[Video] Fall Convocation 2015: Level Up

Aug. 27, 2015

[Video] Fall Convocation 2015: Level Up
Leaders of the four Strategic Plan theme teams provided updates on initiatives and scorecards.

Faculty and staff convened at the home campus in Webster Groves or watched online from around the world as President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster kicked off the 2015-16 academic year with the annual Fall Convocation.

This year's theme was "Transforming for Global Impact through our Values," with an emphasis on how the Webster community has increased its capacity and skills over the last few years to put it in position to execute the new strategic plan, "Global Impact for the Next Century."

Describing the Webster community's work in this area, Stroble used the metaphor of "leveling up," a concept from gaming where a character progresses by unlocking new abilities and skills that allow it to access the next level or area of the game, finding previously unavailable opportunities and challenges.

Stroble noted that one of the charges from the Board of Trustees when she arrived as president was to lead Webster to "the next level." 

"Part of our process as a community has been discerning what that 'next level' means," she said. "With new knowledge and capabilities in the Webster University community, we are being transformed individually and collectively, and in turn transforming the world. We are leveling up."

Fall Convocation 2015
Fall Convocation 2015 was held in the Loretto-Hilton Theatre and streamed online for faculty and staff around the world.

Reviewing progress through the lens of Webster's core values (Students, Learning, Diversity and Inclusion, Global Citizenship), Stroble and Schuster saluted the community for the strides made through collective initiatives like Academic Program Review and Prioritization, Site Review, the working groups, the ACE Internationalization Lab, the strategic plan and many others.

"As a result of what we have learned, we are now more ready than before to enter our next century with the experience to face even greater challenges and to see opportunities new to us," Stroble said.

Schuster spoke to some of those challenges when he recalled the recent Administrative Council retreat, where Webster leaders discussed research on how higher education institutions are tackling critical issues today. Innovations in new programs, organizational infrastructure and student services are major parts of how institutions successfully meet these challenges. Schuster highlighted some of the new academic programs and initiatives developed at Webster over the last few years, while promising more to come.

"We need to take it a step further," Schuster said. "We must enhance our unique offerings and create more. We need to connect the dots, connect our people and work across the network. Together, we will create global impact for the next century."

Calling this era "a pivotal moment" in Webster's history, Schuster saluted those who helped Webster "level up." "I would like to thank all of you for working together in a creative and impactful way to improve the experiences of our students and to make this university what it is and what it will become."

Fall Convocation Alma Mater
Department of Music chair Jeffrey Carter, accompanied by music professor Trent Patterson on piano, led faculty and staff in singing the new alma mater, "Webster U, You Are Our Home," at the opening of Fall Convocation 2015. 

Schuster introduced the four Strategic Plan theme team leaders (Nancy Hellerud, Eric Rothenbuhler, Greg Gunderson, Robert Parrent), who each provided updates on their themes' initiatives and scorecards.

If you missed Convocation, you can hear all of their remarks, areas of progress and other updates through the video below:

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