Webster University leads higher education in tech, inclusion and overall excellence

Student with graduation hat

Meeting the needs of students — locally and globally — has remained a top priority for Webster University for more than 100 years. Webster’s recent ranking at No. 16 in the Midwest in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges and double mention in studies from The Economist prove this to be true.

In a recent report from The Economist titled “Flattening the Multimodal Learning Curve: A Faculty Playbook,” Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, Chancellor, clued the public in on some of the University’s tactics for success in both online education and diversity. Webster's holistic approach to serving the public and their students is what has kept them as one of the top universities not only in St. Louis, but throughout the world.

“You have to be tuned in and scan what’s going on in the world and in your environment and what your students are actually going to need from you,” Stroble said.

With an asynchronous model of online learning already in place since 1999 — cultivating an internal capacity to serve students from across multiple time zones including Europe, Asia and Africa — it seems Webster is tuned in indeed.

Setting the example for building successful systems

In The Economist report “Flattening the Multimodal Learning Curve …” Webster University was offered as a case study, setting the example of an institution that built an innovative and successful online learning system. Webster created Webnet Plus from the ground up — a platform that made it feasible for someone from a distant location to tune in to live classes via video.

2021 Webster University statistics

  • Webster’s percentage of students who were in the top 25% of their graduating high school class rose from 47% to 54%.
  • Webster was listed at #1 for overall faculty resources for the fifth year in a row. This list measures how easy it is for students to access faculty and to take a course that is directly taught by a professor with a doctoral degree.
  • Webster’s four-year average retention rate rose to 78.2% despite the challenges of the pandemic. Many other universities saw their retention rates drop from last year because of the pandemic and other associated economic challenges.

These impressive inclusions are proving what Webster's leadership already knew to be true: Webster is leading the way in technological advancement, inclusion and overall excellence in higher education. And the University have no plans to stop there.

 

Ahead of the curve in online learning

Because of our already established online capacity, Webster  never needed to shift curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic like other universities. While many universities were forced to pivot their learning experiences from in-person to online, Webster simply continued to operate online programs since their introduction to students in the ’90s.

“Our online programming is unique to our community, having been built from the ground up and customized to meet the specific needs of our students. We provide the same curriculum to our online students that in-class students receive, and courses are taught by the same faculty, thus assuring that our online students achieve comparable learning outcomes regardless of the means by which courses meet,” Stroble said.

 

2021: One of the best years to date

While 2020 proved to be challenging for many colleges (and students), Webster thrived. Others took notice of Webster's well-established systems.

You have to be tuned in and scan what’s going on in the world and in your environment and what your students are actually going to need from you."

In 2021, Webster served more than 10,000 students online. Prior to the pandemic, fewer than a quarter were fully online, according to The Economist. Webster’s four-year average retention rate rose to 78.2% despite the challenges of the pandemic. Many other universities saw their retention rates drop from last year because of the pandemic and associated economic challenges.

Not to mention, Webster was ranked 16th out of 175 in U.S. News & World Report’s Top College List in the Midwest.

Numbers don’t lie

Since 1999, not only has Webster's online learning expertise allowed the University to serve students during the pandemic, Webster cultivated something even greater: The University bridged cultural gaps that connect students from around the globe, highlighting and putting into action its established mission of providing access and success. Webster operates on the belief that a diverse community leads to an increase in creativity, decision-making and an appreciation of different perspectives.

The stats and the accolades speak for themselves, but one thing’s for certain: The success of Webster students is the University's crowning achievement.

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