Project Management: Notes from the Faculty

On August 4, 2015, in Faculty Insights, by Walker News

By Jim Meadows, Online Faculty Coordinator for the Walker School of Business  & Technology, Adjunct Faculty Member & Instructor for BUSN 5100 Introduction to Project Management.

Project Management, once thought of as a requirement only for engineers and information technology, has grown into a greater means by which we recognize that projects have a home in all areas of our lives. Whether it be with the family, at work, at church, and/or at play, we all use project management tools to make personal and professional decisions every day. Chances are you have witnessed or worked on a project at some point in your life. You may have even had the chance to lead a project. Because of that experience, you’ve probably learned that most projects, especially very large ones, do not end successfully.

Webster University has introduced a new certificate in project management that is available online and at St. Louis area campuses. The 4 courses required for the certificate range from the introduction of practical project management tools addressing project constraints with organizing, planning, scheduling, and controlling projects through specific software; to a more advanced project management course that helps students understand the procurement process of projects and manage contracts effectively so that the project can be completed successfully.

One of the new courses, BUSN 5100 Introduction to Project Management, provides students with an opportunity to understand skills and techniques based on Project Management Institute “best practices”. This methodology can help ensure that YOUR projects achieve success. In Introduction to Project Management, students learn that the constraints of project management (time, cost, and performance) are found in all projects and must be used when addressing the decisions made for each projects success. This is why I have a Priority Matrix (PM) for senior stakeholders (boss, spouse, minister, etc…). prioritytableThe matrix doesn’t allow, or provide excuses for failure; it only allows a senior stakeholder to understand the implications of his/her decision. When quality (PERFORMANCE) is your priority, it doesn’t mean you can be late (TIME), or spend all the money you want (COST), it means the stakeholder must understand that if the project team needs one of these constraints to slip (for the success of the others), the PM has a priority to assist in the decision making process.

For those with project management in their blood, Webster University also provides an advanced project management online course that studies the advanced theory and tools for implementing projects in organizations and will provide a comprehensive overview of the skills needed and challenges to be faced in managing them.

With Webster University’s new Certificate in Project Management, proven organizational skills are now at your fingertips and will open a whole new professional world to you. These courses will teach you how to improve project performance, increase quality, and maximize success.

To learn more about Webster University’s Certificate in Project Management and other professional certificates available, visit Fall 1 classes begin soon!

James MeadowsJim Meadows brings more than 20 years of project management experience to the classroom. He has served as a practioner faculty member in the Walker School of Business for more than 15 years. Prior to his current position as Online Faculty Coordinator Jim worked as director of military outreach for the Webster Office of Military Affairs and director of the Fort Leavenworth location. He has served as an assistant professor at U.S. Army Command and general Staff College in Fort Leavenworth; director of Human Resources for Leavenworth County and deputy chief information officer for Fort Leavenworth.

George Herbert Walker III

George Herbert Walker III

In an interview with former U.S. Ambassador George Herbert Walker III, he discusses his affiliation with Webster University and the importance of an international presence in the business community. A St. Louis native and a long-time supporter of Webster University, Ambassador Walker’s contributions resulted in the naming of the School of Business & Technology to the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology. Watch this interview for insights from Ambassador Walker.


Back (L-R): Janka Ribando, International Admissions Coordinator; Rebecca Spear, Director WSBT Corporate Partnership Engagement & Internships; Ragan Dueker, Webster alum 2012; Trezette Dixon, Assistant Director, Employer Relations
Front (L-R): Khanh Vu, Webster alum 2015; Suhani Fernando, Webster alum 2015; Khanh Bui, Webster alum 2015; Ngoc Troung, Webster alum 2015

Students and staff from Webster University attended St. Louis Mosaic Project’s Partners for Prosperity event on June 15. The event celebrated individuals and corporations who are helping transform St. Louis into the fastest growing major metropolitan area for immigration.

Given Webster University’s global footprint, the institution is proud to partner with St. Louis Mosaic on international-focused initiatives. Such initiatives include helping international students, university international student offices, university career services offices, and hiring organizations attract and retain more of the 9,000 international students who are studying in our region’s universities.

About St. Louis Mosaic
The St. Louis Mosaic Project was launched in 2012 in response to an economic impact report, outlining St. Louis to be lagging in immigrant growth as well as highlighting the economic benefits of increasing its foreign-born population. The Mosaic Project is a regional initiative that is professionally managed by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, World Trade Center St. Louis and a 22-member committee. Its goal is to transform St. Louis into the fastest growing major metropolitan area for immigration by 2020 and to promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.  Learn more at



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When We Leave What We Love

On June 18, 2015, in Announcements, by Walker News

Owner, PhotographerComments from Benjamin Ola. Akande, PhD at Webster University’s Farewell Reception
June 17, 2015

I want to thank you for this warm and heartfelt reception. Webster University has been a real love affair for me and my family. When we came here from West Texas in the summer of 2000, we came to a new and different place, an exciting environment that was somewhat ahead of the place we came from. We found an institution that was tucked away in the suburbs called Webster Groves, yet it had vibrancy; it was diverse; it was enlightened; it embraced people from different places far and wide, and it embraced us. Anjola, now 20, was a little child, and Reni was still hanging out with God, waiting to be introduced to the world – our world.

