Welcome to the Office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs is dedicated to serving students, faculty and staff throughout Webster University’s global network in advancing our mission to ensure high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.  The centers, offices and divisions of Academic Affairs provide leadership to services for faculty and students that foster academic success and support for initiatives and programs to continuously improve our programs.  

In collaboration with the President, we set and implement strategic priorities to further excellence in teaching and learning and in research and creative endeavors.  In partnership with the Office of Student Affairs, we focus on providing students with success plans – and a dedicated team to support those plans. 

The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for accreditation, assessment, academic policy, the academic catalogs, faculty development and opportunities, institutional research and data for academic decision-making, global program development and delivery, academic resources and planning, and management of academic offerings and state licensure at our extended locations. 

Academic Affairs Senior Staff

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Nancy Hellerud leads the Office of Academic Affairs and the units that support the academic success of faculty and students across the five schools and colleges and across Webster’s domestic and international locations.  She manages Webster’s institutional accreditation, serving as Accreditation Liaison Officer to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and oversees the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.  Nancy also oversees the Office of Student Affairs.  With Vice President John Pyle, she has responsibility for academic and administrative operations at Webster’s international locations.  She works closely with the President in advancing strategic academic initiatives, and services on the President’s Council and the Chancellor’s Cabinet.  Nancy holds a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, an MA in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, and a BA in English and German, also from Hamline.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs 

Thao Dang-Williams is the associate vice president for Academic Affairs.  She has over 25 years of experience in higher education administration as both faculty and administrator.  Thao’s areas of interest include faculty support, student success, academic planning and global education.  Thao works closely with colleagues throughout Webster’s global network to ensure alignment with university policies and procedures in addition to working on initiatives to support student success at both graduate and undergraduate levels.  Thao has served the university in her previous roles as Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Interim Associate VP of Online Education, and Dean of Extended Education, St. Louis Metropolitan Region.  Thao has a BA in Government and Communication from Monmouth College, an MA in Communication from Saint Louis University and an EdD in Higher Education Administration, also from Saint Louis University.  

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

John Buck provides leadership for all functional areas of student affairs, works closely with campus student leaders, develops student life policies and procedures, and consults with colleagues throughout Webster’s worldwide network on student life issues.  John has served on a variety of committees, including the Behavioral Intervention Team, University COVID-19 Task Force, the Undergraduate Enrollment and Retention Working Group, and the Tuition Adjustment Committee.  John holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in management and leadership, and a doctorate in management (D.Mgt.), both from Webster. He is also a 2014 graduate Webster University’s Global Leadership Academy.

Director, Academic Resource Center

In her role as Director of the Academic Resource Center (ARC), Erica works with a team of professional and peer educators to provide academic supports and resources, including tutoring and writing, academic counseling, and disability accommodations and assistive technology, for the worldwide Webster University community. She is involved with many University initiatives and committees to support student success and is a project co-lead for the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish. In addition, she is a Webster alumna twice over, having received both her bachelor’s degree (journalism with a minor in sociology) and her master’s degree at Webster University. 

Director, Study Abroad

Kelly Heath is the Director of Study Abroad in the Office of Study Abroad at Webster. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the Office of Study Abroad and oversees study abroad programs and services for the university. She is involved in various university committees, including the Division of Global Education Advisory Committee, the International Studies Committee and the Accessibility Committee, as well as initiatives that help provide more equity and access to education abroad for Webster students. Kelly completed her B.A. in Spanish at Bates College, with a study abroad experience in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Salamanca, Spain, and received a M.Ed. in Higher Education with a focus in Student Affairs Administration from Loyola University Chicago, with a study abroad experience in Rome, Italy. Kelly also received a CELTA certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language in Sevilla, Spain, and taught English there for two years. 

Director, Undergraduate Academic Advising

Kim Kleinman is a long-time academic advisor, serving as Director for Undergraduate Advising since 2014.  He has helped organize the Summer Advising Team since 2003 and has been an ex officio member of the Global Citizenship Program Committee since its inception.  His Ph.D. in the history of science from the Union Institute has informed his multidisciplinary teaching in the Global Citizenship Program (GCP).

Director, Webster University Confucius Institute

In her role as the director of the Confucius Institute, Patty is responsible for providing leadership and management of the Institute, to strengthen the support of the Chinese language education at Webster University and partner schools, foster and expand collaborations with partner university in China, and develop opportunities for the St. Louis community to engage with Chinese culture.  Patty comes to Webster with more than 10 years of nonprofit experience. Patty has a BA. and MA. in English Language and Literature from Lanzhou University in China and an MS in Accountancy from George Washington University. 

