By Webster University President Beth Stroble
By now, fall semester is well underway. Faculty, staff and students have returned to campuses around the globe – and many have worked and studied over the summer. While summertime lets us refresh and regroup, for increasing numbers of Webster students it is a time to take classes for a head start on the academic year, accelerate completion of a degree, study abroad, or to hone specific skills and knowledge as Webster hosts younger students for summer camps. As Webster expands the number of certificate programs, more adults return for a needed credential, and current students round out programs with additional learning. At Webster, we are committed to our students’ success and meeting their needs.
This year is a pivotal time in Webster’s history. We have celebrated our Centennial for the past year and although our official celebration will end in November, we are launching initiatives to help the University thrive in its second century. This is a year to “level up,” to use a video game metaphor – calling on us to use what we have learned and the skills we have gained to progress in our ability to meet challenges and seize opportunities. This is a year to lead as individuals and as a community. So how can you, our students, do that?
Plan to study abroad — Webster makes it easy for you to live and learn in interesting parts of the world. Attend one of many speakers’ events—in Webster Groves alone, we have confirmed Alicia Graf Mack, Webster’s noted dancer who recently retired from Alvin Ailey; renowned filmmaker Spike Lee; and Woodrow Wilson Fellow Mercedes Tunstall, expert in e-commerce and cybersecurity. Take a class online and learn with fellow students around the world. Extend a hand in friendship and in service through the International Friendship Program. Put your learning into action for the 21st annual day of community service Webster Works Worldwide on Oct. 7. Pick up this year’s common readings to explore the ways in which we can “promote a society in which citizens challenge injustice and value diversity and inclusion” (Umbaugh and Hoef, Introduction to Common Readings 2015-16)
This year, we begin to execute our new strategic plan, Global Impact for the Next Century. Together, we will create a future that offers robust and global opportunities for our Webster University community. Our focus is and will continue to be on supporting Webster University’s core values: students, learning, diversity and inclusion, global citizenship.
Because we recognize that a safe campus community depends on all of us, we have further strengthened our policies regarding sexual misconduct, a topic of national concern. We will not only continue training for all employees but require this for students as well.
You can find me on twitter @websterpres or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite you to open office hours, posted at http://www.webster.edu/president/office-hours.html.
Best of luck for a successful academic year, happy anniversary to all of us at Webster University, and Go Gorloks!