With its network of campuses in multiple states and countries, communication with and connection to its campuses, its students, its faculty and staff, and its local communities are vital to the success of Webster. The University is centrally organized with all functions reporting to the home campus in St. Louis, Missouri. Information on the administrative structure and governance of the University can be found in the University Handbook.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0i University Handbook]
Webster University accepts in principle that the governance of the University is a shared responsibility of administration, faculty, and students. Highlights of specific structures and processes that enable effective communications and connections are outlined below:
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is made up of prominent local, national, and international leaders in their respective fields -- alumni, parents, and friends of the University -- who act as the governing body. The bylaws of Webster University allow a maximum of 45 members (minimum is 15) to serve staggered three three-year terms.
The Board meets a minimum of three times per academic year, as does its committees: Governance, Finance/Facilities/Technology, Student Life, Advancement, Academic Affairs, and Audit. Copies of the general Board and committee meetings’ minutes are kept on file in the Executive Offices. An executive summary of each Board of Trustees meeting is posted on the University’s intranet.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0.24 Board of Trustees Bylaws, HLC5b.1 Board of Trustees Executive Summaries]
The president holds weekly information-sharing meetings with the vice-presidents and with the president of the Faculty Senate. Vice-presidents include: Executive Vice President & Vice President of Academic Affairs; Vice President of Enrollment Management; Vice President of Information Technology; Vice President & Executive Assistant to the President; Vice President of Development & Alumni Programs; and Vice President for Finance. In turn, information is passed to/from the vice presidents to/from their respective departments and teams in various weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly meetings. From time to time, the president, in coordination with the vice presidents, will invite all faculty and staff to attend “town hall meetings” to discuss specific issues on campus (e.g., fundraising campaign, budget) and to allow for questions from the general audience.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.2 Organizational Charts]
Extended Campus Advisory Council
The Extended Campus Advisory Council organizational model was established in September 2005 in response to the extraordinary growth in Webster’s domestic extended campus system. Not only has the number and mix of metro and military campuses increased dramatically in the past ten years, but also the campuses have also become more widely distributed. This growth and geographic dispersion has challenged Webster’s ability to coordinate effective, efficient, and productive communication.
The Advisory Council’s mission is to elevate the level and extent of participation by U.S. extended campus representatives in the important systemic and strategic initiatives of the Office of Academic Affairs. This model offers the opportunity to realize improved communication between U.S. directors and St. Louis executive staff, consultation on important University issues, enhanced collaboration between the extended campus system and St. Louis, and advanced coordination of Academic Affairs activities and events.
Examples of Advisory Council’s functions include: planning for resource allocations; involvement in new initiatives; consultation with Enrollment Management, Finance, Marketing, Information Technology, or Development Offices; participation on other University-wide councils, committees, or task forces; planning and implementation of the annual directors meeting; participation in strategic planning; consultation to the Executive Vice President and the Academic Affairs team; consultation on policy development; and professional development.
The extended U.S. domestic campus system is organized into three geographic areas: East, Central, and West. Three representatives are elected from each geographic area, with staggered terms, and with no more than one representative per state when possible. At the annual directors meeting, each area council will caucus to elect its new representative for the three-year term. Each area must have at least one metro representative and one military representative.
The Extended Campus Advisory Council meets on a quarterly basis in St. Louis. In addition, council members from each area meet at a regional level to address regional questions and to explore operational issues within each area. Additionally, the Executive Vice President may call a special meeting or teleconference as needed.
Minutes of Advisory Council meetings, and other extended campus updates, are regularly published and distributed by Academic Affairs.
As mentioned above, the Extended Campus Advisory Council works in coordination with the Office of Academic Affairs to plan and implement an annual directors meeting. Directors, Academic Advisors, Community Relations Coordinators (CRCs), and other extended campus staff are invited to attend a 4+-day meeting in St. Louis every other year.
