Webster provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.
Webster University is a Master’s L institution in the Carnegie Classification System.
One doctoral program (in management) is offered, a host of undergraduate programs, graduate programs, as well as minors and certificate programs. For complete program offerings, see the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog.
Appendix 2 reviews milestones in the history of academic assessment at Webster University, man of which (NCA/HLC accreditation, state and international licensure approvals, Military Voluntary Education Reviews, discipline-specific accreditations) attest to Webster’s record of demonstrating its educational effectiveness.
Carnegie Classification of Webster University
|Category of Analysis||Classification|
|Undergraduate Instructional Programs||Bal/SGC: Balanced arts and sciences; professionals, some graduate co-existance|
|Graduate Instructional Programs||5-Doc/Other: Single doctoral (other field)|
|Enrollment Profile||MGP: Majority Graduate/Professional|
|Undergraduate Profile||MFT4/5/HTI: Medium full-time four-year, selective, higher transfer-in|
|Size and Setting||L4/NR: Large four-year, primarily nonresidential|
|Basic:||Master's L: Master's College and Universities (larger programs)|
Webster provides evidence of student learning and effective teaching in Undergraduate Education.
The analysis of data for Undergraduate Education begins with an examination of the evidence documenting the outcomes arising in the undergraduate education programs. The data points under consideration include: NSSE, CLA, CIRP, the HERI Faculty Survey. The NSSE 2006 and 2007 is first examined.
NSSE 2006 Data: Achieving Webster’s Educational Mission – Benchmark Items
The NSSE 2006 survey data was organized into three categories for summary analysis: cognitive development, personal development, and students’ global ratings of institutional effectiveness. Areas of statistical significance are also highlighted. In NSSE 2007, the university looked, again, at these same areas to see if the results were consistent in terms of student self-reports.
From this review, it is clear that Webster excels in the area of cognitive development in educating its students. Additionally, Webster’s positive ratings in terms of student’s sense of personal development also increased from 2006 to 2007. As a teaching institution, the major skill-related survey items are of particular interest to Webster and the results indicate that the institution is ranked higher than all NSSE respondents, combined, and reveals that students are operating on par with Carnegie respondents in virtually every category.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3a NSSE]
NSSE 2006/Cognitive Development
In terms of students’ cognitive development, NSSE 2006 indicates that students rated Webster higher than their Carnegie Peers in all but two categories of analysis and higher or on par with their NSSE 2006 peers.
NSSE 2006/Personal Development
In terms of personal development, the NSSE 2006 data indicates that the institution excels in helping students define a personal code of values and ethics. We accept the results on the items “understanding yourself” and “learning effectively on your own” as within an acceptable range when compared to all NSSE respondents.
NSSE 2006/Global Ratings
Students rate Webster, overall, as an excellent institution (93%), and they report that they would start all over again, at Webster, if given the opportunity (88%).
NSSE 2006/Statistically Significant Areas of Achievement at Webster University
Statistically significant at the p<.001 level, seniors reported that Webster provides a supportive campus environment within which to learn. The NSSE items related to a supportive campus environment are:
- Campus environment provides support you need to help you (the students) succeed academically.
- Campus environment helps you cope with your non-academic responsiblities.
- Campus environment provides the support you need to thrive socially.
- Quality of relationships with other students.
- Quality of relationships with faculty members.
- Quality of relationships with administrative personnel and offices.
NSSE 2007/Cognitive Development
In 2007, in the area of cognitive development, NSSE 2007 respondents rate the institution on par with or higher than their Carnegie Peers and higher than their NSSE peers in all but two categories. See the table following.
As a university dedicated to student learning and development, these indicators align especially well with the mission of the institution.
- Acquire work-related knowledge and skills.
- Writing clearly and effectively.
- Speaking clearly and effectively.
- Thinking critically and analytically.
- Solving complex real-world problems
NSSE 2007/Personal Development
In NSSE 2007 students continued to rate the institution highly in helping them develop a personal code of values and ethics. In addition, the students rated Webster above their Carnegie Peers and higher than the NSSE 2007 respondents in assisting them to “understand themselves” as well as in developing their abilities to “learn effectively on their own.” This reflects an improvement in the institution’s ratings on these items, over the prior year.
NSSE 2007/Global Ratings
The global ratings assigned by students to Webster University indicate the same strong sense of satisfaction with their educational experience as was noted in the 2006 NSSE data.
NSSE 2007/Statistically Significant Areas of Achievement at Webster University
The NSSE 2007 results provide encouraging findings, as the students rated the institution higher in more areas, when considered in terms of statistical significance.
- In terms of providing an enriching educational experience, freshmen students rated Webster higher than Carnegie Peers (p < .001) and the NSSE 2007 respondents (p < .01).
- Freshmen and seniors alike rated Webster significantly higher than their peer groups in providing more opportunities for students to hold serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity other than their own. This was rated significantly higher than the Selected Peer group, the Carnegie Peer group, and the NSSE 2007 peer group samples.
- Freshmen rated Webster significantly higher in providing opportunities for students to have serious conversations with students who are very different from themselves in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values. This pertained to both the Selected Peer Group and the Carnegie Peer Group (p < .05).
