Webster University symposium highlights faculty research


On Thursday, students and faculty at Webster gathered to hear presentations ranging from topics in dance medicine to negotiating life in Southeast Asia. The Faculty Research Symposium gave faculty on campus an opportunity to share research they have been working on.

This year marked the second year of the event. Presentations were held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the East Academic Building (EAB).

Emily Scharf was chair of the committee for the event. She said former librarian dean Laura Rein created the event  to showcase faculty research.

“This was something that my former supervisor was really interested in doing,” Scharf said. “We just wanted faculty to be able to talk about the stuff that they study and things they’re already passionate about.”

Scharf said the event was important because it provided an opportunity for faculty to learn from each other.

“For a professor to know ‘oh this person I know is doing this thing that I just learned a bunch about,’ maybe they’ll find connections,” Sharf said. “We can only benefit when we talk about this stuff.”

Holly Hubenschmidt is the head of instruction and liaison services at Webster University. She helped with the event last year. She said she attended the event this year to find out what research the faculty are doing.

“They are doing amazing things, and we need to celebrate that,” Hubenschmidt said. “I want to be part of giving them a chance to voice all of the amazing things that they’re doing.”

Con Christeson is an adjunct professor at Webster University. She gave a presentation on her work about community-based development through art.

Christeson’s research focuses on engaging the community in creative ways through art. She has a studio on Cherokee Street and involves students from schools in the St. Louis area including Webster in her projects. Much of her work involves people who are or are at risk for homelessness.

“It’s a way for people to have a rest from the concerns that they’re dealing with,” Christeson said. “Even after they’re housed, they see it as a resource in the community.”

Christeson said she was asked to speak at the event after attending a meeting about internationalizing her practice.

“You know, it was really nice for me because as an adjunct, I don’t participate in those kinds of things on a regular basis,” Christeson said.

Hubenschmidt said even though research is happening in places in the university people would least expect, faculty should be doing more.

“Even though there’s expectations, it’s not necessarily a ‘publish or die’ situation,” Hubenschmidt said. “So I think they should be doing it for the love of their interests and pursuing that.”

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