Global Leadership Academy Opens June 2015 Session with Webster Vienna Tour, Symposium, Student Panel

| June 8, 2015
Global Leadership Academy in Vienna 2015

Webster Vienna director Arthur Hirsh welcomes the 2015 GLA cohort to the Palais Wenkheim

Webster Vienna classroom

GLA fellows toured the new Webster Vienna campus and became familiar with its student services.

The Global Leadership Academy’s 2015 cohort began their June session in Vienna on a Sunday afternoon with a tour of the new Webster Vienna campus at Palais Wenkheim, followed by a symposium and student panel on Monday.

Arthur Hirsh, campus director, led the fellows through the beautiful facility ending in the atrium where they were greeted by members of the University board of trustees, administration and staff from the Vienna campus. The welcome reception was highlighted by remarks from the president and provost and the singing of the new alma mater.

Global Leadership Symposium on Technology & Learning

GLA Tech Symposium

Technology today: Microsoft Austria CTO Harald Leitenmueller speaks on a panel with Webster leaders in Vienna, while Webster CIO Ken Freeman joins live from St. Louis via videoconference.

Monday kicked off with a Symposium on Technology & Learning, featuring a panel of Webster leaders as well as a technology chief from Microsoft. The panelists:

  • Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, president of Webster University
  • Julian Schuster, Webster University provost, senior vice president and chief
    operating officer
  • Ken Freeman, Webster University chief information officer (attending via videoconference)
  • Harald Leitenmueller, chief technology officer, Microsoft Austria
  • Arthur Hirsch, director, Webster University-Vienna (panel moderator)

Noting the symposium’s theme, President Stroble observed that, “we have only just begun to understand the transformative use of technology.” She spoke about the importance of global diversity for effective leadership and the diversity of the current GLA cohort and the growing group of GLA alumni. A lifelong love of communication has allowed her to embrace advances in communication technology and see the ways it can help forge connections among diverse groups.

The GLA experience, in fact, begins with online communication through Webster’s online classroom as fellows get to know one another before meeting in person as a group for the spring session.

Schuster spoke of how at its root, technology is about conquering space and limiting the impact of time.  He said the biggest benefit of technology is to “allow a freer more democratic way to access information and to access knowledge.”

At the piano

City of Music: Simone Cummings keeps the other fellows on key.

Porting in via videoconference over Webster’s Global WAN, Freeman emphasized the importance of technology in a global university to create community among faculty and staff at campuses around the world and to create a more personalized educational experience for our students. “Technology should have a purpose related to the vision of the institution deploying it,” he said. To be an exceptional university, it is critical to have high-quality content delivered by high-quality faculty on a high-quality platform.

Leitenmueller, who leads technology for Microsoft Austria, brought the perspective of a global corporation that operates in 190 countries. He observed the need for digital competence of teachers to improve the digital competences of students and right now there is a large divide between these two.

He pointed out that digital competence goes beyond surfing the Internet. “In school, I learned formulas,” he said. “Today you need to learn algorithms and leverage the power of algorithms.”

GLA 2015 student panel in Vienna

GLA fellows heard from a panel of Webster Vienna students.

The panelists also discussed the risks of technology: security threats, sociocultural consequences of a “digital divide,” as well reputation and behavioral risks on an individual level. But all emphasized the benefits of technology in higher education make it critical that it is approached strategically.

Student Panel, Group Projects on ‘Serving Students’ Theme

After the symposium, a group of Webster students from the Vienna campus joined the fellows for lunch. In the afternoon, Ryan Crawford, professor and interim head of the Writing Center at Webster Vienna, led a panel discussion with the students covering why the students chose Webster, their perceptions of the Vienna campus and the broader university, and the education they are receiving.

The fellows spent the last few months developing workshops on research they have done related to the GLA theme “serving students.” They devoted the rest of the afternoon and their dinner time to putting the final touches on those workshops, which will be offered later in the week.

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Category: Employee News, Faculty, International & U.S. Campuses

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