The Task Force found Webster University to be fulfilling its mission with structures and processes which involve all the various constituencies. The mission statement itself is dated in its format and presentation, but the essential ideas are an accurate reflection of the fundamental reason for the existence of the University.
The core mission ideas can be traced directly back to the origins of the institution and its founders, the Sisters of Loretto.
Webster University today is geographically dispersed across the globe, and its academic programs cover a much broader range of disciplines than 40 years ago when the Sisters of Loretto transferred ownership to a lay board. But, the fundamental mission and purpose remain consistent despite tremendous expansion of scope of activities.
The self-study process initiated discussion on the format and content of the University’s mission statement. As a result, in the strategic planning process, a new and shorter mission statement was developed, along with a statement of institutional “core values.” The self-study process helped the community to understand this as an essential step toward developing a new strategic plan. This work is currently part of the new draft strategic plan.
The Task Force in its study found there to be a successful commitment to various types of diversity among the University constituencies. The most glaring gap between the diversity goals and reality is in the recruitment of minority faculty. High priority and substantial effort must be made in the immediate future to achieve this objective.
The Task Force focus groups discovered substantial understanding of key components of the University mission among various constituencies. A more concise future mission statement is likely to make it easier to effectively disseminate the document among the various University constituencies.
As a small St. Louis institution 50 years ago, the governance of Webster College was a collaborative effort among faculty, administration, and board. Webster University in 2007, is a larger and more complex institution, but the Task Force found the governance structures remain collaborative, and this contributes significantly to its ability to fulfill its mission.
Webster University today operates in a very complex national and global environment, and has a scale of operations outside its home campus beyond most other institutions its size. The board, administration, and faculty are committed to maintaining the long tradition of institutional integrity. To this end new structures and processes at all levels have been developed to assure the continuation of commitment to institutional integrity.
Note Concerning President’s Resignation
On February 11, 2008, Dr. Richard S. Meyers announced his resignation as President of Webster University, effective immediately. Dr. Meyers cited personal reasons in making this decision.
The Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Neil J. George as Interim President. Dr. George joined Webster in 1972 and has served in a number of academic administrative positions. Most recently, Dr. George was Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs. His interim appointment includes the 2008-09 academic year. The search for a permanent replacement will commence soon. Dr. James Staley has been appointed Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs during this transition.
The University intends to proceed with finalizing its new Strategic Plan (“Vision 2020”), and will continue to promote the institution’s goals for the comprehensive development campaign. Dr. Meyers served the institution with distinction for 14 years, and our academic community is confident of continued success under the interim leadership of Dr. George. Senior administration, trustees, faculty, and staff are prepared to discuss this transition with the Visiting Team during their visit.