Happy Holidays from the Deans of Arts & Sciences

holidayimage2015 has been a big year for Webster as students, faculty, staff, and alumni across the globe have celebrated the University’s centennial. It’s been a big year for Arts & Sciences, too – full of growth and change. We launched several new programs (among them an MA in Human Services and a BS in Computational Biology), hosted two Global Leaders in Residence, held the inaugural Research Across Disciplines conference, and enabled student learning around the world. We also said goodbye to Dean Emeritus David Carl Wilson, whose leadership guided the College through 13 years, as he stepped down as Dean, and the two of us stepped into the roles of Interim Co-Deans.

As 2015 comes to a close, we pause to catch our breath, reflect on these changes, and think about where we want to be this time next year. Undoubtedly, there are more changes to come between now and then. But the character of the College of Arts & Sciences remains steadfast. We are the intellectual foundation of the University – a haven for critical thinking, open minds, and global perspective. These elements of our identity sustain us, and we will work, in turn, to sustain them as we enter this next year together.

happyholidaysscreencapWebster University’s annual holiday greeting celebrates a facet of character this year: kindness. Please take a moment to watch the video, and join us in honoring the central role that kindness plays in Webster’s mission, and the value of treating one another well in a troubled world.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season, and look forward to working alongside you to make 2016 great.

Interim Dean Jenny Broeder, Division of Professional Programs & Interim Dean Joseph Stimpfl, Division of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Goedereis Wins Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award

IMG_0571cropEmerson Electric has awarded Eric Goedereis, Associate Professor of Psychology, an Excellence in Teaching Award. The award, first established in 1989, “annually recognizes more than 100 educators in the St. Louis metropolitan area – from kindergarten teachers to college professors – who are examples of excellence in their field.” Goedereis and his fellow awardees were recognized at a ceremony on November 22.

“When I learned that the honor encompasses teachers at all levels and at various types of institutions, I was completely humbled to be among that group,” says Goedereis. In speaking to other award-winning educators at the recognition ceremony, “it was clear that [they] are passionate about teaching and committed to their students.”

Many of Goedereis’s Webster colleagues would say the same of him – among them, Danielle MacCartney, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (and a 2011 Emerson award winner herself).

“Eric is incredibly deserving of this acknowledgement,” says MacCartney. “Here at Webster, we’ve long known Eric as a talented and dedicated educator – someone who really makes a difference in his students’ lives. It’s wonderful to see him recognized among the city’s best.”

Goedereis, who has taught at Webster since 2009, says he approaches teaching the way a coach might approach his team, encouraging goal-setting and providing feedback and encouragement as students strive to meet those goals.

“Unfortunately, some of our students come to [college classes] having been so focused on grades and the outcome of an assignment or the course that they completely de-value the process of learning,” he says. “To challenge this, I try to get my students to embrace (or sometimes adopt in the first place!) what psychologist Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset.’ What this means in the classroom is that students should concern themselves less with whether or not they’ll get an ‘A’, but to constantly reflect on where they are in the process.”

IMG_0586smallThat process isn’t always easy, Goedereis notes, but in the same way athletes must compete against better teams to grow their own abilities, so must students challenge themselves to improve their skills.

“I tell [students] that if the material is easy and they’re not struggling with it in some way, then they’re most certainly not learning anything new,” Goedereis says. “I try to get them to actually embrace that struggle and value the effort and work associated with college.”

Goedereis’s recent focus, both within the classroom and beyond, has been facilitating and promoting collaborative research between students and faculty as a key part of the college experience. He is the Provost’s 2015-16 Faculty Fellow for Promoting Faculty-Student Research Partnerships, and has designed activities for this spring that will help his fellow faculty incorporate collaborative student projects into their own curriculum.

Ultimately, he says he would “love to see Webster University create a Center for Collaborative Scholarship that seeks to promote these sorts of student-focused opportunities in a coordinated and focused way.”

“I’m encouraged by Webster’s recent commitments in this area and am optimistic that we’re moving toward this goal.”

Goedereis is not the only educator with a Webster connection recognized with an award from Emerson this year: five Webster School of Education alumni received the award as well.

Information about next year’s awards will be available from Emerson Electric in summer, 2016.

Cultural Connections: Yōkoso, Michiko!

