Students Conclude Global Leadership Summit with Six Student Initiatives to Enhance Strategic Plan

| March 16, 2015
Twenty-nine student leaders from throughout the worldwide network of Webster University campuses gathered in St. Louis March 10-13 to discuss leadership and advocacy for the Global Student Leadership Summit.

The 29 student leaders gained a better understanding of the impact student involvement has on students and Webster University worldwide during the Global Student Leadership Summit March 10-13.

As a signature event of Webster University’s Centennial Celebration, 29 student leaders throughout Webster’s worldwide campus network gathered on the home campus in St. Louis, March 10-13, to discuss leadership and advocacy and assist the University in achieving the new strategic plan.

During their short but action-packed time together, the student leaders experienced and accomplished a great deal, immersing themselves in case studies, exercises, projects and activities designed to strengthen their leadership skills, heighten cultural awareness and sharpen teamwork and communications skills.

The student leaders, both undergraduate and undergraduates, represented 20 nationalities and Webster campuses in Webster Groves, Geneva, Leiden, London, Shanghai, Vienna, Ghana and Thailand.

  • Geneva: Rafaela Cardona Rivera, Joy Corthesy, Maria Karla Suarez Aguilera, Jessica Wright
  • Ghana: Diana Appiok
  • Leiden: Romee Kruyt, Mohammad Qasim Nabi, Marjorie Peters, Megan van Vegten
  • London: Rabab Fatima
  • Shanghai: Zheng Yinju
  • Thailand: Lobsang Dundup Sherpa Subirana, Mai Phung Ton, Orwanya Vichailak
  • Vienna: Dennis Heumann, Balint Molnar, Tobias Salfellner, Alexis Wing
  • Webster Groves: Anna Cruzen, Gabi Deimeke, Katja Ehrenmuller, Olivia Heibeck, Samantha LaBat, Syreel Mishra, Sophie Ozier, Debhuti Roy, Ethan Stohs, Ngoc Truong, Caroline Wiley
Student Presentations

The culminating activity was the Friday showcase of their efforts, in which six groups of students presented their proposals for student-centered initiatives to help achieve the new Webster University strategic plan in the Community Music School.

Camaraderie was palpable in the Community School auditorium, as Summit student peers in the audience greeted each presenting team like rock stars.

The bonding and camaraderie from the week during the concluding presentations in the Community Music School, where student peers in the audience greeted each presenting team like rock stars.

Six distinct, thoughtful and thoroughly presented initiatives were introduced to an audience of University faculty, staff and administrators, including President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, Provost Julian Schuster, Global Leadership Academy fellows, the Strategic Planning Committee and the Centennial Planning Committee.

The student leaders’ proposals focused on the following topics:

  1. To extend the scope of internationalization at Webster University by enabling short-term stays of selected staff from student affairs to share knowledge, expertise, and experiences and to foster collaboration across campuses
  2. Leadership Literacy: Expand WebsterLEADS to all global campuses, develop a leadership studies minor, create a global student leader position for each campus and award them a scholarship
  3. Create a community blog by students for students with global content.
  4. Add a GCP course to be taken while studying abroad, and develop a Global Hangout space for those taking online courses
  5. Increase academic consistency across the global network
  6. Create the Webster Prestige Internship Program through partnerships with businesses and professional organizations

Following the presentations, President Stroble and Provost Schuster congratulated the students on their outstanding work and thanked the Webster staff and administration members had a role in putting the program together.

“Our advantage is you have used the Strategic Plan, as this worldwide community has developed it, to say, ‘How can we actually achieve everything that this plan is about?'” Stroble said. “You captured exactly the concepts that are important to grasp from that plan.”

“This has brought the world to Webster St. Louis,” Schuster said. “But equally as important as your physical presence is the ideas and creativity you brought here. We are here only to be a catalyst for your great ideas. In today’s world, we all learn from each other. Our ability to adapt, to be flexible, to learn from each other, is our ticket to continued success.”

Stroble forecasted thoughtful responses to these proposals tied to the strategic plan and Schuster called Webster “an incubator” that helps creates more “common wisdom in the world.”

The students then engaged in a final reflection activity, where they shared their feelings about the impact of the week and the strong connections they had forged with one another.

The students, mentors and Summit steering committee members engaged in a final reflection activity, sharing their feelings about the impact of the week and the strong connections forged with one another.

Summit Conclusion: Reflections

The Summit concluded with a lunch and graduation ceremony, where the participants received their certificates, Centennial coin, and a commemorative GSLS engraved pen. The students then engaged in a final reflection activity, where they shared their feelings about the impact of the week and the strong connections they had forged with one another.

Prior to departing for their home campuses on Saturday, the students from the international campuses spent Friday afternoon and evening with their fellow participants from the home campus at their favorite St. Louis area attractions and restaurants.

View more photos of the Summit closing at the University’s Facebook page.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks go out to all of the planning committee members, especially Katie Knetzer for her great work coordinating the many logistical details, plus the steering committee, the mentors, the Centennial Planning Committee, Michael Grosch (former SGA president who wrote the proposal for the Summit), Global Marketing and Communications, Campus Dining Services, Media and Academic Technology Services, Facilities, and everyone who helped make this a very special week for these 29 student leaders.

Planning Committee

  • Ted Hoef, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students
  • Jennifer Stewart, director of the office of student engagement
  • Sarah Tetley, director of the first-year experience program
  • John Buck, associate dean and director of housing and residential life
  • Lindsey LaFore, Sustainability coordinator
  • Gaby Deimeke, undergraduate student
  • Devin Seltz, WebsterLEADS
  • Justin Barton, First-Year Experience Program
  • Katie Knetzer, University Center director
  • Bethany Keller, Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs (mcisa)
  • Suhani Fernando, student
  • Michael Grosch, student
  • Holly Hubenschmidt, Library department head
  • Sara Sabaa, local alumna
  • Diane Arnzen, local alumna
  • Don Conway-Long, faculty
  • Thao Dang-Williams, dean of Extended Education
  • Christine Benninger, Student Life (Leiden)
  • Phil Gwaltney, Student Life (Thailand)
  • Jutta Pedigo, Student Life (Vienna)
  • Jesse Alexander, Student Life (Vienna)
  • Kerry Grummert, Student Life (Geneva)

Small Group Mentors

  • Colette Cummings, associate dean and director of the Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs
  • Terri Reilly, adjunct instructor in Communications and Journalism
  • Phil Storm, community director for Maria Hall and Webster Village Apartments
  • Anna Dickherber, community director for East and West Halls
  • Billy Ratz, development officer
  • Jesse Alexander, student community director at the Vienna campus
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