Athletics/Activities Administration Program Offered in Paragould

William Woods University offers Paragould area residents the opportunity to pursue a master of education degree in athletics/activities administration while working full time.

An orientation will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 10 at Paragould Community Center, Room C, 3404 Linwood Dr., Paragould, Arkansas.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the university’s Graduate and Professional Studies program prior to then, but walk-ins will be accepted. Call 1-800-995-3199 or contact WWU by e-mail at

When William Woods University introduced its new master of education in athletics/activities administration degree in 2004, university officials boasted that it was one of the select schools nationwide offering the program.


Now, they have more to brag about. The program has become one of the few to be recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association as meeting the educational requirements toward becoming a Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA) or a Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA).


 “We are extremely proud of this achievement because we have heard that only one other university has earned this distinction,” WWU President Jahnae H. Barnett said. “This recognition increases the value of the degree for our students and will save them time and money in working toward certification.”


The master of education in athletics/activities administration degree enables athletic workers to improve their skills in their field and prepares them to take administrative roles in the area of athletics.


“This program is unique in that it will provide emphasis in middle school, secondary and intercollegiate athletics,” Dr. Michael Westerfield, vice president of Graduate and Professional Studies, said. 


Jim Gagen, who chairs the program’s advisory committee and is a former president of the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), explained, “Most programs in sports management are primarily for university, professional and recreational programs.  The William Woods program is one of the few that is geared for the secondary school athletic/activity administrator, as well.”


The former activities director of Marquette High School in Chesterfield, until he retired in 2002, added, “The program is designed to provide program graduates with the knowledge and the skills required for the modern athletic/activity administrator.  The program was developed and designed by a committee of athletic administrators with years of experience at all levels of athletic/activity administration.  It is taught by administrators with a wealth of experience in the field.”  


 “The M.Ed. in athletics/activities administration has proven to be a popular option, as we continue to expand our offerings in the master of education area,” Barnett said. “It was the brainchild of our athletic director, Larry York, and he is to be credited with this success.”


The degree is a practical course of education for anyone who works with or has experience in athletics or school activities. Officials, athletic trainers, summer and town league coaches and administrators, directors of YMCAs or Boys and Girls Clubs and even former collegiate athletes are just some of the potential participants in this program.


“Although it sounds as if this program is designed mostly for coaches, it is in reality designed for anyone who needs more knowledge in developing and administering activities in any school or community setting,” Westerfield said. 


“We encourage band directors, cheerleading coaches, academic team coaches all to participate in this training.”


The program follows the same structure as other WWU graduate programs for working adults. Designed to be completed in fewer than two years, the 36-hour program involves a cohort group of students moving through together, attending each course one night a week for six weeks.


“William Woods is a leader in innovative graduate education programs in Missouri,” Westerfield said. “This is another example of WWU taking the lead in serving Missouri students.”


William Woods offers several Graduate and Professional Studies programs, including the ACCESS program of general education, an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, a bachelor of science in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis and a B.S. in paralegal studies.


Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA) and MBAs with accounting, agribusiness, health management or human resources emphasis, as well as a master of education (M.Ed.) in administration and in curriculum/instruction and a specialist of education (EDS) in school administration and in curriculum leadership.


More information on the university’s Graduate and Professional Studies program is available at