New School of Education Leadership Announced

The Office of the Provost has announced new leadership for the Webster University School of Education upon the retirement of Brenda Fyfe, dean, at the end of 2017.

Thomas Cornell, associate professor and chair of the Language, Literacy, and Leadership Department, has been named interim dean of the School of Education. DJ Kaiser, associate professor and program director for the MA in Teaching English as a Second Language, has been named associate dean on an interim basis.

“Tom and DJ have long been forward-thinking leaders among our faculty in both the School of Education as well as throughout Webster,” said Julian Schuster, Webster University’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “In addition to their teaching background, their experience in developing programs and curriculum, securing grants and partnerships, and collaborating with school districts will serve the School well through this leadership transition.”

Thomas Cornell and DJ Kaiser

In Memory of Patricia McKissack

Webster University recently held an event and celebration to honor the life and work of Patricia McKissack. Many friends, family, and colleagues were in attendance. A former graduate of Webster University, McKissack had written over 100 children’s books. Patricia felt that there was a lack of children’s literature featuring African Americans, and together with her husband Frederick, wrote stories to fill this void and highlight the history of African Americans. Patricia McKissack was also a board member of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy, literature, and libraries.

A collection of books by Patricia McKissack is now on display in the Emerson Library on the main campus in Webster Groves.

Leiden Study Abroad Spring 2,2018

Interested in studying abroad? The Department of Teacher Education is offering an exciting new opportunity at our Leiden campus for Spring 2, 2018. Come get your questions answered and find out more info – There will be an open house Thursday, Sept 7th, 1-2 pm in WH Webster Groves Room and Monday, Sept 18th, 3-4 pm, WH Webster Groves Room.  There will be food and Study Abroad Staff to answer any questions about logistics, finances and scholarships.

Move-in Day Fall 2017

A record number of first-time freshmen have enrolled at Webster University for the fall semester, a 21 percent increase since last year and the highest ever freshmen enrollment in Webster’s history. Classes begin on Aug. 28, with move-in day being the week before, as new and returning students moving and settling into to their new homes away from home.

How Webster supports students who are resuming their programs and helps students return to college

Webster University is using InsideTrack’s services to support students who are resuming their programs and help students return to college so they can finish their degrees.

InsideTrack, the nation’s leading provider of student success coaching services, today launched its newest suite of Re-Enrollment & Re-Entry solutions to help higher education systems and institutions successfully re-engage adults with some college credit, but no degree or certificate, and assist them in completing their credentials

InsideTrack has gained over more than a decade supporting institutions including Penn State World Campus, Brandman University, and Webster University in re-enrolling former students and preparing them to overcome the obstacles to postsecondary education success.

“Fulfilling our mission means ensuring that all of our students graduate prepared for global citizenship and individual excellence, including those who have had their education disrupted by life’s many competing demands,” said Michael Cottam, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and director of the Online Learning Center at Webster University.

InsideTrack’s unique solutions combine its uCoach® technology and analytics platform and executive-style coaching to directly engage former students and help them navigate the enrollment process, define long-term goals and plan to overcome potential barriers to completion. Coaches conduct multi-channel outreach campaigns, using the platform’s voice, email, text and other communication capabilities, then work with re-engaged students to design plans for graduating prepared for meaningful careers

“Adults with some college, but no credential represent one of America’s greatest untapped resources,” said Pete Wheelan, CEO of InsideTrack. “Unlocking their potential by supporting them in finishing what they started benefits those individuals, their families and communities, and our nation as a whole.  It also supports colleges and universities in fulfilling their missions, while providing much needed revenue in a time of great fiscal uncertainty.”

For more information on our programs’ visit:

For more information of InsideTrack visit:

Emphasis in School Counseling Offered

The Department of Professional Counseling is introducing a School Counseling emphasis (K-12) for the Master of Arts in Counseling at the Webster Groves campus. This emphasis is designed for individuals wishing to work as professional school counselors in the state of Missouri. The 2.5 year program will provide students with exposure to a wide variety of school populations including vulnerable and underserved communities in both urban and rural settings. The program has a strong emphasis on equality, diversity, and inclusion of all students.

Potential students can read more about the program and request information here »

Students in this degree program will have the additional opportunity to specialize in specific content areas that will further enhance their preparation to work in the schools. Individuals who are already teacher certified will be able to choose a focus on Response to Intervention(RTI)/Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); Psychoeducational needs of immigrant and refugee youth; or Fostering resilience in at risk children and youth.  Non teacher-certified students will focus on completion of Missouri requirements for teacher certification.

Upon completion of the degree, students will be eligible to apply for school counselor certification in Missouri at both the K-8 level and the 7-12 level based on the level at which they complete their field experience. Students who plan to seek certification in other states should consult the certifying entities to obtain more information.

This emphasis of the MA in Counseling is only offered at the home campus in Webster Groves starting August 2017. Students can apply today to start in August or January.

School of Education Graduate Spotlight

With our annual commencement ceremony having just taken place, the School of Education highlight’s two of our recent graduates, Juliet Salih and Erin Rasmussen.

