Senior Administration


"Our goal is empowering students to think for themselves—to ask thoughtful questions and to care, deeply, about the answers."

- Dr. Julian Schuster

As Provost, Dr. Schuster collaborates with senior administrators in overseeing academic endeavors and in managing the internal administrative operations at Webster University. The Office of the Provost also supports the academic endeavors of the University, which includes Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Finance & Administration, and Information Technology.

Provost's Senior Administration

Carol Adams Carol Adams
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Extended Campus Administration

Carol Adams oversees extended campuses in the Central U.S. region, monitoring enrollment, budget and program development to ensure academic integrity and consistency. She serves as Co-Chair of the Webster University Sustainability Coalition and is a member of the university's Military Task Force, appointed by President Stroble.

Dr. Adams came to Webster in 2008 from Ottawa University, Kansas City, where she was Associate Professor of History and worked on several university-wide collaborative efforts, including assessment and curriculum development. While at Ottawa, she also worked with international programs and served as Professor in Charge of Ottawa's Health Care Management program. She holds a BA in history, an MA in history, an MA in secondary education, and a PhD in history with a specialization in foreign relations, all from the University of Alabama.

Benjamin Ola. Akande Benjamin Ola. Akande
Dean of the Walker School of Business & Technology

Dr. Benjamin Akande is Professor of Economics and Dean of Walker School of Business and Technology, Webster University. In addition, he serves as Webster's Chief of Office of Corporate Partnerships. Dean Akande holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and has completed post-doctoral studies at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and at Saїd School of Business, Oxford University, in the areas of leadership and change. Dr. Akande's interests are diverse but connected: excellence, community, learning, empowerment, and growth.

Dean Akande is regularly sought out as an economic commentator with appearances on Anderson Cooper 360, Public Radio's "Marketplace" and St. Louis affiliates of FOX, ABC, and NBC. Dean Akande is Vice Chair of the Board of Argent Capital. He also serves on the Boards of the Saint Louis Art Museum, Forest Park Forever, Rx Outreach, and Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Mike Callan Mike Callan
Associate Vice President for Military and Governmental Affairs

Brig. Gen. Mike Callan, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), provides leadership and strategic direction for Webster's alliances with all branches of the military related to the development and delivery of education programs, as well as for the development and strengthening of relationships with federal and state agencies. He advises on areas for expansion of the Department of Defense student base for graduate and undergraduate degree and non-degree offerings and works with units across Webster, including Alumni and Development, Global Marketing and Communications, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs to deliver high quality services and programs to the military and government sectors.

Brig. Gen. Callan retired from the Air Force in the fall of 2011, where his last assignment was the 17 AF/ United State Air Forces Africa Vice Commander. He has also served as Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs at the Pentagon. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Slippery Rock State College, a Masters in General Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Masters in Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Paul Carney Paul Carney
Assistant Provost for Student Affairs and Athletics

Dr. Carney came to Webster in September of 2009, after serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management at Drury University in Springfield, MO. He is active in the Missouri and National Association for College Admission Counseling and also serves as chairman on the board of McAuley Counseling Services Inc.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Carney has served as Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Oklahoma State University and as Associate Director for Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Notre Dame. He also spent 12 years in administration at the University of Dallas, where he was Director of Enrollment Management and Institutional Planning. He holds a BA in history from Kansas Newman College, an MA in educational measurement and testing from Wichita State University, and a PhD in educational research and evaluation.

Grant Chapman Grant Chapman
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Director of International Programs

Grant Chapman provides leadership for a variety of international initiatives across Webster worldwide, collaborating with faculty, staff, and students to enhance the university's global reach. He oversees administration of Webster's international campuses, study abroad, and the Center for International Education. He participates in establishing and maintaining global strategic partnerships and in developing new international programs. He chairs the international programs committee.

Since 1992, Mr. Chapman has held several posts with Webster, including being a faculty member in the History, Politics and International Relations department, Director for the Center for International Education, and Director of the London campus of Webster University. Mr. Chapman held an administrative post as Provost with Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas from 2003-05. He regularly teaches, writes, and presents on matters of international law and international education and was a Fulbright Scholar in Japan in 2008. Grant received his Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University and holds an MA and JD from St. Louis University.

Mr. Chapman's responsibilities include: Center for International Education, Confucius Institute, Study Abroad, International Programs, and International Campuses.

Michael Cottam Michael Cottam
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Director of Online Learning Center

Dr. Michael Cottam oversees the development and delivery of online courses and programs offered worldwide by Webster's schools and colleges. He is an experienced academic leader, strategic planner, instructional designer, and online education specialist.

Prior to joining Webster in 2014, Dr. Cottam served as Dean of Instruction at Portmont College at Mount St. Mary's in Denver, Colorado, where he led all academic, instructional design, and instructional technology initiatives. He has also served as Faculty, Associate Dean of Instruction and Director of Instructional Design and Technology at Rio Salado Community College in Tempe, Arizona.

Dr. Cottam holds a PhD in Educational Technology and an MA in Spanish Applied Linguistics from Arizona State University.

