Webster University is fully committed to ensure its community attains a diverse population meeting the highest standards utilizing appropriate available resources.
In its examination of critical mission documents, the Subcommittee found multiple examples of evidence that Webster University directly addresses diversity. The University has long recognized that our nation is becoming increasingly diverse and that our students must be prepared to enter into a global community.
With respect to diversity, the Subcommittee specifically identified the following commitments in the mission statement:
- Creates a student-centered environment accessible to individuals of diverse ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds
- Encourages in its students a critical cast of mind, a respect for diversity, and an understanding of their own and other’s values
- Promotes international perspectives in the curriculum and among students and faculty
- Educates diverse populations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
To support its mission, the University has adopted a Statement of Ethics and Code of Honor for the entire University community:
In educating students for their professional lives, across the myriad disciplines, Webster University recognizes the following values as central to our academic family members- students, staff, faculty and administrators alike.
We make a commitment to:
- Treat others with respect and dignity as this is an academic institution that is inherently diverse, pluralistic, and global.
- Respect the property rights of others.
- Act with concern for the safety and well-being of our associates.
- Honor our global society.
- Preserve academic honor and integrity by repudiating all forms of academic and intellectual dishonesty.
The Vision Statement of the 2003-2008 Strategic Plan for Webster University reinforces the University’s commitment to educating diverse students for global citizenship. The Plan calls for expanding the curriculum to promote the values of global citizenship, facilitating movement of students and faculty throughout the global network, and implementing co-curricular programs that emphasize cross-cultural learning experiences. Both faculty and students move from St. Louis to Webster’s international campuses for a term or semester teaching and learning experience.
There is also opposite movement of faculty and students to St. Louis. During the past five years, more than 100 full- and part-time faculty from St. Louis taught at a Webster international campus or conducted research abroad. Ten years ago, 79 students participated in study abroad, whereas last academic year, 298 students did so. This increase is a major achievement, and the University will not only maintain but strengthen its commitment to our international mission and vision.
For traditional undergraduate students, the opportunity to travel abroad and spend classroom time in another culture is a valuable experience that fosters diversity. To facilitate this immersion in other cultures, the University underwrites the airfare cost of those students who choose to spend time at a Webster campus abroad. Once in the classroom in Vienna, Thailand or other location the student spends significant time with classmates from a different culture. In Thailand, the U.S. student may be surrounded by classmates from Nepal, Viet Nam, Thailand, and India. In Vienna, they may find themselves with students from the Balkans, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East.
[EXHIBIT: HLC1d World Traveler]
The effort to achieve diversity among the full-time faculty has been less successful. As the table indicates women represent 43% of the full-time faculty, but only 1% are African-American.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0.3 Sum and Substance]
|HLC0.3||Sum & Substance 2007|
Full-time Faculty By Racial-Ethnic Diversity 2007
In the 2007-08 academic year there were approximately 3,000 part-time faculty approved to teach at least one course in the university. Approximately 1,500 adjunct faculty receive a teaching appointment in any given semester - 600 in St. Louis and 900 in the extended campuses.
The University recognizes the value and importance of diversity among its faculty and recognizes diversity among its core values in the current strategic planning process. We will continue to seek faculty diversity. (See discussion in Introduction, Criterion Two, and Criterion Five.)
Another element of diversity on a University campus is the affirmation of the dignity and worth of individuals. This has been a characteristic of Webster University’s past and continues as a core value. It is exemplified in the commitment to small classes, and is found in the long history of faculty who are not only excellent classroom teachers, but also willing to work with students to make sure they will be able to succeed.
Webster University continues to have a student body characterized by various types of diversity. The average age for undergraduate students in Fall 2006 was 25 years old. For graduate students the average age was 35 years old. Females in Fall 2005 constituted 58% of total undergraduate students. Female graduate students also were 58% of the total.
Fostering and recognizing diversity also means an institutional willingness to protect the rights of minorities. For the past several years the University has provided domestic partner benefits. Webster also participates in Safe Zone, a national college/university movement that helps faculty and staff to become supportive advocates and allies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.
The Strategic Plan also reaffirms the founder’s mission of satisfying unmet educational needs. The plan states that the University will seek new opportunities to increase the diversity of the student population, expand the domestic U.S. network and expand the international network in areas that further the University’s mission to provide faculty and students broader opportunities for global enrichment.
We find that Webster University recognizes diversity and is not content with its achievements. Both faculty and staff continue to foster diversity and understanding among the student body, as with the curricular and co-curricular offerings of the Center for Ethics, the Human Rights Education Project, the Multicultural Studies Committee, and the International Studies Committee. There is broad recognition that more must be done in the recruitment and retention of minority faculty.
Through various means, Webster provides members of the University community the opportunity to understand and appreciate the diversity of the world in which they live for the rest of their lives.