Juliet Salih, who graduated from Webster University’s Teaching English as a Second Language program, had this to say about her experience: I want to impress upon people that disability is not a weakness. It is not something to be overcome or cured; it is part of a person’s identity, People with disabilities can teach, but teacher preparation programs often undermine the contributions and perspectives of this community, or think that we are not capable of meeting the many demands of teaching. I want to challenge students and faculty to reconceptualize the way we think about disability.  My experience at Webster in the MATESL prorgram has helped me to reclaim my place in the world as a teacher of languages, and has pushed me out of my comfort zone by challenging me to think outside of the proverbial box.

You can watch the video of her speech here:

Juliet Salih Commencement Speech

Juliet Salih, who graduated from Webster University’s Teaching English as a Second Language program, had this to say about her experience

Posted by Webster University School of Education on Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Erin Rasmussen, who graduated from Webster University’s Special Education program, also had a few words on her Webster experience: It was my absolute pleasure to speak at the school of education ceremony to a group of individuals who will most definitely make change happen in this world. After all John F. Kennedy once said, “Great things do not happen, they are made to happen.”

I am incredibly fortunate to have attended Webster University. The commencement ceremony was the final step toward truly closing a chapter of my life that shaped me into who I am today. My 3 1/2 years at Webster were filled with people, organizations, and learning opportunities that I will cherish forever. I am proud to call myself a Webster graduate because this university instills confidence and competence in its graduates

We would like to congratulate all of our 2017 graduates and welcome them as alumni!

SOE Students Present at Multicultural Roundtable

In February Dr. Jameca Falconer, Dr. Debbie Stiles and three graduate students Enita Rogers, Centron Felder and Christopher Campbell presented at the Multicultural Roundtable at Teachers College at Columbia University. All of the students are students in the Applied Educational Psychology program at Webster University. Webster University’s academic programs in Applied Educational psychology and School Psychology are committed to supporting the rights, needs, and well-being of children and youth.

Our presentation was titled “The Ferguson Effect: Exploring how Post-election Hatred is addressed in Schools.” The study was initiated because as psychologists and educators we have noticed numerous discriminatory events in K-12 schools since the election. This post-election crisis is particularly crucial in Missouri given the racial segregation, prejudice, and unrest in the St Louis area since the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.

Teachers, counselors, and psychologists in St. Louis area schools have reported that ever since the election, some children are scared, upset, crying, and acting out in class. These reactions have been most often seen in racial and religious minority youth. Just a week after Trump’s election, students in one local high school told African American children to get to the back of a school bus because of Trump’s victory.

Our presentation was both well-attended and well-received at the conference. Our symposium incorporated data from news sources, reflected on parents’ and schools’ responses, and offered suggestions about how schools and communities can best meet the educational and psychological needs of children and youth.

-By Dr. Jameca Falconer

Webster Alumni Reflections

Yanjie (Phoebe) Li, originally from Shandong Provence China, recently graduated from Webster University’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program in the summer of 2016 and is currently beginning her PhD in Applied Linguistics in Education at Washington University. Originally receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English at Qingdao Agricultural University in China, Phoebe taught English for 2 ½ years before coming to Webster to pursue her master’s degree. She was interested in the TESL program because she wanted to learn more methods for teaching English to become a more effective teacher. After relocating to St. Louis, she began looking at local programs and says, “Webster had the major that I was really interested in. Webster’s TESL program seemed like best option for me. I really enjoyed working with the professors at Webster University and found them very helpful and inspiring.” As a non-native speaker she felt uncertain at first, “I wondered how I can compete with native speakers working in the field. However, my professors were very encouraging. They helped with my self-esteem, and they helped me see that I could be successful and use my background knowledge and experience as an ESL learner to my advantage to help other international students.” Phoebe learned a lot while working on her degree at Webster University, but says, “The most important thing I learned is to respect other people’s opinions. I saw that for the same subject, people can have different opinions based on their personal background experiences, and it was eye opening. I found the classroom at Webster to be somewhere that you can really talk and exchange ideas.” Phoebe enjoyed working with different schools and programs in St. Louis while at Webster, which has a TESL program designed to connect students with other local schools, giving them an opportunity to network with other teachers and learn from a variety of different classrooms and environments while working hands on in the field with second language learners. She found that this experience “helps prepare you for the future and helps you hone your research methods, preparing you for future research projects, and allowing you to work with your mentors.” Phoebe enjoyed that Webster’s TESL program teaches methods including how to effectively use multimodality in the classroom and various second language teaching theories, along with pragmatics and approaches for working with ESL students. She is currently working for Parkway School district’s ESL program, which she received and offer from immediately after graduating from Webster, and it was also one of the schools that she had done hands on work at while in the TESL program. Seeking to continue her education, Phoebe received offers from Washington University and Ohio State after graduating. She was one of only two students accepted by Washington University, where she will be beginning her PhD. She said that Webster University provided her an edge because the TESL program at Webster is recognized by other universities as being a great program. Her advice for incoming students is to take advantage of all the great opportunities and benefits Webster’s program provides.

Advanced Certification in Severe Developmental Disabilities

Webster University is again offering its intensive program in severe developmental disabilities beginning in the Fall semester of 2017. This program is offered every other year and consists of three four-credit hour classes: Assessment of Functional Skills, Curriculum and Methods for Students with Severe Developmental Disabilities and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Applicants must already hold a teaching certificate in special education or speech language pathology.

Fall registration begins April 15. For more information contact Victoria McMullen at