Schuster to Retire After 32 Years - Attend Reception | Webster University

ST. LOUIS (November 30, 2017) – Professor Joe Schuster has taught in the School of Communications at Webster University for 32 years. A retirement reception in his honor will be held Thursday, Nov. 30, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Faculty Development Lounge located on the 4th floor of the Emerson Library. Everyone is invited to stop by.

Joe Schuster by bookcaseDuring Joe Schuster’s 32-year teaching career in the SOC, he was chair of the Department of Communications and Journalism for 14 years overseeing, “many of our most important degree programs,” said Dean of the School of Communications Eric Rothenbuhler. (The department of Communications and Journalism is comprised of programs from advertising and marketing to sports communications.)  In 2008, Schuster received the William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching. Schuster is retiring at the end of the year.

“Joe Schuster has been a leader of the School of Communications and its faculty for many years; very few people have made a comparable number or quality of contributions,” continued Rothenbuhler.

“He designed and led our Scriptwriting program, including recruiting a great cadre of adjunct faculty members and maintaining good relations with our successful alumni working as writers in Los Angeles and elsewhere. He also took on the creation of our online BA-completion degree in Media Communications. These are only his most obvious contribution,” said Rothenbuhler.

Schuster’s novel, The Might Have Been, was a finalist for the 2012 CASEY Award for the Best Baseball Book of
the Year, and it made the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "50 Favorite Books of 2012” list.

He also published a short nonfiction book about baseball, One Season in the Sun, and more than 600 articles, essays and reviews in a variety of national, regional and local magazines and newspapers. He has contributed chapters to several books that are part of a biography project for the Society of American Baseball Research. Schuster was one of a handful of writers who assembled a comprehensive chronology of the career of baseball icon Stan Musial for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Professor Kit Jenkins has referred to Schuster as “a teacher’s teacher” and as an “expert at his craft,” regarding his knowledge of writing. She has frequently turned to Schuster for help with writing-related questions, and Jenkins said that he always provided the answers with wit. According to Jenkins, his expertise in this area has positively influenced the “content and delivery” of writing courses in the Communications and Journalism curriculum.

In a recent Facebook post, Schuster wrote about his “notion that good writing, no matter the form, was important, that it could make the world a better place and that working at it was a meaningful way to spend a life.”

It appears that many of his colleagues, friends, and former students agree.

In that same Facebook post, Schuster announced his retirement. More than 200 people reacted to the news. More than 100 people left comments and well wishes.

For example, alumna Jess Rigdon wrote, “Thank you for the best Script Analysis class which prepared me for my work in Los Angeles and working with writers. It was invaluable.”

Alumna Rose Dalba was even more effusive in her praise of Schuster. She wrote, “You were such an encouraging and supportive teacher, who helped so many of us at Webster foster our love for reporting and writing. Most importantly for me, you taught us the fine art of rewriting and rewriting, using each word to build upon the next to create a strong and true story. You made a difference in my life and those of countless others who had the good fortune to call you teacher and friend.”

“It was a blessing and a pleasure to work with you,” noted Webster University Professor Emeritus Steve Schenkel. Current faculty member Anene Tressler-Hauschultz said, “As an adjunct who learned so much from you, I want to say 'thank you' for years of guidance and support.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Ted Hoef added, “Thanks for the many ways you have contributed to student life outside of the classroom.”

The other comments share similar messages and tone taking particular note of how Joe Schuster and his teaching have changed their lives.

In a note from Emeritus Dean Debra Carpenter, her admiration of and praise for Joe Schuster poured off the page. His impact on her writing was obvious in her speculations as to how he would advise her write parts of her note.

Carpenter wrote, “His work in higher education was motivated by his love of students and his passion for writing, reading and learning.”

She recalled, “The repeated scene of Joe at the podium at graduation, singing out the names and awards of the individual graduates of the Communications and Journalism Department. He was always very happy at this culmination of what was often a long, long road to earning a degree. He read everything students wrote on their announcement cards; he didn’t care how long it took. This was their special day and he was going to make it special for them.”

Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Communications and Journalism Gary Ford reiterated Carpenter’s sentiments, “Joe’s priority has always been to serve the students.”

Ford continued, “He has been a wonderful friend, colleague and mentor to his fellow faculty members. The success of the Department of Communications and Journalism is the result of Joe’s leadership, dedication, understanding and wisdom.”

“In countless ways, in all his work, Joe has always worked for the good of our students, the quality of our programs, and to uphold the highest principles of professional responsibility. I am proud to have worked with Joe Schuster,” said Eric Rothenbuhler.

After Joe Schuster has “put away the grading pen” as Debra Carpenter described his upcoming retirement, he can focus on his own writing.  As was evident from reading the comments on his recent Facebook post, he has a large audience waiting to read whatever he publishes next.

The faculty and staff of the School of Communications are sending Joe Schuster off with hearty congratulations and thanks for more contributions to Webster University, the School, its students, alumni, and so many others, than can be quantified.