Directors meetings were previously held every year, until the Advisory Council voted to hold directors meetings every other year with Regional Faculty meetings (East, West, and Central) happening in the off years. At these meetings, both directors and faculty, give central University offices a chance to meet in person with extended campus faculty and staff to review procedures and processes and to share best practices on everything from student recruitment, enrollment, and grade reporting to budgeting, curriculum, and alumni programs.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.3 Extended Campus Advisory Council]
In a similar fashion, the university supports physical meetings on at least an annual basis (and sometimes more often) with staff and administration in parallel positions at different campus locations on a regular basis. The university understands the importance of these meetings to support collaboration across different geographical locations as vital to the communication infrastructure of the university, building collegial work teams to support students and solve issues across the network.
Meetings of this sort include (but are not limited to) personnel such as international campus directors, the international study abroad advisors, the international enrollment management team, and directors for the M.A. in International Relations. These meetings are held either in St. Louis or at an international campus location, to discuss policy, strategy and share best practices.
The Webster Staff Alliance (WSA) provides an annual Professional Development Day to help staff members learn about a wide variety of activities or issues, including time management, stress relief, writing skills, conflict resolution, social networking and many more. Other WSA initiatives include the Gorlok Greeter program to help new employees learn their way around campus and Staff Development funds to support work-related development and training such as professional seminars, workshops and conferences.
[EXHIBIT: HLC4a.11 Webster Staff Alliance]
Faculty Senate & Faculty Assembly
The Faculty Senate & Faculty Assembly are important conduits between the faculty at large and the administration of the university, as well as for faculty-to-faculty communication. Elected by members of the Faculty Assembly, the Faculty Senate has authority over the academic regulations of the university, and represents the academic and faculty interests to the administration in matters of University policy. The President of the Faculty Senate is a member of the Administrative Council.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0i University Handbook, HLC5b.4 Faculty Senate and Assembly]
Deans & Department Chairs
Deans & Department Chairs from the five schools and colleges form important links between Academic Affairs and the particular academic departments and their faculty. Department chairs serve a dual academic/administrative role, communicating to and advising the administration on issues of academic interest. The Deans meet regularly with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and academic administrators responsible for the extended campuses, the library, budgeting, as well as the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Information Technology.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0i University Handbook]
In spring 2005, the “Connections” portal was introduced, allowing for a mode of communication for all internal constituency groups, regardless of location. The portal allows for the creation of communication groups not only of students, faculty, and staff, but also more specific interest and working groups within the University. There are currently 92 interest groups in the portal, with purposes ranging from student social groups to academic interest and honor society groups to staff and administration working groups. The project has been modestly successful with the campuses in the U.S., gaining momentum with each term. Further functionality planned in the future includes migration of the campus intranet Web sites and better integration with overseas campuses, among other things.
The portal is a giant step forward for the University in terms of streamlining communications; more work is needed to better incorporate the promise of the portal into the administrative culture across the network.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3a.7 Connections Portal]
On the St. Louis campus, Webster University maintains more than 35 standing committees at the university level. Additional committees and working groups are maintained at the extended sites and in working groups across sites. The committees and working groups are generally comprised of members representing all areas of campus or the respective unit, in order to facilitate discussion of and communication of information about the committees’ concerns.
One such working group, the International Programs group, meets monthly and includes a broad cross-section of St. Louis-based staff who manage or come into contact with any portion of the University that is international in character. Informal verbal reports are captured in minutes that are then circulated to the group and maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs. Another working group, the “Friday group,” collaborates on data needs, best practices for the CARS database, and other information sharing among representatives of more than a dozen University departments.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0i University Handbook, HLC5b.5 Committees and Working Groups]
Since spring 2003, interested students from the Webster Groves campus have come together once a year (and now once a semester) to discuss topics of interest or concern with administrators. Thirty to 65 students participate in voting sessions to generate seven topics to bring up in discussion with the president and vice presidents.