Thao Dang-Williams Thao Dang-Williams
Dean of Extended Education

Dr. Thao Dang-Williams works with Webster University's five schools and colleges to enhance student services, lead a coordinated enrollment effort, strengthen programs for both undergraduate and graduate students, and build educational partnerships in the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

Dr. Dang-Williams has had an extensive career in higher education. At Ranken Technical College, she held the positions of Assistant Registrar, instructor, and then later became the first female department chair of the college. She then assumed the position of Dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division at St. Louis Community College. She has been with Webster since 2010, serving first as the Associate Dean for the College of Arts & Sciences and then as Interim Associate Vice President and Director of the Online Learning Center, prior to her appointment as Dean of Extended Education in 2014,

Dr. Dang-Williams earned her BA in Communication and Government with a minor in the Classics from Monmouth College. She also holds an MA in Communication and an EdD in Higher Education Administration, both from Saint Louis University.

Wm. Kenneth Freeman (William) Kenneth Freeman
Chief Information Officer & Vice President

Ken Freeman is responsible for all aspects of technology at Webster's more than 100 domestic and international sites, including enterprise information systems, networking and technology services, desktop support, instructional lab support, media center operations, the technology help desk and training, IT policy and information security.

Prior to joining Webster in April 2011, Mr. Freeman's held employment with Monsanto, CIGNA, Fleet Financial Group, United Parcel Service and IBM. He received his BS in business management from Herbert H. Lehman College in New York and his MS in telecommunications from New York University. He is a graduate of the Society of Information Management Regional Leadership Forum and holds a certificate in ITIL V3 Service Management.

Mr. Freeman's responsibilities include: Information Technology, Help Desk ,Desktop Services, Media Services, Project & Program Management Support, Application Development & Maintenance, Voice/Telephone support, Instructional Lab Support, Networking and Technical Services, Information Services and Information Security.

Brenda Fyfe Brenda Fyfe
Dean of the School of Education

Brenda Fyfe has been the Dean of the School of Education since 2002. She is a professor and researcher in the field of education. She has studied the Reggio Approach for over 20 years and has been a consultant to many private and public schools during these years. She is a board member of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators and the Association for Constructivist Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Fyfe has held many positions within the School of Education including being the MAT coordinator for early childhood education, the director of university assessment, chair of the School of Education, and the director of experimental and individualized learning. She holds a PhD in Education from Southern Illinois University, an MA in Early Childhood Special Education, and a BA in Sociology from Quincy College.

Greg Gunderson Greg Gunderson
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Greg Gunderson leads all functional areas of finance and general accounting, resource planning and budget, endowment administration, administrative services, facilities planning and management, and public safety. He joined Webster in March 2011, after serving as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business and Operations in the office of Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Gunderson has provided financial and accounting leadership at international organizations including ConAgra Foods, Inc., Cray Research, Inc., and Arthur Anderson & Co. He earned a BS in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a PhD in educational studies, with a specialization in educational leadership and higher education, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Dr. Gunderson's responsibilities include: Accounts Payable, Accounting Office, Bursar & Cashiers, Collections, Facilities Operations, Finance, Payroll, and Public Safety.

Nancy Hellerud Nancy Hellerud
Vice Provost

Nancy Hellerud joined Webster University in April 2011. She serves as chief of staff to the Provost, overseeing operations of the Office of Academic Affairs. She works with the senior administration, deans and faculty on a range of policy issues and strategic initiatives, with a focus on improving procedures and policies.

Prior to joining Webster, Ms. Hellerud served as interim dean (2010-2011) and associate dean (2004-2010) of the Hamline School of Business in St. Paul, Minnesota and was an assistant professor in the department of management and marketing. She holds a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, an MA in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, and a BA in English and German, also from Hamline.

Ms. Hellerud's responsibilities include: Academic Advising,the Academic Resource Center, Faculty Development Center, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

Tom Johnson Thomas Johnson
Associate Vice President and Chief of Strategic Initiatives

Dr. Thomas Johnson provides leadership for the development and execution of strategic initiatives, including the identification of emerging markets and the creation, development and delivery of new programs.

Dr. Johnson served as Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven for 13 years, during which time he worked with faculty to develop new programs in the areas of National Security, Digital Forensics and Advanced Investigation. For the governmental sector, he has developed programs in Criminal Justice, National Security, Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and Health, and Fire Science.

He has trained law enforcement agents and prosecutors from more than 30 nations in areas such as computer crime and advanced investigations. He holds a BS with honors and an MS from the School of Public Administration and Public Safety at Michigan State University, and PhD from the School of Criminology at the University of California-Berkeley.

Paul Carney Robert Parrent
Interim Chief Enrollment Officer

Dr. Parrent leads all functional areas of enrollment management which includes financial aid and undergraduate, international and graduate admissions for the Webster Groves campus. He came to Webster in June 2013 after serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management at University of Central Arkansas.

