Education Degree Programs to be Offered in Ellington

William Woods University is offering Ellington area residents the opportunity to pursue a master of education (M.Ed.) or a specialist of education in school administration (Ed.S.) degree without quitting work. The programs will begin with an orientation at 5:30 p.m. March 8 at a location to be announced.

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

The 36-credit-hour M.Ed. program has two tracks— students can choose to study administration or curriculum and instruction. The administration track is intended to provide the student with the fundamental skills necessary for effective school administration at the elementary, and/or secondary level(s). The curriculum and instruction track is for teachers who wish to enhance their classroom skills.

William Woods University’s program helped Anita Gilliland “develop professionally and academically, while at the same time allowing me to have a life outside of graduate school.” Gilliland, who completed her master of education degree in Jefferson City, said, “William Woods puts a friendly face on graduate school.”

North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission granted approval last year for William Woods to offer the Specialist of Education in School Administration program. This degree will prepare educational administrators to be certified for the superintendent’s certification.

The degree is a level higher than the master’s degree and it prepares recipients to pursue the doctorate degree. It is being initiated to meet the demand for principals and superintendents as many who now hold the positions near retirement age.

The reasons behind implementing this new program are fairly simple.

“In Missouri, we have a shortage of people certified to be superintendents, and a lot of superintendents are close to the retirement age,” explained Deedee Schlichting, director of graduate education programs. “There are no young leaders in the field to replace those leaving.”

In the beginning, the Graduate and Adult Studies programs were located only in mid-Missouri. Now, thanks to the growing demand, William Woods has expanded the programs to locations across the state for the convenience of interested students.

These programs make it possible for people with full-time jobs to complete a graduate degree while remaining employed. Employing a model of accelerated learning developed especially for the convenience of the working adult, these educational programs are structured so that a degree can be completed in as few as 22 months.

To guarantee the graduation of many well-rounded professionals, William Woods offers degree programs that utilize a cohort model, emphasizing learning through student-directed study groups of three to five students.

Gilliland has high praise for the cohort program. “The William Woods cohort program allowed me to continue teaching full-time while attending classes one night a week. Because we were part of a cohort, we were able to develop friendships and close working relationships with classmates and professors,” she said.

The word “cohort” describes a group of people who collaborate to reach a common goal. WWU’s program utilizes the diversity of the individual members to broaden the learning experience of the class as a whole as they work together. The school recognizes that learning can and does take place outside of the classroom and that theoretical knowledge is only useful if applied to real-life on-the-job situations.

To better fit the schedules of the ever-busy students, classes meet once a week in the evening for four hours. Study groups meet outside of class to prepare projects and assignments before the upcoming week.

“With the teamwork approach of using study groups and projects within the
cohort model, students can draw on a greater pool of ideas, and they have the opportunity
to learn quickly that the effectiveness of one person can be greatly enhanced by utilizing the other members of the group,” said Betty R. Tutt, vice president and academic dean at WWU.

Because of the nature of programming—focusing effort on one course at a time—75 to 90 percent of all students finish their program successfully. Each course in the M.Ed. program normally runs six weeks in length.

“William Woods University is a leader when it comes to designing quality programs for nontraditional adult students. Everything we do here at WWU in our Graduate and Adult Studies program is specifically designed to help adults succeed in reaching their goals as efficiently as possible,” said Tutt.

In addition to the M.Ed. and Ed.S., William Woods offers several other Graduate and Adult Studies programs, including an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, the ACCESS program of general education, a bachelor of science in computer and information management, a bachelor of science in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis, a bachelor of science in marketing, a bachelor of science in paralegal studies, a master of business administration (MBA), an MBA with accounting emphasis, an MBA with health management emphasis and an MBA with human resources emphasis.

William Woods can tailor any of its programs for a particular business or community. More information is available on the William Woods website at