Welcome to the Office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs is dedicated to serving students, faculty and staff throughout Webster University’s global network in advancing our mission to ensure high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. The centers, offices and divisions of Academic Affairs provide leadership to services for faculty and students that foster academic success and support for initiatives and programs to continuously improve our programs.

In collaboration with the President, we set and implement strategic priorities to further excellence in teaching and learning and in research and creative endeavors. In partnership with the Office of Student Affairs, we focus on providing students with success plans — and a dedicated team to support those plans.

The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for accreditation, assessment, academic policy, the academic catalogs, faculty development and opportunities, institutional research and data for academic decision-making, global program development and delivery, academic resources and planning, and management of academic offerings and state licensure at our extended locations.

Academic Affairs

Nancy Hellrud

Nancy Hellerud, JD


Vice President for Academic Affairs

Nancy Hellerud leads the Office of Academic Affairs and the units that support the academic success of faculty and students across the six schools and colleges and across Webster’s domestic and international locations. She manages Webster’s institutional accreditation, serving as Accreditation Liaison Officer to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and oversees the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Hellerud also oversees the Office of Student Affairs. She has responsibility for academic and administrative operations at Webster’s international locations. She works closely with the President in advancing strategic academic initiatives, and services on the President’s Council and the Chancellor’s Cabinet. Hellerud 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.

Thao Dang-Williams

Thao Dang-Williams, EdD


Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Thao Dang-Williams is the associate vice president for Academic Affairs. She has over 25 years of experience in higher education administration as both faculty and administrator. Dang-Williams’s areas of interest include faculty support, student success, academic planning, and global education. Dang-Williams works closely with colleagues throughout Webster’s global network to ensure alignment with University policies and procedures in addition to working on initiatives to support student success at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Dang-Williams has served the University in her previous roles as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Interim Associate VP of Online Education, and Dean of Extended Education, St. Louis Metropolitan Region. Dang-Williams has a BA in Government and Communication from Monmouth College, an MA in Communication from Saint Louis University and an EdD in Higher Education Administration, also from Saint Louis University.

John Buck

John Buck, DMgt


Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

John Buck provides leadership for all functional areas of student affairs, works closely with campus student leaders, develops student life policies and procedures, and consults with colleagues throughout Webster’s worldwide network on student life issues. Buck has served on a variety of committees, including the Behavioral Intervention Team, University COVID-19 Task Force, the Undergraduate Enrollment and Retention Working Group, and the Tuition Adjustment Committee. Buck holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in management and leadership, and a doctorate in management (DMgt), both from Webster. He is also a 2014 graduate Webster University’s Global Leadership Academy.

DJ Kaiser

DJ Kaiser, PhD


Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

DJ Kaiser is the assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. He is also a professor and been the director of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages since 2011. He previously served as the associate dean for the School of Education leading the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) process, and he also served as a peer reviewer for CAEP and its predecessor, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. He currently supports accreditation and international education efforts at Webster University and works with federally funded grant projects. Kaiser has a PhD in Comparative Literature and an MA in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis, and BAs in Linguistics and Spanish and an MATESL degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Josette Bradford

Josette Bradford, MA


Director, Reeg Academic Resource Center

Josette Bradford leads the Reeg ARC provides academic resources, support, advocacy and access through relationships that empower students across the worldwide Webster University community. She has 25 years of experience in higher education and has primarily focused on student retention, persistence, and graduation. Bradford completed her BS in Biological Science at SIUE and both her MS in Workforce Education and PhD in Educational Administration & Higher Education at SIUC.

Kelly Heath

Kelly Heath, MEd


Director, Study Abroad

Kelly Heath is the Director of Study Abroad in the Office of Study Abroad at Webster. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the Office of Study Abroad and oversees study abroad programs and services for the University. She is involved in various University committees, including the Division of Global Education Advisory Committee, the International Studies Committee and the Accessibility Committee, as well as initiatives that help provide more equity and access to education abroad for Webster students. Heath completed her BA in Spanish at Bates College, with a study abroad experience in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Salamanca, Spain, and received a master’s degree in higher education (MEd) with a focus in student affairs administration from Loyola University Chicago, with a study abroad experience in Rome, Italy. Heath also received a CELTA certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language in Sevilla, Spain, and taught English there for two years.

Kyle McCool

Kyle McCool, MSEd


Senior Director of Student Success

Kyle McCool provides leadership to the Academic Advising Center, which includes both undergraduate and graduate advising. In addition, the advising team provides training and resources to faculty advisors and other student service professionals across the global network. She is also a co-lead for the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, a retention and case management tool used across the University. She is a member of the Global Advising Council and serves on Curriculum Committee, Graduate Council, Global Citizenship Committee, Graduate Tuition Refund Appeal Committee and the Academic Progress Committee. She is also involved in NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising. She earned her Master of Science in Education, Higher Education & Student Affairs from Indiana University, her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Tulsa, and is a graduate of the 2017 Webster University Global Leadership Academy.