The discussions are facilitated by the president of the Student Government Association (SGA). The ten highest priority topics discussed in spring 2007 were: recycling; campus signage; maintenance of the Quad and grounds in general; space for student organizations; peer advisors and student gatherings for each major; the portal and e-mail; campus community service day; media tutors and coaches; academic interdepartmental opportunities; and accessibility.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.6 Delegates Agenda]
Webster World, the University’s magazine, is published three times a year and circulated to approximately 125,000 alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors, and other friends of the University. The Alumni Office maintains the alumni database, which includes approximately 55,000 alumni e-mail addresses. Broadcast e-mails are sent to all or to segments of the alumni population on a regular basis regarding specific University and alumni activities. In addition, the School of Business & Technology disseminates Nota Bene, an online newsletter; the College of Arts & Sciences produces an e-newsletter Global Thinking; School of Communications produces the Web-based newsletter SCAN; and the Department of Music prints Overture.
Inside Webster is an internal online newsletter that is e-mailed to all faculty and staff worldwide on a monthly basis. The e-mail discussion lists provide an interactive way for faculty and staff to communicate worldwide on a variety of topics from course updates to baseball ticket giveaways to comments on University policies. Student publications include the St. Louis-based The Jourrnal, CHAI (Thailand), The Vienna Review (Austria), and the UK Student Newspaper. All circulate among the respective campuses. In addition, students on the St. Louis campus produce “The Galaxy” radio station and the award-winning student magazine, The Ampersand.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.7 Publications]
To strengthen the bond between Webster University and the local community, a new position was created to foster that relationship. The Director of Community Relations supports effective communication between the university and the residents and business owners of Webster Groves and surrounding communities.
The community relations effort is dedicated to communicating a positive image to the Webster Groves community, facilitating a healthy and reliable dialogue, and informing community attitudes about Webster University.
A primary function on the Director of Community Relations is to establish and maintain two-way communication between the community and Webster University’s administration. Effective connections with the local community include sponsorship of local events, memberships in various groups such as the Webster Groves Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Lions Club, the formation of the Neighborhood Advisory Council, and community relations Web site and a newsletter called “Webster to Webster.” Around the Table, a program whereby members of the community host a dinner for two or more students, was instituted two years ago. The Director of Community Relations also publicizes Webster University events and programs that local residents are invited to attend. It is clear that the creation of this very important position is attributed to Webster University’s capacity and commitment to a strong relationship with its local community.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.8 Office of Community Relations]
Similar to the Director of Community Relations at the Webster Groves campus, many of Webster’s campuses have Community Relations Coordinators (CRC) that maintain positive relationships their local communities. CRCs are primarily responsible for recruitment of students to their specific campuses, but in doing so often engage the local community.
Neighborhood Advisory Council—The Neighborhood Advisory Council comprises Webster Groves community members along with students and staff from Webster University. The goal of the council is to foster positive relationships between the University and the community of Webster Groves while providing a sounding board for ideas, praises and concerns. In addition, the Office of Public Relations mails a quarterly newsletter, Webster to Webster, to approximately 9500 Webster Groves residents and businesses.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.9 Neighborhood Advisory Council]
One of the most rewarding aspects of the University’s work is its engagement with its local communities. Beyond academic learning, there is a wealth of opportunity for educational experiences outside of the classroom with co-curricular activities such as community service, involvement with local events, sharing ideas with the local community leaders, and offering services to the residents of neighboring communities.
Webster’s commitment to offering outreach opportunities helps to create a campus community that is engaged in making connections with the surrounding community and enhancing the quality of the educational experience. Departments where such programs exist are fulfilling the mission of the University to contribute actively to their communities and support civic, cultural, corporate, and educational organizations.
It is important to note that community engagement happens in every city and on every military base where Webster University has a presence. Following are a few examples of the ways Webster’s programs and campuses are engaging their local communities.
The International Relations and Business programs, for example, draw a great deal from the European locations. Connections in Europe with world-class international institutions allow students at those locations (or students who choose to study abroad at those locations) excellent access to the real-word applications of their education, integrating their education and experience in ways that can only be done on location.
In Geneva, for example, students visit the United Nations and the World Trade Organization; in Vienna, offices for OPEC, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency; near Leiden, students can visit The Hague, and International Criminal Court; in London, a major economic center. The Webster experience at these locations is like no other; one of Webster’s greatest strengths is that students are afforded an opportunity to see them all, if they so choose.