Over the course of his career Dr. Parrent has served as Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Southern Indiana and as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services at Midway College. He holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Western Kentucky University and a Doctor of Education, Higher Education Administration from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Laura Rein Laura Rein
Dean of the Emerson Library

Laura Rein administers the Emerson Library, overseeing the provision of quality information and library services in support of the University's curriculum to students, faculty, and staff in online programs, in St. Louis, and at extended sites. She coordinates with staff at Eden Theological Seminary on the operation of the Webster-Eden Library System, a cooperative program that supports the teaching, research, and intellectual pursuits of Eden Theological Seminary and Webster University. She serves as the editor of the Webster University Press, managing the existing catalog as well as acquisition and publication of new titles.

Ms. Rein holds a master of library science from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in English from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Ms. Rein's responsibilities include: the Emerson Library and Webster University Press.

Eric Rothenbuhler Eric W. Rothenbuhler
Dean of the School of Communications

Mr. Rothenbuhler was previously Associate Dean of the Scripps College of Communication and Professor of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University (2010-2012), director of the Media Studies MA Program at New School University (2001-2004), and a faculty member at University of Iowa (1985-2001) and Texas A&M University (2004-2010). He earned his PhD in 1985 from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California with a dissertation on the living room celebration of the television audience for the 1984 Summer Olympic games.

As a scholar, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Rothenbuhler has long pursued the integration of differing approaches to the study and practice of communication and media, and built a record of engagement with interdisciplinary programs, international scholarship, student media, outreach, and educational access.

Dr. Rothenbuhler's teaching and research address media anthropology, media history, and communication systems ranging from ritual through community to media industries, with special interest in music, sound, and radio. He is author or co-author of more than 60 articles, chapters, essays, and reviews on media, ritual, community, media industries, popular music, and communication theory. He has been a keynote or invited speaker at conferences and universities in China, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and at many universities in the US.

Beth Russell M. Elizabeth (Beth) Russell
Assistant Provost for Graduate Studies

Dr. M. Elizabeth (Beth) Russell joined Webster University in 1986. As Assistant Provost for Graduate Studies, she works collaboratively with units across the Webster network to coordinate efforts to improve graduate students' degree progression. In addition, she oversees the Academic Honesty Board and Academic Advising.

Dr. Russell holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University, a Master of Arts in Marketing, with distinction, from Webster University, and a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, also from Webster University. She has also attended the Penn State University Leadership Academy, an intensive program for academic administrators, designed to facilitate problem solving, communication, and professional development.

Peter Sargent Peter Sargent
Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts

Peter Sargent is the Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and the Head of the Lighting Design and Stage Management Programs. He has been with the University since 1966. He received a BFA from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and an MFA from Yale University. Mr. Sargent has worked with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis for 39 seasons. Highlights with the Rep as lighting designer include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, Anything Goes, The Most Happy Fella, She Loves Me, Sweeeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Mister Roberts.

Mr. Sargent is a member of the College of Fellows of American Theatre, the National Theatre Conference, the Educational Theatre Association's Hall of Fame, the Musical Theatre/Theatre Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Network Program Policy Committee for Young Audiences (YA). He is also a vice president of the St. Louis Chapter of YA, on the Board of Directors for National Young Audiences, and a recipient of a Special Citation for Education from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

David Carl Wilson David Carl Wilson
Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

David Wilson has been the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences since 2002. Many new programs have been launched during his tenure, ranging from an undergraduate emphasis in Biotechnology to the Global MA in International Relations.

Dr. Wilson earned his BA in Classical Greek from the University of Georgia, an MA in Philosophy from the University of Illinois, and a PhD in Philosophy from UCLA. He remained at UCLA, where he taught philosophy and wrote the McGraw-Hill textbook, A Guide to Good Reasoning. While at UCLA he served as Vice-Chair of Philosophy, Assistant Dean of Humanities, and Vice Provost.

Dr. Wilson is engaged in the St. Louis region, serving as a director on many local boards including the Academy of Science-St. Louis, the Missouri Biotechnology Association, the Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences, the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, and the German American Heritage Society. He also chairs the Ethics Committee for the St. Louis Science Center, and has been a fellow with Leadership St. Louis. He serves on the Executive Committee of the American Council on Education's Council of Fellows and as co-chair of their national Outreach and Engagement Committee. He has been actively involved in national higher education issues, having served in Boston for a year as a Fellow with the American Council on Education.

Randy Wright Randy Wright
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Randy Wright has an extensive background in designing and implementing new educational opportunities for military and other adult students. His 34 years of experience in higher education includes being a college teacher, counselor, curriculum designer, grants writer principal investigator and a senior university administrator.

Mr. Wright believes in bringing educational opportunities where there is an unmet need and has opened 25 extended campuses primarily on military installations, as well as advising centers throughout the U.S. and the extensive network of cooperative degree programs with the military.

Mr. Wright is the 2009 recipient of the Kennedy Award for distinguished service and contributions to military education awarded by the Council of College and Military Educators. He holds a BS in psychology from Campbell University, an MAE in counselor education from East Carolina University, and an MA in management from Webster.