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Each month, Global Thinking features a “Cultural Connections” guest post written and curated by a member of the Department of International Languages and Cultures (ILC). This month’s post profiles Michiko Sasaki, the department’s international teaching assistant from Japan.

Michiko (left) with former ILC representative Maggie Dankert at Eckert's Farm

Michiko (left) with former ILC representative Maggie Dankert at Eckert’s Farm

Michiko Sasaki is the Japanese teaching assistant at Webster this year. Originally from Shiga, Japan, which is near Kyoto, she is very much enjoying living in St. Louis. While here, she is teaching two workshops and a course in Intermediate Japanese.

Though living in St. Louis without a car has been a challenge for her, she really likes the city itself. Shiga is not a big city, so coming here was a change, she says, though she really likes the atmosphere of St. Louis — that it is “not too big, but not too small.” She says that there is always something new to do, but that it still has a laid back feeling.

Michiko (center) with friends on a trip to Portland, Oregon

Michiko (center) with friends on a trip to Portland, Oregon

 

She attributes the smooth transition from Japan to Webster Groves largely to the Webster community. She says that everyone has been so nice, kind, and willing to help. She also says that her fellow TAs have made transitioning easier; everyone is coming from different cultures and is eager to help and to learn about each other.

As a person who loves to volunteer and a total dog lover, Michiko is looking at shelters where she can help take care of the animals. In addition to dogs, Michiko also loves sea animals. She said that if she had to choose a superpower, she would love to be able to dive down as deep as whales can go so that she could observe the animals in their natural world.

Michiko (right) with fellow TA Camille at Niagara Falls

Michiko (right) with fellow TA Camille at Niagara Falls

Interview and article by Erin McNellis.

Athens Comes to Life for Short-Term Study Abroad Students

Instructor Kyle Lincoln (right) with two students in Athens for a short-term hybrid study abroad course this fall. Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

Instructor Kyle Lincoln (right) with two students in Athens for a short-term hybrid study abroad course this fall. Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

At a global university like Webster, it’s common to find our students studying in countries around the world each semester. Many spend a term or more at one of our international campuses; some, like our Global Master of Arts in International Relations students, spend their whole degree traveling from one country to the next. But for those students for whom a full term abroad isn’t feasible, our increasingly-popular short-term hybrid study abroad courses are often the perfect solution. These courses combine online coursework with a study abroad immersion experience of 1-2 weeks – perfect for students working full-time while in school, caring for a family, or seeking a study abroad experience on a budget.

“The demographics of higher education are changing, and this forces those of us who work in higher education to change the way that we think about international education,” said Hannah Verity, College of Arts & Sciences Director of Global Programs. “Traditional study abroad experiences do not fit for all students, particularly non-traditional students. The benefit of Webster’s distinctive short-term hybrid courses is that they allow students who may not be able to participate in a longer stay abroad a meaningful intercultural experience. A unique component of this innovative format is that the immersion piece is connected directly to the course curriculum, creating an intentional learning experience.”

“Both students and faculty are excited about these new offerings,” Verity said.

Photo credit

Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

That excitement has translated to growing numbers of students enrolling in short-term hybrid courses at Webster. According to Director of Study Abroad and International Projects Guillermo Rodriguez, enrollment in short-term hybrid courses has increased steadily over the past four years. In the 2010-11 academic year, 62 students traveled abroad short-term; in 2014-15, that number swelled to 135.

Kyle Lincoln, an instructor with the Department of International Languages and Cultures, sees hybrid courses as important primarily for the way in which they differ from traditional, semester-long study abroad programs: their “ability to expand students’ access to study abroad options and different cultures.”

“With full-time jobs and crushing tuition payments,” Lincoln said, “most Webster students find it difficult to study abroad for a full term. Hybrids allow the typical Webster student to see the world and experience different cultures in a way that gives them the greatest value for the week that they may be able to afford to take off.”

Lincoln led a short-term study abroad course this fall that took 9 students to Athens, Greece. Titled City Life: Ancient Athens, the course was listed as a keystone seminar, giving students required Global Citizenship Program (GCP) credits toward graduation. Online instruction during the course’s first few weeks focused on the ancient city’s culture during its “Golden Age” (around the 5th century BCE), examining Athenian art, politics, and religion “as lenses through which to interpret the larger culture imprint of Athens,” Lincoln said.