All Webster locations and programs offer an avenue for students, staff, faculty and community to participate in enrichment activities that are tied in a variety of ways to Webster’s academic programs.
The most prolific of these activities are lectures and speaker series, and informational sessions. There are too many of these activities across campuses to have an accurate count; they are administered mainly by the schools and colleges, or by individual departments, some sponsored by individual faculty.
Regardless, they are a vital part of the academic culture of the university.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.10 Enrichment and Engagement]
A few examples are highlighted below:
- The London campus hosts speaker events, internships and job fairs. The campus recently hosted speakers from Edward Jones and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, allowing students as well as community members the opportunity to hear successful business leaders speak. Two very successful annual series in London includes the International Lecture and the Jean Monet lecture, to which 200 corporate relationships are invited.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.11 London Report]
- Webster Orlando responded to the community’s need for educated professionals in he field of Gerontology by sponsoring a lecture and discussion on “The Problem ith Aging.” This event was free and open to the public. Nursing personnel and people working in assisted living facilities were invited. Family members taking care of an elderly relative were also encouraged to attend. The healthcare program mentors participated in a round table discussion on Webster’s program in erontology.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.12 Orlando Report]
- The School of Business and Technology hosts the Success to Significance Speaker Series in St. Louis, where local and international business leaders share heir knowledge and experience with students and the community.
[EXHIBIT: LC5b.13 Success to Significance Series]
- The Center for International Education (CIE) at the St. Louis campus is a crossroads of international opportunities and activities for the University and surrounding communities. Its publications, International Studies Symposium, and annual retreats highlight issues around internationalization, from academic to social and everything in between.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.14 Center for International education]
Another effective community connection employed across many Webster locations is service on external committees, boards, professional and non-profit organizations.
The university is very supportive of such activities by faculty and staff, as evidenced by the financial and employee time resources made available. Employees are encouraged to participate in community and professional activities for personal, professional and community development. The university recognizes the value of employees making a positive impact in their fields and in their world; participation is part of the Webster culture. Such activities are celebrated in the community, through recognition internally in Inside Webster and externally in newsletters or Webster World magazine.
No matter how large or small an outreach activity is, each Webster campus finds ways to reinforce a positive relationship with local communities. Webster campuses engage their local communities by joining the local Chamber of Commerce; supporting local fund-raisers and charity activities; inviting the public to campus lectures; organizing education and job fairs; and participating in various ongoing community service projects. A few examples from a variety of campuses include:
- The Wichita campus participates in “Visioneering Wichita,” a community-wide program designed to prepare the community to meet the challenge of the future and to promote the community as a great place to live, work, play, develop and educate.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.10 Enrichment and Engagement]
- The Community Relations Coordinator (CRC) in Louisville initiated and coordinates a consortium of 23 colleges to help improve the educational opportunities of local residents. The Louisville campus also sponsors the Young Professionals network that has over 1,200 members and conducts social and environmental events.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5a.4 Louisville Report]
- In Geneva, seven members of the administration, as well as faculty members, are active members of the American International Club (AIC) of Geneva. The Director of the Geneva campus is a member of the AIC Board and a past president of the Club. The AIC provides access to community leaders in business, international organizations and diplomatic missions. The Geneva campus is a member of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce, the Association Genevoise des Ecoles Proves (AGEP) and the Federation Suisse des Ecoles Prives (FSEP). The campus also plays host to the Silicon Valley Association, the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA) and the Association for Special Kids (ASK) which works with children who have learning disabilities. Staff members from Webster University’s Geneva campus are also very engaged and visible in professional associations, illustrating the commitment the faculty and staff have to forming positive relations with the local Geneva community.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.16 Geneva Report]
- The Leiden campus Director is very involved in the American Chamber of Commerce.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.17 Leiden Report]
