'A growing, youthful part of the world': Webster University president reflects on time in Ghana
1978 marked a defining moment for Webster University – it founded its first international campus in Geneva, Switzerland. While the soul of Webster resides in the small town of Webster Groves, Missouri, its reach extends overseas: with campuses in Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, China, the Netherlands, Greece – and now Ghana.
On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Elizabeth Stroble, president of Webster University, joined host Don Marsh to talk about her first trip to the university’s newest campus, located in the heart of Accra, Ghana. The five-year-old campus is currently the only U.S. college campus in Ghana.
"Africa is an important part of the world: a growing, youthful part of the world that faces enormous challenge, but also has tremendous opportunity."
Marsh asked Stroble why the university chose its newest location.
“Africa is an important part of the world: a growing, youthful part of the world that faces enormous challenge, but also has tremendous opportunity,” Stroble said. She added that Webster prides itself on creating “global citizens” and that the Africa campus continues its commitment to widening travel options for its students.
But the Accra campus is also filling in a gap needed in the country: more access to universities.
“Ghana has upped their investment [in secondary education] and really turned funds that they may have [once] used for higher education to the secondary level,” Stroble explained.
“It’s a strategic investment on their part,” she said “But what it means is that then they have built a tremendous appetite for higher education and a need for it, and the public universities are simply at capacity.”
She added that more institutions in a country can alleviate “brain drain,” when people leave their home countries to get an education elsewhere due to the lack of opportunities. The curriculum at the Ghana campus is the same as Webster’s home campus.
“We’re accredited in Ghana by the Higher Learning Commission, it’s American accredited, but it’s also approved and accredited by the Ghanaian government. So people who graduate from Webster Ghana are going to be well recognized with a Ghanaian credential, as well as a U.S. [credential],” Stroble said.
The campus currently hosts students from nine different countries, in addition to others who have chosen to study abroad there. Some students attending the Ghana campus full time also study abroad in the various Webster campuses.
“There is nothing more informative about understanding yourself than immersing yourself among people, geography, climate, politics that aren’t your own,” Stroble said. “You just learn so much about your own values and principles and biases and shortcomings – and it opens up your curiosity about the world, and it helps you make a difference in making the world a better place.”
Listen to the full conversaition:
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.