Photo credit Nisveta Fe

Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

Over fall break, that instruction came to life as students explored Athens for themselves.

“Talking about a temple or an oracle or a sea or an island is easy enough, but truly understanding those things requires an exposure to their physical vitality. The immersive component in Athens actualized and reified their experiences in a way that no descriptive essay or photo or map can or could ever do,” Lincoln said.

Lincoln recalls a moment while dining with students on a rooftop with a view of the Parthenon. A student looked out at the temple, lit up along the skyline, and said “I didn’t know a temple could look like that. It’s so… majestic. Is that why temples were so important? Did they make people feel this way back then?”

Though the student’s comments were “ironically rhetorical,” Lincoln says, they are still “proof positive that the trip could change worldviews.”

Junior Public Relations and Visual Culture double major Nisveta Fejzic, who studied in Athens with Lincoln, agrees. Actually visiting Athens, she said, “gave dynamics to a city I only dreamed about.”

Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

Photo credit Nisveta Fejzic.

“Athens drips with culture and history. It’s honestly a city one can only fully begin to appreciate after visiting it.”

Fejzic, who studied abroad with Webster in Spain, says she plans to head to Rome next semester. In the meantime, she heads into winter break with great memories from her time in Greece.

The College of Arts & Sciences is offering a variety of short-term hybrid study abroad courses in 2016, with options on three different continents. For information about the courses or to apply, visit the Study Abroad website.

Legal Studies Alumna Profiled by ABA for Graduate Success

Lynn

Lynn

Legal Studies alumna Melinda Lynn ’13 is featured in an American Bar Association compilation of success stories from graduates of ABA-approved paralegal programs. The stories, gathered by the ABA from graduates of ABA-approved paralegal programs around the country, mark the 40th anniversary of the organization’s Paralegal Program Approval Process.

Lynn’s profile chronicles her journey from a factory job to her current role as a litigation paralegal with Pitzer Snodgrass, PC. She recalls key moments in her professional career where she knew she was capable of more, like standing in front of a glue machine, watching the factory’s office workers walk by and thinking “They don’t know that I can do what they do.” A few years later, Lynn got her chance to prove it: a friend visited her in the hospital and shared with her an ad placed by a local lawyer seeking a secretary. On her way home from the hospital, Lynn stopped at the local public library, reviewed a book on resumes, used the library’s typewriter, and prepared her first resume. Melinda slid her resume under the office door of that lawyer, and two weeks later, she was a legal secretary.

Eventually, Lynn left the legal community to go into business with her husband as the office administrator of a manufacturers’ representative agency in the construction industry. When she decided to seek her bachelor of arts at the age of 53, her initial impulse was to pursue a business degree. But soon after transferring her community college credits to enroll at Webster, Lynn switched to the legal studies program.

Jefferson-Higgins

Robin Jefferson-Higgins, Chair and Associate Professor of Legal Studies, speaks highly of Melinda as a student, saying “there was no challenge from which Melinda backed down. She addressed every aspect of the legal studies program with attention, enthusiasm, and interest, with a natural intelligence.”

These qualities helped Lynn obtain a job in the legal field even before her Webster graduation. In April of 2013, Lynn interviewed for a job as an entry-level litigation paralegal. During the initial interview, the administrator told Melinda that she was not qualified for the entry-level position; in fact, she was more suited to work for the senior partner. Lynn was called back to interview with the senior partner, and he hired her on the spot.

When she graduated from Webster, Lynn wrote Jefferson-Higgins an email about her experience in the Legal Studies program, calling it “the challenge of [her] college experience” but critical to improving her skills in ways she uses on the job today:

“I stepped out of the entire ‘I hope I get a good grade’ [mindset] and stepped into ‘I hope I am explaining this well,’ realizing that it was time to get real, to write what is real,” Lynn wrote. “All I know is that using IRAC, as well as all that I learned in Ethics, Probate, Civil Litigation, Torts, Criminal Litigation, Real Estate Law, and Contract Law class, reinforced everything I was asked to perform as a paralegal. I came away from the legal studies program a better person, and a more appreciative person for what my instructors tried to convey.”

Lynn feels that her legal studies education — and all that led her to it — happened for a reason. But, she says, she knows that “we all walk a path that can only be followed if you take the step ahead of you. The question is whether you have the nerve to take that step.”