Here I was, a Nigerian with an accent, who had lived most of my life in Texas and Oklahoma, now in a place and working at an institution that embodied so much of who I am. It was so easy to fall in love.

Chancellor Neil George, vice president of academic affairs at the time, was the person who recruited me to Webster. He was compellingly convincing and offered me the ultimate opportunity to take Webster’s business school to its rightful place among respectable business schools worldwide. You see, Neil’s charge to me was clear as daylight: although we were already a large business school with a huge enrollment (9,000+), his aspiration was that we would validate ourselves through a high quality curriculum, a higher profile and results that were evident in our students’ ability to be productive and meaningful participants in their chosen field.

At Webster, I found a community of faculty and staff who took ownership of their institution. I discovered a place full of possibilities, an academy that was not content with its success but truly hungry to do more. The Webster community was extraordinarily sophisticated with a presence in small places like Lawton, Oklahoma, and large places like Vienna and Shanghai. As I traveled throughout the world of Webster, what I found were people with similar characteristics, a profound love to develop others, a commitment to excellence and a passion for their job and for Webster.

It’s been 15 years of wonderfulness, and our collective success was enabled by you who led from where you are. We all knew what our role was and understood that the very existence of our Webster was dependent on our ability to build a vibrant community of students because they are our endowment. It was a singular purpose that did not have to be vocalized, we did not have to be reminded.

So why am I leaving the place I love so much? Well, it is a demonstration of my confidence that we have folks who will carry the torch. They will adjust; reinvent; and challenge the status quo. They will seek to make this institution even better. They say that if you really love something, then set it free and watch it stretch its wings and do great things.

There have been two W’s in my professional life, Wayland Baptist University and Webster University, and now I go to the third W – Westminster College. From Wayland to Webster and then to Westminster, I will take with me that sense of purpose and constructive impatience – part of my heart remains at Wayland and a part is here at Webster. And I am hopeful that the future will bring the same kind of love and affinity for my new home at Westminster.

So let it be said that I will always love Webster and cherish all the memories and the people who enabled these past 15 years to be some of the best times of my life. I heard a comment a few days ago that resonated with me: “Home is the place where we remember our past and those who made our life such a joy.” Webster will always be home to me.

Dr. Stroble, faculty and staff, there are many ways to say goodbye, but tonight I elect not to use any of them. I will simply say thank you on behalf of Bola, Moyo, Anjola and Reni. I appreciate you so much and God bless you.


Watch the video

On June 9, faculty, staff, family and friends came together to celebrate Dean Benjamin Ola. Akande and wish him well as he transitions to his new role as President of Westminster College. During the farewell reception, guests congratulated Akande and shared some of their favorite memories of him.  Watch the video and view photos from the event.

Following the video and formal comments, Dean Akande thanked guests for their support and took the opportunity to reflect on his time at Webster University.  Read his speech below.

“What We Did Together”
Comments from Benjamin Ola. Akande


Dean Benjamin Akande with his wife, Bola, and daughter, Anjola

Shortly after I began my tenure as Dean of the Walker School 15 years ago, one of my mentors suggested I take time out of my very busy first few days and write my resignation letter.

He advised me to make it short and meaningful. He suggested that I speak briefly of our accomplishments, thank folks far and wide and update it from time to time and then tuck it away until I needed it some day in the distant future. He said the letter would help me accomplish two objectives: one, it would offer an opportunity to establish my goals and priorities; and two, it would keep me focused on what I intended to accomplish as dean.

A few weeks ago I went looking for the letter in our basement. If you would be so kind to indulge me, I’d like to share it with you now:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I always had a feeling that this day would come. And when this day finally came, my hope is that it would be a bittersweet experience. It will be a day to highlight our successes to review the challenges we overcame and even chat about those challenges that stumped us.

I am proud of the fact that together we transformed Webster University into a globally competitive, student-centered institution. And, yes, Webster is a better place and this is in large part because together we stayed focused on the reason for our existence – our students. My friends, I leave you knowing that Webster University is in good hands, and our reputation is strong.



A few weeks ago at a reception in Leiden, the Netherlands, I ran into Beer Brinker, a Webster alumnus and emerging entrepreneur in the bakery business in Europe and Asia. Incidentally, Beer’s great-great grandfather invented margarine. Just before leaving the reception, Beer said to me: “Dean Akande, even though your time at Webster has ended, your work here at Webster is not over. Think of folks like me you have taught and maintained relationships with since 2005.” Beer’s statement, the smiles on the faces of attending students, faculty, staff, alumni and all those who have achieved their goals here at Webster is a measurement of our collective success.

