December 4, 2020

Editorial: Growing Pains

If you’ve noticed some new faces in the Webster University administration, you aren’t alone. In the past few years The Journal has noticed that Webster University seems to be on a continual search for administrators, from new vice presidents to associate provosts to university secretaries. Webster Today, the university’s faculty and staff blog, is constantly updating the community about search committees and interviews.
Some of these positions open up to replace retiring administrators, like when Greg Gunderson filled the position of Chief Financial Officer after David Garafola left in 2010. Some positions, like the one now held by Chief Communications Officer Barbara O’Malley, were newly created by the university.
Former Vice President Karen Luebbert retired in 2010 and wore many hats— so many that three individuals will be hired to replace her. New positions, like associate provost, university secretary, director of enrollment technology have all been created within the past 24 months, to name a few.
Ancient Greeks had a creature they feared for this very trait. The hydra, a terrifying monster of old lore, had multiple heads. Whenever a head was chopped off by force, three more would spring from the neck to take its place.
Like the hydra, Webster is multiplying administrators at a alarming rate.
We at The Journal find ourselves wondering how this turnover rate measures up to other universities. We wonder it so much that it will be drawing much of our attention this year.
Does the creation of these new administrative positions foreshadow major change and expansion in Webster’s future? Has President Stroble cleaned house, or has she just given us the edge we need? Should students and faculty meet the multitude of search committees now being formed with excitement, or trepidation?
Only time (and your friendly Journal editors) will be able to tell. The Journal  hopes that with all these changes, Webster administrators will remember one thing — most students at our school enjoy the opportunity we have at Webster to pursue personal relationships with our administrators.  As more and more staff members join your ranks, tuition-paying students will always be looking to find the value in every new position. Choose wisely.

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