Erik Palmore

Erik Palmore, MA


Senior Director, Office of Academic Affairs

Erik Palmore is the director of the Faculty Development Center (FDC) which provides professional development and support for the teaching efforts of Webster faculty worldwide. Palmore leads Webster’s learning analytics efforts, developing tools and methods to identify opportunities to positively impact student success, with particular emphasis on supporting leaders throughout the University with insights that impact academic planning, retention, and graduation. Palmore received his MA in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University, and his BA in English and Film from Webster University.

Rita Smith

Rita Smith, MBA


Senior Director, Academic Resources and Planning

As Director, Academic Resources and Planning, Rita Smith works closely with academic leadership worldwide and student affairs to develop annual budgets and manage academic resources, to develop business analytics to support data-driven decisions, and to continuously improve academic operations. Her office maintains all faculty data for tenure track and adjunct faculty members, issues U.S. adjunct letters of appointment, supports standing and ad hoc committees, publishes academic catalogs, manages several graduate student processes, and works closely with faculty and students awarded internal research funds. Smith serves on the University Budget Steering Committee and the University Planning Committee. Smith earned an MBA from Webster University and a BA in Economics from Westminster College.

Hannah Verity

Hannah Verity, MA


Director, Global Program Development

Hannah Verity provides strategic leadership and direction for the development and launch of global academic programs, including study abroad programs, faculty mobility opportunities and international partnership development, working collaboratively with academic units, Webster’s international campuses and external partners. She brings over 10 years of experience in education abroad, international program design and development, and partnership building to her work at Webster. Verity serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis and is currently the Compensation Chair for the Webster Staff Alliance. In 2008 she completed her BA in American Studies and immediately went abroad to earn her Global MA in International Relations (2009) while studying in London, Geneva, Vienna and Leiden through Webster University’s international campuses.

Michele Boesch

Michele Boesch


Coordinator, Graduate Student Processes

Michele Boesch joined Webster University in 1989. She applies her extensive knowledge of University policies and procedures to managing graduate student processes related to academic standing, readmission, reinstatement and petitions to graduate.  Michele assists with the state authorization/licensure process for domestic campuses. She provides administrative support to the Graduate Council, the University’s graduate curriculum committee.

Heather Goodin

Heather Goodin, MAT


Coordinator, Catalog, Curriculum and Communication

Heather Goodin manages process and publication of Webster’s academic catalogs, including serving as editor. She works closely with faculty and academic units and curriculum committees related to curriculum updates and changes. She also manages official communication sent from the Office of Academic Affairs as well as serving as a content manager for Connections. Goodin serves on committees contributing to continuous operational improvement. Goodin holds her Master of Arts in Teaching from Missouri Baptist University and her BS in Elementary Education from University of Missouri–St. Louis. Joining Webster in 2021, she has been in higher education for more than a decade.

Faculty Name

Linda Jakob, MBA


Coordinator, Adjunct Letters of Appointment and Related Processes

Linda Jakob is responsible for creating and distributing all adjunct faculty Letters of Appointment for U.S. which includes communicating with academic departments, individual faculty and payroll. Jakob supports all processes related to adjunct faculty across the U.S. (and some international sites). She completed her BA at Webster University and MBA at Maryville University. With many previous years in higher education, Jakob joined Webster University in the fall of 2020.

Raven Pugh

Raven Pugh, MA


Coordinator, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

Raven Pugh coordinates the daily operations for the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In this role, she facilitates a number of Academic Affairs committees, including the standing Academic Program Review Committee and various ad hoc committees. Pugh supports Webster’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and is also a resource for student and faculty researchers seeking IRB approval. She also manages application/nomination processes for faculty opportunities and awards across the Webster network of campuses, including faculty research grants and teaching awards. Pugh is a Webster University graduate, who earned a Master of Arts in Education and Innovation and a graduate certificate in Sustainability and Social Equity Studies. Her BA in Psychology is from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Olivia Radle

Olivia Radle, MBA


Coordinator, Full-time Faculty and Faculty Records

Olivia Radle joined Webster University in 2021. She maintains all faculty data and records for the Office of Academic Affairs, providing data and reports as needed. Radle creates full-time faculty contracts and oversees the processes for documentation of faculty qualifications and credentials for full-time and adjunct faculty worldwide. She works collaboratively with human resources and academic units to onboard new faculty. Radle earned her BFA in Fashion Design and MBA with a Marketing emphasis from Lindenwood University.

Unyimeabasi Etim

Unyimeabasi Etim, BS


Graduate Assistant

Uniyme Etim, serves as the graduate assistant for the Office of Academic Affairs. Etim works with faculty records to ensure compliance with documentation requirements. She earned a Bachelor of Science Accounting, Accounting and Finance from Afe Babalola University, an MBA from Webster University and is pursuing an MS in Information Technology Management with Webster University.

The Webster University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for the review of all human subjects' research at the main campus in Webster Groves, Missouri, and all worldwide campuses, United States and international.

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With its main campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is an independent nonprofit university with students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe and Asia, and in a robust learning environment online. The University is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Prepare for your next step and explore our community resources.

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