Hello! I’m Erica Ellard. I am the director of the Academic Resource Center and the co-project lead for the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish. What’s all this mean? Well, it means I’m really busy working to help you and all of Webster’s students succeed! The Academic Resource Center provides testing, tutoring, and writing services; academic counseling; disability accommodations and support; assistive technology; and general assistance to all students within the global Webster system! The Student Success Portal also supports students throughout the global system and gives students further access to support and resources, additional methods of communication, etc. Check it out at success.webster.edu!
Before joining Webster in 2015, I worked at other higher education institutions in a variety of capacities (just as I do at Webster). I have taught full-time and part-time (communications, education, English, literature, sociology, and psychology courses), worked in administration (department chairperson, associate dean, dean, director of student success, etc.), and provided academic student support. As one of my greatest pleasures is helping people and another is learning and trying new things, higher education is a good fit for me! I really enjoy helping students succeed and achieve their dreams!
In my free time, I spend a lot of time with my family (my husband, Tony, and our two children, Ryli and Wyatt). We also spend a lot of time with our extended family and our close friends. We like to be outside and active (or, maybe that’s just the kids and me!), and we love animals! We do a lot in support of the St. Louis Zoo and visit all of the other wonderful St. Louis and St. Louis-area attractions (not just animal-related, either). We also spend a lot of our time at World Martial Arts Academy (taekwondo). Tony, Ryli, and I are actually on the leadership team, so we have a lot of commitments there, but it’s fun and great exercise. I also volunteer heavily at the kids’ elementary school and help friends, family, and neighbors whenever possible.
I think of everyone at Webster University as my friends and neighbors, too, and work hard to help you all. Specifically, the Academic Resource Center supports Webster University’s Online students in most of the same ways we support our on-ground students (in Webster Groves and around the world!). We have an Online Writing Center, online tutoring options, phone and virtual academic counseling appointments, distance options for setting up disability accommodations and support as well as assistive technology, etc. We’re here to help and to answer your questions!
Many of the questions that we get relate directly to how to access our services and resources. Common academic counseling questions include topics related to time management, how to maintain a higher GPA, how to communicate with faculty members and to navigate concerns and issues, how to improve study skills, and more. If you have a question, we’ve probably heard it before! And, if we can’t help directly, we can generally connect you to the appropriate person or office! Just call or email! We love to help!
When I’m able to actively help others, I am most satisfied with my job. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing students make progress and succeed! I enjoy making a difference for individuals, the larger student (and employee) body, and Webster University. I really love when I can tell we’re making progress at Webster, and since I started working at Webster in November 2015, I’ve seen a lot of progress!
My advice to you is that you get out of your education what you put into it. The more you engage in your studies and Webster University, the more you’ll learn and grow. Get involved, ask questions, use the resources available to you, and pursue internships and experiential learning opportunities. Online students can access and experience these things just like any other student—don’t forget study abroad, too! Above all, never hesitate to ask for help when you want or need it—even if you’re just trying to ensure a strong A!
I, too, attended Webster University as a student, and I most valued being able to get involved, make a difference, make positive changes at Webster, and get a quality education that led me to a wonderful career and expanded my thinking! I value these same things as an employee and find that the people (students and employees) make Webster so wonderful.