The Vienna campus Director is a Board member of the Austrian-American Chamber of Commerce, and a regular member of the Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce, the Development Committee of the American International School, the Reactors Conference of Austrian Private Universities, the European Forum Alpbach, and the European Association of International Education. The Director regularly participates in events of these organizations where he interacts with the leaders of Austrian business, government, media and academia.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5a.3 Vienna Report]
- The Director for the Ozarks Metropolitan Campus in Springfield, Mo., is a member of a Chamber of Commerce committee called “Looking Beyond High School.” Members reach out to local high school students completing the Missouri Option Program and provide them with educational materials related to higher education, career development and other skills related to post-high school living. The CRC for the Ozarks Metro campus is the current facilitator of the community-wide report on the condition of Springfield. This “community report card” focuses on 11 areas including education, healthcare and early childhood development.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.10 Enrichment and Engagement]
- Webster’s Orlando campuses partnered with Human Resources from the City of Winter Garden to participate in community fairs in the two lower income areas of the city. The event was held at community centers and over 100 people came to see all the Public Service booths.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.12 Orlando Report]
Advisory Boards are yet another way that Webster is connected to its constituents. Each of the five Schools and Colleges and many of the individual academic programs have Advisory Boards consisting of students, graduates, community leaders and professionals working in the related fields that meet one to three times a year. In addition, many of the extended campus, like the Space Coast, Vienna, and Leiden campuses have their own local advisory boards. Members of the Advisory Boards are notable community leaders and alumni with special interest and expertise in various programs of the College. By providing wise advice, opening important doors, and raising essential funds, these individuals play an important role in both the expansion and the academic improvement of the College or School or campus location. The Advisory Boards also play an important role as ambassadors in the corporate world, providing competitive intelligence of the market place.
[EXHIBIT: HLC4c.1 External Advisory Boards]
Webster University prides itself on offering “real-world” knowledge to students. The most significant way in which “real-world” knowledge is shared with students is through a vibrant and committed faculty. The University employs 171 full-time faculty in St. Louis, and approximately 1500 adjunct faculty in St. Louis and at extended campuses in any given term.
Quality adjunct faculty are a strength of Webster University. Most are employed in their respective fields by day, giving students an instant connection to companies and organizations in the local, national, and even international communities. The connection to external communities is further strengthened by the students themselves, many of whom are working adults who bring their real-world case studies to the classroom to share with fellow students and the faculty.
Internships are encouraged and are available in most majors and at most campuses.
The Office of Career Services assists all students – in the St. Louis metropolitan area, outside the area, and internationally - with preparing resumes, cover letters, and application materials, developing a specialized opportunity, and/or searching for internships in their local community or elsewhere. Academic credit guidelines and requirements for internships vary by department. If students seek academic credit for their internship, they are assigned a faculty mentor to supervise their experience.
School of Communication majors are required to meet specific requirements prior to participating in an internship and must contact the Internship Coordinator within the School of Communications to learn about their specific (and different) requirements.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3c.18 Career Services]
In addition, several areas of study at Webster require a practicum in conjunction with their curriculum. Practica bring students into direct contact with their local communities. The M.A. in Counseling program requires students to complete at least 3 to 12 hours of credit in a practicum. The School of Education offers a variety of options for placement and foci for learning, depending on the area of specialization by the student, e.g. practicum in early childhood education; practicum in diagnosis of reading problems; practicum in remediation; practicum in English as a Second Language (ESL). The M.S. in Nurse Anesthesia provides clinical education sites/partners for beginning level clinical experiences.
Nurse anesthesia residents may obtain clinical experiences at the intermediate and advanced levels at any of Webster’s affiliated institutions (see Graduate Studies Catalog for a full listing). The Gerontology program offers professional training by gerontological specialists in aging network, business, social service, and health care industries. Nursing programs, both B.S.N. and M.S.N., require practica that bring students in contact with their local communities while enhancing their academic experience.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0.1 Undergraduate Catalog, HLC0.2 Graduate Catalog]
The University supports its varied programs of engagement and service for its constituencies through creative development and effective management of its resources. The St. Louis campus has undergone a great deal of change in the last decade, including a new library, new housing facilities, the development of a quad, a parking garage, and more. Additional facilities are planned in the near future and can be viewed in the campus master plan.
