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12/1/15 - A Message from the President and Provost

Posted: 12/1/2015 7:38:00 PM

December 1, 2015

To Our St. Louis Area Adjunct Faculty:

With the holidays right around the corner, we wanted to take a moment to bring you up to date on a number of issues and developments important to our Webster community.

Centennial Year Celebration
November 1, 2015, marked the close of Webster’s first century, and the celebrations concluded earlier this month with our “Dance Through the Decades” open house and the gala fundraiser, which raised more than $1.2 million to fund student scholarships. At both events, we welcomed members of our community, our neighbors, and University friends and supporters. Those celebrating with us learned more about Webster and our global mission. Thank you to all who helped to organize the events of the past year and to those who joined us.

Dedicated Meeting Space Available To Our Adjuncts
In our last note, we talked about our intention to provide secure and private space for you to meet with students. This project continues. Currently, on our Webster Campus, Sverdrup Room 208 is available, as is Room 237 in the East Academic Building. Instructions on how to schedule and access these work areas are posted at each door.

We have also set aside space at our new Gateway Campus, when it opens in January, and have incorporated similar meeting space allocations into our plans the Interdisciplinary Science Building. We will provide updates on the adjunct website as more spaces are identified and readied for use.

On the issue of the new science building, the City of Webster Groves approved our architectural design, and we should be able to start construction in the spring. We are also moving ahead with doubling the size of the current parking garage. When these projects are completed, it will mean that most of our classrooms will be closer to the expanded parking garage, making parking that much more convenient for our adjuncts, as well as our faculty, staff and our students. This will be a welcome change for everyone.

Improvements To The Appointment Letter Process
We know it is frustrating to receive appointment letters after the beginning of a term. We are pleased to report we are working to ensure that our adjunct faculty receive their appointment letters well in advance of the start of the teaching semester.

Preparing this new process involves a number of steps across several administrative areas. However, we hope to introduce the changes soon. Our goal is to have these letters to you well in time for the Spring 1 Term and the Spring Semester. We’ll keep you advised.

We Want To Hear From Our Adjuncts
Making improvements to the appointment letter process is just another example of an issue of concern that surfaced during the adjunct conversations we have been having since the summer. These informal conversations also led us to the conclusion that it would be helpful enlist an objective, third-party resource to elicit the thoughts and opinions of our adjunct faculty members from all colleges and schools in the St. Louis area in a manner that ensured professional rigor and confidentiality.

After a thorough review process, we engaged Towers Watson to conduct a battery of focus groups and present their findings. Now that the sessions have concluded, Towers Watson will aggregate and summarize the results and share them with us. We will review them with great care, and then share the findings with you, our adjunct faculty, and others in our University community in St. Louis.  We will also develop strategies to address your concerns and strengthen the areas where we are doing well. We will keep you informed every step of the way.

In addition to the focus groups, we have also made a concerted effort to help connect our adjuncts to events and developments at the university. These new initiatives include the idea exchanges and other small gatherings mentioned above, as well as regular updates on university developments through mailings and emails like this one, and ongoing enhancements and updates to the website (websteradjunctinfo.org), which was designed specifically for your needs as an adjunct.

We sincerely want each of our adjunct voices to be heard. That is our goal.

Communications Opportunities
Clearly such an effort requires regular communication, and it must flow both ways. To that end, on the adjunct website, websteradjunctinfo.org, you may ask questions of us under your own name, or anonymously. There is also an alert system you can sign up for, which will automatically let you know when we’ve added new information. To sign up for this alert, just look for the “Sign Up Today” button in the Updates & Alerts section on the home page.

We look forward to sharing additional information with you in the weeks ahead and responding to questions you ask. Thank you for your continued work in helping to develop our students for global citizenship and individual excellence.


Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, Ph.D.               

Julian Schuster, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President 
Chief Operating Officer