As I depart Webster, I ask that you join me in continuing to carry the Webster banner with pride and nurturing and treasuring the transformative relationships we have made with our peers and colleagues. On behalf of my family, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and support you have shown us over the years. You were our first family in St. Louis, and while we are moving away from this incredible place to begin the next chapter of our life’s journey in Fulton, we will never forget our colleagues at Webster and the fine people of St. Louis. I’d like to ask one favor of all of you: that you remember my favorite African proverb that if you want to go fast, you will have to go alone; but if you want to go far, then we must go together.

I believe that Webster’s best days are ahead, and I know each one of you will play a vital role in taking this university to even greater heights. You will continue to change lives, just like you have changed mine. And for that, I will forever be grateful. And for my friends from St. Louis and around the nation who have honored us with your presence tonight, thank you for embracing my family and treating us like we went to high school here. We are grateful to you for making the last 15 years the most wonderful, exhilarating experience of our lives.

God bless you all.

Thank you.


tom-johnsonThomas Johnson, associate vice president and chief of strategic initiatives at Webster University, has been named interim dean of Webster’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology.

Since arriving at Webster University in 2012, Johnson has spearheaded several strategic initiatives, including identifying and executing market- and student-responsive opportunities such as the creation of the University’s cybersecurity program.

“Dr. Johnson is a natural fit to lead the Walker School during this leadership transition,” said Julian Schuster, Webster’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer.

“His work with academic programs and faculty at Webster, as well as his extensive previous experience in higher education, in the governmental sector and in science and technology will serve Webster’s largest school well.”

Johnson previously served as dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven for 13 years, during which time he worked with faculty to develop new programs in the areas of national security, digital forensics and advanced investigation. In the governmental sector, he has developed programs in criminal justice, national security, emergency management, occupational safety and health, and fire science. He has also trained law enforcement agents and prosecutors from more than 30 countries in areas such as computer crime and advanced investigations.

After serving as dean at the University of New Haven, Johnson co-founded the California Sciences Institute, delivering PhD research programs in national security and digital computer forensics. He earned a bachelor of science degree with honors and a master of science degree from the School of Public Administration and Public Safety at Michigan State University and a doctoral degree from the School of Criminology at the University of California – Berkeley.

Johnson has published seven books, 13 referred articles; holds copyright on four software programs and his chapter on “Infrastructure Warriors: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” was published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. In addition to lecturing at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, he has also lectured at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and numerous universities.

Johnson will begin transitioning to his new role immediately and will fully assume interim dean duties on July 1. Current dean Benjamin Akande has been named the president of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, effective July 1.

Centennial Logo4_single_Kathy copy copyThe Walker School is seeking applicants to serve as a graduate assistant for the Office of the Dean at Webster University’s home campus in St. Louis, Mo.  The position is for the 2015-16 academic year.

The individual selected for this position must be accepted into a graduate program at Webster University, must enroll in 9 credit hours per semester and must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.  The Graduate Assistant will receive $12,000 and the equivalent of 50 percent of graduate tuition at Webster’s on-ground rate.  See below for additional information and details regarding how to apply.

2015-16 Graduate Assistant, Walker School

Position Description
• Provide executive level administrative & receptionist support for the Office of the Dean.
• Provide exceptional customer service for internal and external constituents.
• Conduct short and long-term industry research and data collection projects.
• Create reports and surveys and manage/update file databases to include research projects.
• Support and coordinate special projects and event planning.
• Create & proofread daily reports and PowerPoint presentations.
• Run errands on campus to various administrative and academic departments.
• Receive and distribute mail and complete mass mailing projects.

• Current Graduate student at Webster University
• Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Ability to multi-task and work in a high pressure environment
• Ability to adapt to new technologies and social media
• Business, Marketing or Communications background a plus

Term of appointment:  One (1) academic year
August 15 – May 15 appointment

Course Work:  Must be accepted to a graduate program at Webster University
Must enroll in 9 credit hours of graduate courses per semester
Must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA

Hours of Work: Not to exceed 20 hours per week

Payment:  $12,000 payable in equal installments on a bi-weekly basis*

Scholarship:  Equivalent to 50% of graduate tuition at on-ground rate*

To apply:  Please submit resume and one page cover letter to Caprice Moore at

Position open until filled.

Webster University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action educator and employer. We are committed to maintaining a culturally and academically diverse staff of the highest caliber. We strongly encourage applications from those who identify as diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and/or veteran status.

* Pro-rated based on start date


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11218966_871224142927196_1816167247014369194_nAmid a centennial year of celebrating changing lives and building strong communities during its first 100 years, on May 23 Webster University reached a milestone signaling the impact to come for the next 100: The first Webster University commencement ceremony in Africa.