Webster University’s paralegal programs are a great next step for students like Lynn seeking an ABA-approved paralegal education at the undergraduate or graduate level. (In fact, Webster offers one of the country’s few ABA-approved graduate-level paralegal programs — a distinction that earned the Department of Legal Studies a nod from Paralegal Today in 2013.) This year, the program earned re-accreditation from the ABA for another eight years.

To learn more about the Department of Legal Studies, visit them online.

Some text adapted from Lynn’s ABA profile.

Global Spotlight: Sarimer Valedon

Luna at the Ayutthaya Ruins in Thailand.

Luna at the Ayutthaya Ruins in Thailand.

Each term, the College of Arts & Sciences highlights one of its Global MA students from the International Relations program.

Sarimer Valedon-Morciglio, who goes by Luna, is originally from Yauco, Puerto Rico. She obtained her BA in International Public Relations and a minor in Foreign Languages from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico where she helped raise funds for the Fukushima Earthquake. She lived in South Korea’s countryside for half a year as an English teacher to orphaned children. She has also worked with her city’s mayor, now Senator, and traveled with him as his assistant and translator. Some of her favorite hobbies include reading and writing. Several of her goals in life are to become a published author, an advocate for women’s rights, and a motivational speaker for children with disabilities such as herself. We caught up with Luna as she’s preparing for her next stop in her global travels.

What is your current city, and what’s your next stop?

I am currently in Bangkok, Thailand and my next stop will be Geneva, Switzerland (it’s going to be cold!!!!).

Why did you choose Webster’s Global MA program?

From the moment the Global MA program was introduced to me, I knew it was perfect for me. I liked the idea of being able to enhance my knowledge and get a degree while traveling constantly. International Relations in a classroom is alright, but in this program you are constantly engaged in another language, in another culture, with people completely different to you. I thought that the best way of studying IR was like this — in an international environment. You are learning inside and outside the classroom, and I am a firm believer that the best classroom is the world itself.

Meeting with refugee children in Thailand

Meeting with refugee children in Thailand

Describe a memorable cultural experience that you’ve had after a semester of the program.

I’ve had many experiences during this past semester, all which are memorable and important for me. If I had to pick one though, it would be visiting the refugee camp in Northern Thailand because it changed my perceptions of international relations and me as a human being. The time spent with the Karen (an ethnic group native to Burma) is irreplaceable. These were kind people that welcomed us with open arms — people who have nothing but gave us everything. There was no distinction of ethnicity and even though we couldn’t speak the same language there was a connection in each smile. We visited a couple of schools, colleges, and the hospital, and had the most meaningful conversation with a group stateless children. Life-changing.

What are some challenges that you have faced when trying to adapt to new cultures?

The biggest challenge is leaving the culture. I spend roughly two months in a country; I learn the streets and the traditions; I grasp a basic knowledge of their language, enough to get around; I fall in love with the people, and appreciate how their society works, the beauty of the city, and the intricacy of the culture. Then, when it almost feels like home, I have to leave. Goodbye is the hardest part, but mostly because I leave knowing that I will go to a new place and the cycle will begin anew. Nevertheless, no matter how difficult it is, the experience is worth it.

Academically speaking, what is the most enlightening part of the program?

Academically, I love the professors’ accessibility both inside and outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, they are knowledgeable and clear in their teaching methods. Outside, they have all been open for questions, emails, and one-on-one meetings. They provide academic advice and also take their time helping students with career decisions and questions. I believe the good relations between student and professors are partly promoted by the 8-10 student per class policy. It allows for a more personal approach and individual attention.

Luna at the Loi Krathong Festival in traditional Thai clothing

Luna at the Loi Krathong Festival in traditional Thai clothing

What are your plans for the future after you complete the GMAIR program?

I say I never “plan.” I make an outline to make space for the certain uncertainties of the future. By accepting that I am not in control, I see every situation as a new opportunity.

Within the outline I have made, I am thinking about applying for the Presidential Fellowship. I believe, if accepted, it would be a great new experience, very different from what I’ve done so far. Further in my career, I would like to work at the United Nations, as it’s been my goal for a while.

Also, I am working with my fellow Cohort 2 members to create an NGO for youth development. It is still on the outlining stages but, hopefully, the project sets sail and becomes a cornerstone to help people and an embodied reminder of our time and work together in the Cohort.

Any fun travel plans over winter break?

