Faculty Member Named Distinguished Professor

Linda McClaren, associate professor of equestrian science at William Woods University, was honored at the university’s academic convocation April 20.
She received the Louis D. Beaumont Dad’s Association Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award carries an honorarium and is given annually to a faculty member who has displayed dedication to teaching. McClaren, a Fulton resident, has taught at the university since 1996, and is the hunter/jumper program director. Her other areas of expertise include equine behavior and equine management.

McClaren is currently pursuing her doctorate in instructional design for online learning from the School of Education at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn. She received her two earlier degrees from William Woods, a bachelor of science degree in 1977 and a master of education degree in 1997.

During the 20 years she spent out of school between earning the first two degrees, she taught riding, trained and showed horses at the “A” level from Pre Green Hunters through Grand Prix. She has shown horses and coached riders to both national and world championships.

As a trainer, McClaren earned the Iowa Nebraska Hunter Jumper Association Trainer of the Year award in 1992, and the Missouri Horse Shows Association Trainer of the Year award in 1999 and 2001. She currently is serving her second term on the board of directors for the Missouri Horse Shows Association.

Although sorry to leave her “dream career” of being a professional rider and trainer, McClaren has enjoyed being back at WWU.

“I really like being around the young people and it is fun to have the time and resources available to always continue to learn something new,” she said.

McClaren is the founder and program director for C.I.R.C.L.E.S. (Community Inner Reach: Children Learning Equestrian Skills), a William Woods program that aims to teach youngsters responsibility through the care and riding of horses.

Since its beginning in 2000, the program has enrolled more than 100 at-risk children (primarily fifth graders) from the Fulton community. In January, C.I.R.C.L.E.S. won the 2005 Martin Luther King Commission Award as an organization emulating the ideals and values of the late Civil Rights leader.