The Office of Student Affairs works to positively shape the Webster experience for undergraduates – both commuter and residential -- outside of the classroom. In FY06, 3,547 undergraduates studied at the Webster Groves campus.
Twenty percent are residential students. The Webster Village Apartments were completed in 1997-1998 and provide comfortable and affordable housing to 280 students. Loretto Hall was renovated in 1999 and houses up to 87 students on campus. Maria Hall was closed at the end of May 2007 for renovation. And, the new Residential Halls – East Hall and West Hall – opened to students in the fall of 2006. Overall, residential capacity at the University stands at 710. (Evidence: 2006 Fact Sheet; Office of Residential Housing.) In addition, the cafeteria on the Webster Groves campus was renovated in 2004, and renamed “Marletto’s” (because of its location between Maria and Loretto Halls). The new “marketplace” has become a place of eating and gathering for students, faculty, and staff alike.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.19 Residential Life]
Office of Student Affairs
The Office of Student Affairs shares best practices with University staffers charged with similar work at the international campuses. Geneva, Vienna, Leiden, London, and Cha-am all have staff, or at least part-time staff, dedicated to student services.
In Geneva, the campus completed construction on its Living and Learning Center in 2005. The LLC features: fully furnished single and 2-bedroom units with private bathroom and kitchenette, security access, and high-speed Internet connection; gender-divided residence halls; fitness center, games room, TV and DVD lounges, and meeting spaces; beautiful views of Lake Geneva and the French Alps; on-site Housing and Student Services staff; and easy access to downtown Geneva, the Alps, and the rest of Europe. All freshman students are expected to live in the Living and Learning Center in their first year. This is the first such on-campus housing for the Geneva campus, and has greatly enhanced the educational experience for the students living on campus. Geneva has also secured a new long-term lease for a large downtown building (Les Berges du Rhône), to be rehabbed and furnished as off-campus housing to accommodate 120 beds. This new lease will consolidate the majority of the campuses off-campus housing at this new location. The building will be ready for occupancy in Spring 1, 2009. Both the Leiden and Vienna campuses are also currently exploring improved campus living facilities.
[EXHIBIT: HLC5b.20 International Residential Life]
Community Music School
In September 2001, Webster University took on ownership of the Community Music School and all of its buildings from the Saint Louis Symphony. In 2005, Webster sold the Community Music School building located in University City (a suburb of St. Louis) and used the proceeds to build a new CMS building with classrooms and a concert hall on the Webster Groves campus.
The new CMS building opened in spring 2007, and welcomes approximately 2,000 students ranging in age and skill level for individual lessons and group classes. The National Guild has certified the Community Music School of Webster University as exemplifying the highest standards of excellence and access in community arts. The building itself is a place of community engagement. For example, in May 2007 the new Concert Hall was the setting of a jazz concert for residents from several of the senior apartment communities in the St. Louis area. In addition, the CMS holds classes in a building in Faust Park, located in St. Louis County, and at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club in the City of St. Louis. The CMS is one of the ways in which Webster engages the local arts community, bringing them to campus for concerts, lectures, and on-site music instruction for children and adults.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3d.21 Community Music School]
The Energizer Global Staff Exchange Program
The Energizer Global Staff Exchange Program, founded in 2003, offers the opportunity of staff exchange between St. Louis and an international campus. This program is made possible by a $150,000 donation from Energizer Corporation to the School of Business and Technology and offered in cooperation with the Center for International Education, International Projects and the Human Resources Department. The successful applicants spend two consecutive weeks working with staff counterparts at a Webster University overseas campus. The award consists of round-trip coach airfare, housing, and stipend to subsidize other incidental expenses.
[EXHIBIT: HLC1d Mobility]
As noted in the discussion under Criterion Two, in 2007, the University began an extensive process to review its mission and vision statements and begin drafting its next strategic plan. While the University concludes the 2003-2008 Strategic Plan, the draft version of the 2020 Vision is gaining the endorsement of various stakeholders. The process has been transparent and inclusive, and clearly projects ongoing engagement and service. For more, see the Strategic Planning Web Site.