- Seniors rated Webster higher than all other NSSE referenced peer groups in their academic work in requiring them to make judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods, such as examining how others gathered and interpreted data as well as the need to assess the soundness of their conclusions.
- Seniors rated Webster significantly higher than their Carnegie Peers and the NSSE 2007 respondents note that Webster requires students to apply theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations (p < .05).
- For freshmen and seniors at Webster, the university delivers an excellent educational experience; this rating was statistically significant when compared to the ratings given by Carnegie Peers (p < .01) and the NSSE 2007 (p < .05) respondents.
Summary: Areas for Improvement based on NSSE 2006 and 2007
Webster’s self-study has identified the following for the attention of the academic community in considering how to improve student learning:
- the importance of writing revision for developing student skills;
- the relative importance of teaching students to analyze the basic elements of an idea, experience, or theory (as contrasted with other pedagogical priorities in Webster’s classrooms), and;
- working with classmates outside of class to prepare assignments.
Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)
In addition to NSSE, Webster tested the utility of the CLA instrument to determine if the survey administration process and final report would contribute valuable information about learning outcomes for our private-sector university. Judging from the data in this pilot, as reported in Webster’s Sum and Substance 2006 report, seniors are performing on par with other seniors who sat for the CLA, in terms of their scores on the performance task. The performance task required students to read a short problem statement and then identify solutions to the problem posed by referencing several documents that were made available to students as resource documents.
Particular Webster strengths included seniors’ abilities to make an argument and critique an argument. Seniors also demonstrated their strengths on the analytic writing task on this pilot.
We also identified several challenges to the CLA at Webster as a fruitful method for academic assessment. The instrument represents a low-stakes, survey process. It either requires students miss or use regular class time to participate or else relies on a presenting or self-selected sample. Finally, it offers insufficient return on reporting given the costs to administer.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3a CLA, HLC0.3 Sum and Substance]
Webster routinely participates in the CIRP survey monitoring the changing attitudes of freshmen over time. According to Webster’s Sum and Substance Report, 2007, the results of this instrument reveal that 20% of Webster’s full-time freshmen are first-generation college students. The 2005 national percentage was 15.9% for all students and 12.8% for freshmen attending private institutions.
Overall, Webster’s freshmen note the importance of financial assistance for attending the university. They have confidence surpassing their peers in their own artistic and creative abilities and public speaking skills. Yet, Webster also finds its students are cynical about the abilities of individuals to change society or succeed in America. This finding raises the question how best to educate these freshmen.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3a CIRP, HLC0.3 Sum and Substance]
HERI 2004 - 2005 Profile for Full-Time Undergraduate Faculty: A Look at Faculty Satisfaction and Goals for Undergraduate Education
How do the faculty feel about their teaching, at Webster, given the high satisfaction levels students express in the NSSE survey, the reasonably successful piloted outcomes in the CLA and the interesting personal confidence levels of Webster freshmen? The self-study team finds that the faculty are fairly satisfied with their work.
The findings from the HERI survey are noted in the tables which follow; they offer some item-by-item analysis.
Below is noted the total percent of Webster faculty respondents who ranked the items “to a great extent” that they:
|Experience joy in their work||81%|
|Engage in self-reflection||80%|
|Feel that work adds meaning to their lives||79%|
|Feel good about the direction their life is headed in||74%|
|Experience close alignment between their work and personal values||67%|
Faculty Views about Goals for Undergraduate Education
Percentage of respondents who ranked the items as “very important” or “essential” in undergraduate education.
|Develop ability to think critically||100%|
|Help master knowledge in a discipline||94%|
|Promote ability to write effectively||90%|
|Enhance students’ self-understanding||73%|
|Enhance students’ knowledge of and appreciation for other racial/ethnic groups||75%|
|Develop creative capacities||72%|
|Instill a basic appreciation for the Liberal Arts||66%|
The focus of Webster faculty in undergraduate education, according to the most recent HERI survey, is to promote the intellectual development of students with 100% of respondents noting this as a “high” priority.
[EXHIBIT: HLC3a HERI]
Adjunct Faculty Satisfaction in Teaching Survey:
Next Step for Webster University
While the HERI Faculty Survey is administered to all full-time faculty at Webster every few years, Webster plans to survey the adjunct faculty for their level of satisfaction in working as associates of the university. This adjunct faculty survey will be administered during the next strategic planning cycle.
Study Abroad Programs – Pre- and Post-Travel Surveys
The Study Abroad office has been surveying its students pre-departure and post-travel. The survey findings indicate that the students hold high expectations for their learning abroad, and they indicate that the fact that Webster manages its own campuses abroad positively influences their decisions to enroll in the programs overseas. The top reasons for students’ choice of study abroad destination are:
- Location of the program
- Perceived quality of the academic program
- Cost of the program
- Credit hours that can be obtained
Post-travel, the students noted that their experience helped them:
- Gain a better understanding of globalization
- Develop their skills in interacting with others who have backgrounds that differ from their own
- Increase their sensitivity to cultural differences
- Broaden their intellectual perspectives
[EXHIBIT: HLC0.3 Sum and Substance, HLC3c.16 Study Abroad Reports]
Webster's goals for student learning outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and make effective assessment possible
Webster values and supports effective teaching
Webster creates effective learning environments
Webster's learning resources support student learning and effective teaching
|Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching |
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