For more than half its existence Webster was governed by a religious order of women for whom honesty and integrity was of paramount importance. This continues to be an essential value for the board, administration, and faculty. Forty years ago the process for maintaining integrity of operations was relatively simple compared to today. Now, the University is larger and more geographically dispersed. External demands and expectations also constrain higher education, sometimes in complex or unanticipated ways.
The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the integrity of the institution, especially with respect to fiscal matters. Over the last five years the Board has taken several actions to make sure these responsibilities are exercised. A process has been instituted to provide a mechanism for those in the university community to report anonymously fiscal dishonesty or departures from acceptable financial practice. An outside firm, EthicsPoint has been hired to electronically manage the complaint system.
Reports can be submitted electronically on financial matters (e.g., accounting or internal control issues fraud, theft), regulatory matters (e.g., confidentially, falsification of reports or contracts), and information technology matters (e.g., misuse of University electronic records or student information).
In August of 2005 an employee ethics policy was adopted. This defines the appropriate standards and conduct to be followed when an individual represents the University in conducting business. Violations are reported using the EthicsPoint system, which is accessed from the University Web site The Board itself has both a formal conflict of interest policy and requires annual confirmation from members about their adherence to the policy. Recently, the Board has also established an audit committee in 2003 and internal audit process in 2005 with the goal of assuring fiscal integrity in the University’s operations.
An institution’s grievance process is a mechanism for resolving individual problems and identifying systemic issues. After extended discussion among the various university constituents, a new university grievance process was approved last year.
This new process renders the process for the filing and review of a grievance more transparent than under the former policy.
In order to protect the integrity of its fundamental teaching mission the University has an elaborate and comprehensive system of classroom evaluations. These are useful for the evaluation of faculty performance, but also serve as a key mechanism for upholding academic integrity in classrooms across the system.
The University has instituted a variety of policies and procedures to assure compliance with relevant federal, state, and local laws, as well as laws of the host country of Webster campuses outside the U.S. The Human Resources Department is responsible for compliance with federal and state law, such as the Americans for Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act, in the hiring process.
The Department of Administration and Finance takes steps to assure new construction and renovation projects comply with all state and local zoning, building codes, and environmental regulations.
[EXHIBIT: HLC1d.1 Construction]
|HLC1d.1||Construction - See Campus Master Plan|
As electronic communications and retention of records becomes a standard part of daily university life, the need to put in place policies to safeguard integrity and privacy is paramount. The University has developed and institutionalized such policies in recent years.
[EXHIBIT: HLC1d.2 IT Policies]
|HLC1d.2-1||IT Reports: HD Report|
|HLC1d.2-2||IT Reports: IPS Accomplishments|
|HLC1d.2-3||IT Reports: ISS Report|
|HLC1d.2-4||IT Reports: Portfolio Authoring Tools|
|HLC1d.2-5||IT Reports: List of Recent ISS Projects|
The office of the Registrar has also put in place policies and practices to assure the privacy of academic records.
Students with an allegation of discrimination in the awarding of grades can utilize a formal appeal process described in the Graduate and Undergraduate catalogs.
Student Life and Services Department administers a student code of conduct and judicial procedure system.
There is a student ethics statement and a statement of student responsibilities that define unacceptable and unethical behavior in both the classroom and other campus facilities.
[EXHIBIT: HLC0ii Student Handbook]
|HLC0ii||Student Handbook - Main Campus Exhibit Room|
|HLC0iia||Student Handbook Online|
Even more important than formal compliance with external regulation is an attitude and mindset to pursue honesty and integrity in the actions and decisions made on behalf of the University. Beginning with the Board of Trustees and extending through the President, Administration, Faculty, and other employees there is an attitude and perspective that honesty and integrity should guide actions within the University community. The history and mission of Webster University presume this frame of reference, and those individuals who currently constitute the university community strive to do this.