Webster University meets the expectations of Criterion Four. Academic freedom is supported for all faculty and students in our network. This freedom of inquiry is widely recognized by faculty and students. Our academic community supports and celebrates a “life of learning.”
The University’s general education program strives to help shape a coherent and comprehensive baccalaureate degree program. The general education program enjoys faculty ownership. Webster’s international and global mission are core values that are supported in the general education program.
Although primarily a teaching institution, Webster supports, rewards and encourages faculty scholarship, research and professional development. This “integration and application” aspect of scholarship is especially supported by Webster’s teaching faculty with their applied research. The budgeted resources devoted to faculty professional development and research at Webster is considerable and stable. The faculty cite this benefit as exceptionally strong.
Alumni data supports that the vast majority of Webster’s graduates are professionally employed, and report high levels of satisfaction with their Webster educational experience(s). The self-study found a widespread culture of integrity based on high standards of ethical and professional conduct. Recent additions, such as the Ethics Hotline, are an indication of the institution’s commitment to continued high standards. Finally, the self-study found clear and widespread policies, practices and resources guiding academic integrity and the proper use of intellectual property.
The self-study did recognize the needs of a changing professoriate. Faculty are increasingly pressured with new demands on their teaching and research. All faculty will need to learn new skills as academic technology increasingly impacts teaching and learning. New and expanding faculty roles will require attention to faculty development, to multiculturalism and diversity, and to challenges working with increased numbers of under-prepared students. Integrating technology into traditional teaching and learning settings will be a significant challenge.
Finally, the continuing work of assessing student learning outcomes and improving learning will require sustained faculty commitments. These challenges and changes will impact the entire faculty: new appointments, senior faculty and part-time adjunct faculty. Faculty development will be an essential tool in addressing these challenges.
The self-study reveals many initiatives and programs supporting the culture of a life of learning. While these programs infuse the entire Webster University community with a culture of a life of learning, many times it is difficult to accurately measure the impact of the programs as a whole on the University, as many measures are program-specific.
The impact is felt by each of these initiatives and programs. The Webster University new strategic plan assists with development of priorities for many of the programs including the international mission of the University.