I am taking it slow during winter break. From August to December, I’ve been in the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, South Korea, and Thailand (not to mention those weekend getaways). I think it’s time to go back home, see the family for the holidays and relax on my Caribbean waters. But, hey, Puerto Rico is still fun to travel to! (Secretly, I just want to hide in the warm weather before going to Geneva.)

I would also like to mention one thing I didn’t evaluate when I entered the program but has now become essential: my friends. There are no words to describe how important they have been throughout this semester. We have had wonderful experiences, grown together, and, ultimately, become a family. We trust each other, we count on each other, and we argue with each other (which is followed by an apology and going back to normal). My experience in the program wouldn’t have been half of what it is today if it wasn’t for them. Thank you Cohort 2 (and Jocelyn) for being such wonderful people and making this year even more special. 

Luna (second from right) with her fellow GMAIR cohort members

Luna (second from right) with her fellow GMAIR cohort members

The Global MA program is accepting applications to join our 2016-17 cohorts. For more information, visit webster.edu/global, or contact Sarah Nandor at nandor@webster.edu.

Cultural Connections: Willkommen, Paul!

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Each month, Global Thinking features a “Cultural Connections” guest post written and curated by a member of the Department of International Languages and Cultures (ILC). This month’s post profiles Paul Hellriegel, one of the department’s new international teaching assistants.

IMG_6863

Paul on a trip to Philadelphia

Paul Hellriegel, from Leipzig, Germany, is very eager to be here teaching with us at Webster University. When he returns home, Paul hopes to finish his master’s degree within the year and to eventually become an English and sports teacher in Germany. He looks forward to telling his future students about the world, but to do that he wanted to gain more experiences from around the world. Having spent his junior year of high school in California, he learned that the world had so much to offer and that people with different backgrounds than his own can have very different views on things. Coming back to the United States to teach was the logical next step for him in his search for knowledge and understanding.

Paul said that he has been playing European football for more than 20 years and that he wanted to share his passion for it and other sports with teenagers. To be a high school teacher in Germany, you have to have a second subject to teach. For a while, Paul was stuck between English and politics, but the year he spent in California was what made his decision for him.

Paul (left) with his roommates

Paul (left) with his roommates

Paul is very thankful for the Webster community, who has helped to make the transition from Germany to St. Louis a smooth one. There are many things that he misses from home, but that his time here has been good. He said that the biggest surprise for him was the people. Everyone has cared very much and has helped to make his life much easier than it would have been without them. He said that both the university and his students have been a big help, but more than anything, he says that getting to know and traveling with the other TA’s has been the best part of life at Webster. While they might not be able to replace the ocean or European bread, his fellow TA’s have made life in St. Louis much better.

This semester, Paul is teaching one intermediate German course, and three German workshop courses. He was surprised by the amount of diversity that St. Louis has to offer, and is excited about what he can learn from it. He is grateful for everything that has already happened, and is looking forward to everything that will come.

Paul and some of his Webster students and a local guest musician, Ian Fisher

Paul and some of his Webster students and a local guest musician, Ian Fisher (center)

Research Across Disciplines Expands for Second Conference

Students, professors, and conference attendees discuss a research project with a student at RAD in April, 2015.

Research Across Disciplines returns to Webster University December 11-12, and this time around, the student research conference will be bigger and better than ever. In April, RAD showcased research performed by undergraduate students across the region in a variety of academic fields within arts and sciences; for its second incarnation this winter, RAD has expanded to include work by undergraduate and graduate students representing academic and creative disciplines Webster-wide, from anthropology to administration to audio production.

Students will present their work through posters, oral and creative presentations, and roundtable discussions over two days on the Webster Groves campus, gaining valuable experience as emerging contributors to their field.

MacCartney

MacCartney

Dr. Danielle MacCartney, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Programs, says RAD’s evolution “reflects Webster’s expanding commitment to supporting independent and student-faculty collaborative scholarship opportunities across all of higher education,” — opportunities which serve students well both in school and beyond.

“Studies show real value for students in performing research, whether independently or in collaboration with a faculty member,” MacCartney says. “The research process connects them with mentors in their field, helps them develop skills in creative problem-solving, and gives them hands-on experience tackling the kinds of complex problems they’ll encounter later as working professionals in the global marketplace.”

