In the News: Stroble op-ed in Business Journal on looking beyond college lists

| April 20, 2015
Webster University President


The media and industry obsession with lists can mislead parents and prospective students to think only the most selective or list-making universities provide a high-quality education that ensures future success.

That’s the topic of Webster University President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble‘s column on the op-ed page of the April 17-23 St. Louis Business Journal.

“As the cost of a four-year, post-secondary education has increased, and with it the demands for and value given to STEMM-based curricula, it’s time for us to broaden our frame of reference. We must think beyond these ‘lists’ and explore the nuanced and specialized offerings of universities and colleges who are not necessarily on the tips of our tongues.”

Stroble referenced the recent book by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania,” which questions the way elites make admissions decisions, the assumptions underlying college rankings, and the kinds of institutions that have prepared individuals of exemplary accomplishments.

Bruni’s book references universities with such specialized offerings, noting that Webster University “emphasizes internationalism and has so many residential campuses in so many different communities, including Thailand and Ghana, that a student could study in a different place with a different language and culture almost every semester. It also had the top-ranked collegiate chess team in the United States in 2013 and 2014.”

*Note: After Bruni’s publication, Webster’s chess team also won the 2015 national championship.

In her column, Stroble continued:

“I am heartened when Webster University is recognized in this, our centennial year, for elements that make us distinctive — our global impact and the worlds we open to an economically and ethnically diverse population.

“In the end, what are the lists that matter? The lists that matter are those we make for ourselves, the ones that help us accomplish our dreams and aspirations. They establish the criteria we value for our own success. When it comes to selecting and attending college, these lists are the lists that truly create opportunity.”

Read the full column at the St. Louis Business Journal site or on page 43 of the April 17-23 issue.

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Category: Presidential Messages, Webster in the News

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