Six degree candidates for the Class of 2015 either completed their studies or celebrated their completion at the Webster campus in Accra, Ghana, which opened in 2013 and began offering classes in 2014. The campus will begin accepting study abroad students for the first time in 2015-16.

11110520_871224059593871_8859800791310633012_nBenjamin Ola. Akande, dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, congratulated the graduates and helped confer their degrees.  During his commencement remarks, he encouraged students to be key participants in life, to affect change not only in their communities but also around the world and to make a difference.   View images from the ceremony in this album on Facebook.

Webster University’s commencement ceremony in Ghana was featured in various media outlets, including:

In addition, Dean Akande appeared on the breakfast show for CiTi 97.3 FM where he spoke about Webster University and its mission to deliver high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.  Listen to the interview.

This year, Webster University’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology will induct 220 students into its Lambda Kappa chapter of Delta Mu Delta. Induction into Delta Mu is one of the highest levels of recognition a business student can earn.

On May 7, the Walker School honored 73 students from the St. Louis region, which includes Webster University’s main campus in St. Louis, Missouri as well as its campuses at Scott Air Force Base, Old Post Office Downtown, Westport, Winghaven and those who are pursuing their degrees online, at its induction ceremony.

During the ceremony, Walker School Dean Benjamin Ola Akande encouraged the inductees to lead from where they are and to become key participants in the game of life. “Consider making things happen,” he said. “The only monument to your life is the difference you make while you are alive, the evidence you leave behind.” Read Akande’s full remarks.

In addition to honoring students, Maxine Clark was inducted into the Walker School’s Lambda Kappa chapter of Delta Mu Delta. A true innovator in the retail industry, Clark founded Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997 after a successful career with Payless Shoe Source and The May Company. Today, there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Mexico and the Middle East.

Membership in Delta Mu Delta is limited to students at colleges and universities with business programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Since the Walker School’s inaugural induction in 2009, 2,425 students have been inducted into the Lambda Kappa Chapter of Delta Mu Delta. Learn more about Delta Mu Delta.


HolmesEach year, the Walker School recognizes a member of our alumni family who has distinguished him or herself through professional achievement or civic commitment.  This year is no different.

Michael Holmes, our 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, is an individual who understands the importance of giving back and considers service to others a priority.  As president of Rx Outreach, Holmes plays a critical role in helping people get the medications they need at an affordable price. Since 2010, this nonprofit charitable organization has saved patients more than $275 million on their prescription medications.  By serving others, treating one another with respect, showing care and being a good steward, Holmes is improving access to prescription medications for low-income, uninsured Americans and working families around the country.  Read the remarks Holmes prepared for the Class of 2015.

Commencement Remarks from Michael Holmes, Rx Outreach president and the Walker School’s 2015 Alumnus of the Year

As I am in the last stage of my formal career, I look back and reflect. I remember many things, one of which is that I never liked long commencement speeches.  So I will keep my remarks brief. But I want to pass on a few thoughts from what I’ve learned over the past 35 years as a way of helping you as you begin your journey.

Your being here indicates that you are either beginning your career or looking to accelerate it. Congratulations on your accomplishments thus far.

I have five points that I’d like you to ponder:

1. Success is not a cookie cutter process. Yes there are patterns, but everyone’s journey will vary. Everyone is different and has unique abilities and traits. Don’t try to copy someone else. Build upon the talents that you’ve been blessed with. An original version of you is better than any copy of someone else.

2. Follow your heart. Typically, you’re good at what you like to do, and life’s too short to be spent being unhappy in your career. It’s easier to build upon your strengths if you enjoy putting them to use. Become the best at what you enjoy.

3. It’s ok to be ambitious; but don’t be in such a rush that you miss the joy of the journey. Each job and each year will teach you something different. If you only focus on what’s next, when you finally get to the top, you’ll feel empty and regret not having enjoyed the journey.

4. People count. Every one is important. If you don’t understand that, I feel sorry for you and you’ll have to learn it the hard way. Some of the people that many would deem to be the least important have made the biggest contributions to my success. Take time to not only appreciate others, but to help them. The rewards you receive will be of even greater value than those you reap from helping yourself.

5. Not everyone is cut out for the top job. Some of you who think you want it, may be miserable if you get it. Make sure you want it for the right reasons and that you’re willing to pay the price of having it.  For some, it’s pure joy, but for others it’s a heavy burden.

Take the time to look deep inside and find out who you are and what you really want, then pursue that with all you have. If you do, you’ll find the courage to take the risks and the faith to keep going despite what anyone may say, then you will never regret the journey you’re on.

More importantly, at the end you’ll look back and you will be satisfied.

Thank you.  May God bless you. And once again, congratulations!