“Webster is full of bright, inquisitive students doing excellent work in a variety of fields,” she adds. “The College is excited to help showcase that by growing our annual research conference.”

The community is welcome to attend the conference December 11-12, 2015 at the Webster Groves campus, and students are encouraged to submit their work. The online submission period ends November 1, 2015. Students only need to submit an abstract and answer a few questions about their research to apply, and they can indicate for which presentation formats they would like their research to be considered.

For more information about the event, visit webster.edu/RAD.

Webster Nursing Program Well-Represented at March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards

From left: Marti Steed, Director of Clinical Education, Nurse Anesthesia; Mary Ann Drake, Professor, Nursing; Susan Heady, Professor, Nursing; Jenny Broeder, Interim Co-Dean of College of Arts & Sciences Division of Professional Programs, Chair and Professor of Nursing

From left: Marti Steed, Director of Clinical Education, Nurse Anesthesia; Mary Ann Drake, Professor, Nursing; Susan Heady, Professor, Nursing; Jenny Broeder, Interim Co-Dean of College of Arts & Sciences Division of Professional Programs, Chair and Professor of Nursing

Faculty members from the Departments of Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia attended the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter’s Nurse of the Year gala on October 10 in support of six Webster faculty, students, and alumna nominated for this year’s Nurse of the Year Awards. March of Dimes bestows these awards to “honor nurses who exemplify an extraordinary level of patient care, compassion and customer service,” and the annual gala provides an opportunity for the nursing community to celebrate the critical work those nurses — and others — do every day.

The Nurse of the Year Award finalists with Webster connections are:

Lori Winkler, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital; current Webster student – Case Management, Public/Occupational Health category finalist

Jenny Broeder, Webster University; Interim Co-Dean of College of Arts & Sciences Division of Professional Programs, Chair and Professor of nursing – Education category finalist

Carlita Vasser, At Home Care St. Louis; Webster alumna – Hospice, Home Health, Palliative Care, Long Term Acute Care category finalist

Julie Binder, Mercy Hospital – St. Louis; Webster alumna – Infection Control & Quality/Risk Management category finalist

Robyn Weilbacher, Mercy Hospital – St. Louis; Webster alumna – Nursing Administration category finalist

Barbara Sicking, Mercy Hospital – St. Louis; Webster alumna – Pediatrics category winner

Special congratulations to Barbara Sicking, who won the 2015 Nurse of the Year Award in the Pediatrics category. Sicking graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Webster in 2009.

Broeder

Broeder

“We are proud that Webster’s nursing faculty, students, and alumni have been so well-represented among those honored with the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards for the past few years,” said Jenny Broeder, Interim Co-Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Division of Professional Programs, Chair and Professor of Nursing, and a finalist for the Nurse of the Year Award in Education.

“It’s wonderful to see our nurses recognized for making a positive impact on the health of the community, and we’re grateful to March of Dimes for the visibility that the Nurse of the Year awards provide for the critical work all nurses do on a daily basis.”

Reunion in Havana: Webster’s Big Love to Take Part in International Theatre Festival

A scene from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts' Big Love, directed by Jef Awada

A scene from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts production of Big Love, directed by Jef Awada

Students from Webster’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts will reunite with the University’s 2015 Global Leaders in Residence Flora Lauten and Raquel Carrio in Havana, Cuba when their production of Big Love travels to the Havana Theatre Festival on October 19.

The annual festival brings together professional theatre companies from around the world for nine days of performances, panels, and workshops. This year, a show by Lauten and Carrio’s theatre company Teatro Buendia kicks off the festival. Webster’s Big Love will run for three performances.

Those making the trip to Cuba includes two faculty members, three student crew members, and 15 student actors – three of whom have graduated from Webster since the show’s first run. The group will spend a week in Havana, arriving in time to navigate some of the trickier aspects of mounting a production overseas – including gathering the set and prop pieces which can’t be shipped to Cuba – before taking the stage at Teatro Las Carolinas in Old Havana. Big Love will run alongside shows mounted by professional theatre companies from Russia, Spain, Brazil, and elsewhere around the globe.

“This is a chance for our students to intersect with fellow artists from around the world, to show their wonderful work to an international audience, and to experience what it is like to make theatre under much less comfortable conditions than we are used to in the US,” says Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and director of Big Love Jef Awada.

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