learn to know your students.
This means more than learning their names. Knowing something about each adult's personal and work background, interests, and reasons for being in school adds an important dimension to the educational activity.
Whenever practical, use the students' experiences as class content.
The older student's work and life experiences provide the beginning place for learning. Utilize this whenever you can.
Tie theory to practice.
Returning students are not opposed to studying theory, but they are impatient to see how the theory works in practical application. Effective instructors go back and forth freely from the theoretical to the practical.
Provide a climate conducive to learning.
Respect the learner and encourage active participation. Don't ridicule a response, no matter how off the mark it may be. Some adults are so anxiety-ridden about offering a wrong answer that they can spend an entire term without offering any response at all. in the real world, mistakes are inevitable. The privilege of being wrong on occasion is something we need to grant to students.
Offer a variety of techniques.
This is considered a necessity in classes like Webster's which are offered in formats of four hours or longer. Overheads, videos, and computer-aided instruction can all be used effectively in the right circumstances. The chalkboard and flip charts are still useful in depicting concepts or outlining materials. Lecture is sometimes maligned as boring, but it is actually a very effective way to present course content when it is done well. The question is, "How much lecture?" Certainly more than two hours is excessive. Discussions, interactive small group modules, student presentations, audiovisuals, question-and-response time; all can be used with success. The key is to vary the techniques in an all-evening weekday or day-long weekend session, and to use those that are suited to the subject matter and to your own personality.
Returning students want to know how they are doing. Grades on assignments are a form of feedback, of course. A casual "That paper was well done," can be a powerful motivator for the adult. Criticism, when needed, is valid feedback as well, but it needs to be supplemented with positive suggestions for improvement.
Help students acquire resources.
Adult students are frequently not as knowledgeable about the library and other resources as the traditional students. In addition to identifying campus resources, encourage students to share their own materials with one another, such as pertinent journal articles, or items from their work that pertain to the concepts of the course.
Be available for student contacts.
Apps' research shows that exemplary instructors create time for student contact in addition to the class session. This is as individual as each instructor's own schedule permits and is highly dependent upon the instructor's own professional commitments and distance from the campus location. It need not be extensive, but some contact time is needed, and how this is to be accomplished should be made known to the students.
The following obligations prevail:
- In the event of inclement weather or of a campus closing because of a holiday, it will be necessary to make up the class by rescheduling the class prior to the official closing date of the term.
- A course syllabus must be submitted by the deadline provided by the Chairperson or Director. It must also be distributed to the students at the first class meeting.
- Grades are due on the date specified by the Chairperson or Director.
- Paychecks will be held when deadlines are not met.
- Each section must meet for the specified total number of contact hours as listed on the letter of appointment. Classes may not be cut short. Twenty minutes of break time are permitted for every four hours of class time. Lunch breaks should not be considered part of the required 12 contact hours for professional seminars.
- For classes of less than seven students, this letter of appointment is subject to revision. The compensation will be determined by the number of students enrolled at the end of drop/add period.
- Students with two unexcused absences must be reported to the campus director.
- Attend all faculty meetings as required.
- Faculty are expected to adhere to Webster University's policies on ethical conduct.
Faculty pay periods are three (3) per nine-week session. The dates of payment are contained in the letter of appointment. They are also posted for each session near the faculty mailboxes.Faculty Links