Senior Director, Academic Advising

Kyle McCool provides leadership to the Academic Advising Center which includes both undergraduate and graduate advising. In addition, the advising team provides training and resources to faculty advisors and other student service professionals across the global network. She is also a co-lead for the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, a retention and case management tool used across the University.   She is a member of the Global Advising Council and serves on Curriculum Committee, Graduate Council, Global Citizenship Committee, Graduate Tuition Refund Appeal Committee, and the Academic Progress Committee.  She is also involved in NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising. She earned her Master’s of Science in Education, Higher Education & Student Affairs from Indiana University, her Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Tulsa, and is a graduate of the 2017 Webster University Global Leadership Academy. 

Director, WINS (Webster International Network of Schools) 

Kim McGrath is Director of the Webster International Network of Schools (WINS) program.  In this role she works to build partnerships between Webster University and U.S. universities to provide study abroad access to Webster's international campuses. She has developed programs at Webster, regularly presents on topics of international education and women’s leadership, and was a Global Leadership Academy fellow in 2013-2014. As part of the Division of Global Education (DGE), Kim serves on the DGE Advisory Board and as co-chair of the Student Mobility and Faculty Mobility subcommittees.  Kim holds degrees in Communications and International Relations from Truman State and Webster University, where she is enrolled in the Education Doctorate program in Transformative Education.

Director, Faculty Development Center

Erik is the director of the Faculty Development Center (FDC) which provides professional development and support for the teaching efforts of Webster faculty worldwide.  Erik leads Webster’s learning analytics efforts, developing tools and methods to identify opportunities to positively impact student success, with particular emphasis on supporting leaders throughout the University with insights that impact academic planning, retention, and graduation.  Erik received his MA in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University, and his BA in English and Film from Webster University.

Director, Academic Resources and Planning

As Director, Academic Resources and Planning, Rita works closely with academic leadership worldwide and student affairs to develop annual budgets and manage academic resources, to develop business analytics to support data-driven decisions, and to continuously improve academic operations.  Her office maintains all faculty data for tenure track and adjunct faculty members; issues U.S. adjunct letters of appointment; supports standing and ad hoc committees; publishes academic catalogs; manages several graduate student processes; and works closely with faculty and students awarded internal research funds.  Rita serves on the University Budget Steering Committee and the University Planning Committee.  Rita earned an MBA from Webster University and a BA in Economics from Westminster College.

Director, Global Program Development

Hannah provides strategic leadership and direction for the development and launch of global academic programs, including study abroad programs, faculty mobility opportunities and international partnership development, working collaboratively with academic units, Webster’s international campuses and external partners. She brings over 10 years of experience in education abroad, international program design and development, and partnership building to her work at Webster.  Hannah serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis and is currently the Compensation Chair for the Webster Staff Alliance.   In 2008 she completed her BA in American Studies and immediately went abroad to earn her Global MA in International Relations (2009) while studying in London, Geneva, Vienna and Leiden through Webster University’s international campuses. 

Senior Analyst, Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Justin Bitner is a Senior Analyst in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. He has been with Webster since 2011, and most recently supports Academic Program Review, institutional accreditation, student retention, federal and state reporting, and decision support for Webster’s leadership. Justin holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wittenberg University, and a Master’s of Education in Higher Education Administration from Loyola University - Chicago. 

Data Analyst, Office of Institutional Effectiveness

As Data Analyst in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Lauren manages the processing and publishing of census data, as well as fulfilling ad hoc reporting needs from across the University and completing external data reporting and surveys. She has recently been named as a staff support for the Academic Program Review Committee. Lauren earned her MBA (2012) and graduate certificate in Business Analytics (2017) from Webster University, and her Certificate in Data Analysis from UMSL (2020).

Assistant Director, Faculty Development Center

In her role with the FDC, Liza focuses on teaching and learning issues related to student engagement and motivation, and she runs faculty learning communities and programming for teaching technology, engaged learning, and inclusive teaching. She also coordinates program assessment activities with support for planning, data collection, and implementation, and through the Faculty Success and Training Team, she collaborates with academic support units (OLC, ARC, Library) to provide professional development for faculty across the Webster network. Liza’s background is in cultural history, and she received her B.A. in Music from Hollins University and her Ph.D. in Musicology from Washington University in St. Louis.

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