October 22, 2018

Small classes, big family

I decided to attend Webster University because it felt right.

I knew I wanted to study journalism, and for quite some time I knew I wanted to attend Mizzou. I applied at Webster because my high school made every senior apply to at least two colleges.

I was on Webster’s campus for a show at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in the fall of my senior year of high school. After the show, my friend and I walked through campus. I remember walking past the library with light flooding from its tall windows.

I remember walking past the quad. That night, I was hit with an overwhelming feeling that I was in the right place. I was sold. The next fall I started at Webster.

That sense of community is possible because Webster is small. I didn’t think atmosphere or environment were important criterion when I was looking for a college. But now as a senior in college, the atmosphere and people at Webster are what I have appreciated most.

Webster’s atmosphere is possible because its campus is small. When I walk across campus, I always run into several people I know. I love that. Knowing people on campus makes me feel at home. Whether it’s a fellow student, professor or friendly janitor. I wouldn’t get that at a large school. I would have felt lost at a large school.

The people I know and the activities I’m involved with on campus have helped me establish a community on campus — even though I don’t live on campus. Webster’s small campus creates this atmosphere. And Webster’s classes are small. You’re very likely to run into someone on campus that you sat next to in class.

Webster’s 2012 Master Plan calls for campus growth. The university wants to increase the number of traditional undergraduate students from 3000 to 5000. With that increase in student population comes a desire for an increase in academic and recreation facilities, housing and parking.

I understand the university’s desire to grow and add more students to the Webster family. However, I encourage Webster’s decision makers to not seek too much growth and to keep class sizes small.

Webster’s size is part of its charm. And small class sizes can be a selling point to students.

Smaller classes allow more interaction between professors and students. And it helps build that sense of community in the classroom.

Webster’s website states:

“Traditional-aged students. Adult learners. International students. Military personnel. Webster University serves them all, dedicated to providing quality higher education with small class sizes and a blend of theoretical and practical knowledge. Excellence in education remains its primary purpose.”

Small class size is part of what Webster is. I encourage Webster to keep it that way as it makes plans for the future.

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