Webster University President Shares Thought Leadership on Education in St. Louis

May. 4, 2017

Webster University President Shares Thought Leadership on Education in St. Louis
Webster University President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble

(ST. LOUIS) – “Many assume private colleges and universities are unaffordable and out of reach for the average family, but Webster University is proving that is far from the case.” Providing a quality education that is accessible and affordable is a Webster priority, and the impact of that approach shows through the outcomes graduates experience after completing their degree.

President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble shared insights into how Webster achieves this part of its mission when she joined several experts as part of the “Partners in Education” roundtable discussion hosted by the St. Louis Business Journal last month.  Stroble discussed the overall value of higher education, as well as how Webster University helps with early intervention in education, helps students overcome barriers to success, and increases the retention of at-risk students.

Other members of the panel were:

  • Constance Gully, CEO of Parents as Teachers National Center
  • Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, Superintendent for the School District of University City
  • Jeff Pittman, Chancellor of St. Louis Community College
  • Jovita Foster, Employment Partner at Armstrong Teasdale
  • Rachel Seward, Deputy Superintendent of Institutional Advancement for St. Louis Public School District

While much of the conversation focused on higher education issues, Stroble pointed out the influence that the University has with younger members of the community saying, “We have to care about the strong start that young children get because the gap gets built very early on. It’s why Webster University has been so excited to have a grant from PNC to help build vocabulary development. We partner in a program to help make sure young children, even before they get to kindergarten, have the vocabulary to be able to learn a variety of topics.”

The Mind Full of Words program was just one of the community partnerships mentioned in the article. The Rotary Downtown Young Citizens Award and scholarship were mentioned along with the Student Literacy Corps, which is funded in part by Maritz, Saigh Foundation and U.S. Bank and allows Webster University students to work as tutors in area school systems.

“The results in the metrics have been tremendous in two ways,” said Stroble in the article. “Not only does it help those young people who are the struggling readers become more accomplished readers, but it helps those college students understand the commitment to giving back to community. It helps them understand the importance of literacy.”

The importance of reaching out to underserved groups was a common theme for all of the participants. Stroble mentioned the University’s efforts with the TAP program, which works to improve the retention of conditionally accepted students and also our long history of working with underserved populations.

“At Webster in St. Louis, 81 percent of our undergraduates come from households that earn less than $52,000 per year for four people,” said Stroble. “So the idea that a private school is an elite place with only people that can pay the full way is not the case at Webster. And in the first five years after they graduate, they have comparatively low debt, they have high repayment rates, and on average they triple their individual earning power, according to CollegeNet’s recent study. The economics certainly make the case for a college degree, but I believe that much more comes with a college degree than economic earning power.”

The full article is available in the print edition of the April 28 issue of the St. Louis Business Journal. To read the article online, click here.

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