Academic Year 12-13 brings Webster University one step nearer to our 100th year – 2015. We will celebrate 100 years as an institution dedicated to providing the highest quality education to students around the world. This is also the year we have set to accomplish our stretch goals, which include growing our undergraduate student population, increasing retention and graduation rates, and improving our rankings.
As President Stroble and Provost Schuster noted in their Convocation address on Aug. 16, we have made notable progress toward some of our stretch goals – but have not progressed, or have fallen behind, in others. Six areas have been identified for further study – areas where the focused attention of cross-unit working groups will assist in putting stretch goals on course for realization in 2015.
Previously established committees and task forces, such as the Academic Program Review and Prioritization Committee and the ACE Internationalization Laboratory, continue their work to strengthen our academic programs and create a strategy for internationalization across our network. Results of these working groups will be released this year. The six new working groups for Academic Year 12-13 will review Webster's practices, investigate best – and next – practices, and make recommendations for change and for actions which will leverage Webster's uniqueness and align with our mission, vision and values.
The Working Groups will comprise full-time and part-time faculty and staff from around the Worldwide network. Co-chairs will be appointed to each group. Once formed, the Working Groups will receive charges, invite student participation, and begin their work.
The six groups will focus on:
- Recruitment, Enrollment and Retention
Everyone at Webster, regardless of position or location, should understand enrollment and retention and his or her role in recruitment. This group will create those opportunities – gathering information on Webster and the higher education landscape, providing opportunities for our community to learn about the issues, and making recommendations on how enrollment and retention can be increased.
- Organizational Realignment
This group provides an opportunity to ensure Webster is aligned for long-term sustainability. The higher education landscape is going through monumental changes and only the strong will survive. Structural realignment will be an important part of our foundation.
- STEMM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine
This working group will discuss the approach for enhancing Webster's space in this critical arena of worldwide importance and demand.
- Diversity of New Hires
As a collective Webster University community, we are only as diverse as the people we hire. We know diverse students follow diverse faculty. This group will help to ensure we are as inclusive as we need to be to make monumental gains in inclusivity.
- External Outreach and Engagement
To be a great global university, we must be great locally. This group will examine best practices in the important areas of outreach and engaging our constituents at all levels.
- Policies and Procedures/Shared Governance
Faculty and staff working together are the backbone of this university. Only by working together in a collaborative manner will we accomplish our stretch goals and take Webster to new heights. This group will work to ensure we have the policy and procedure infrastructure in place that most effectively supports shared governance.