Chancellor's Reflection: Education in a Pandemic | Webster University

Chancellor's Reflection: Remote Learning and Education in a Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020 altered so many aspects of how we stay connected, Chancellor Stroble began a weekly series of communication with alumni, donors and friends to share ways that Webster faculty, staff, students and alumni have rallied to support each other and their communities during these unprecedented times.

April 13, 2020

Dear donors, alumni and friends, 

It is my hope that this message finds you in good health and spirits. As the weeks pass, we have adjusted day by day to the “new normal.” Social distancing has become a part of the lexicon and connecting virtually has become essential. 

Webster University's School of Education faculty have shared their expertise as employers, teachers and parents adapt to video conferencing for work and school. Dr. Ralph Olliges, education professor, has more than 34 years experience teaching in the classroom and online. Dr. Olliges leads Webster’s Educational Technology program, which has more than 100 students enrolled in the master’s degree or certificate programs. Recently, Dr. Olliges was featured on the “Hancock and Kelly” show on radio station KMOX, offering tips for educators and parents to keep students engaged in virtual learning. A compiled list of online educational resources is available on Dr. Olliges’ academic site

In addition, Dr. Jameca Falconer, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and a counseling psychologist, spoke to media outlets regarding isolation and anxiety caused by the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Falconer was quoted in an online CNBC article about ways to reduce anxiety during isolation. She also partnered with the St. Louis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and made a 20-minute video on tips to employers on how to keep employees and customers calm and safe during the pandemic

Dr. Deborah Stiles, applied educational psychology and school psychology professor, has adapted her in-person class to an online seminar course that produces webinars titled COVID-19 and the Mental Health Needs of Immigrant and Refugee Children. Dr. Stiles plans to share these webinars with local, national and international organizations. Recently, “St. Louis on the Air” interviewed Dr. Stiles and graduate student Kaori Chaki about a 48-page report they sent to Congress called “The Psychological Impact of Separating Immigrant Children from their Families.” 

In these unprecedented times, vital support from alumni, individuals and corporations provide Webster students the stability and encouragement they need to continue their education, working with faculty whose expertise guides them in their professions and provides an important resource for them and the broader community.  Whether they are innovating online curriculum for their students or are providing help and hope to their peers, Webster students continue to make an impact. Please consider showing your support with a donation to the Webster University Emergency Fund. Your gift will have an immediate impact. 

Sincerely, 

Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, PhD 
Chancellor