As William Woods University begins its fall semester Monday (Aug. 23), Jahnae H. Barnett begins her 32nd year at the institution and 15th year as president.
She has guided it from a four-year all-women’s college to a coeducational university, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines in both campus and outreach settings.
Her efforts have paid off as enrollment now is more than four times what it was in 1990.
On Monday, 311 new students are expected to start classes, along with 501 returning students. With the addition of Graduate and Adult Studies students who take WWU classes at other locations throughout the state, the current university enrollment exceeds 3,000 and is expected to surpass 4,000 by the end of the academic year as new outreach cohorts begin.
During the 2003-04 academic year, the university held four commencement ceremonies, graduating a total of 1,110 students.
The new class includes students from 35 states, as well as the countries of Australia, Canada, England, Spain, Scotland and Taiwan. Overall, 22 countries are represented in the WWU student population.
Top intended majors are business administration, art and the internationally recognized programs in equestrian science, equine administration, and American Sign Language. The interpreting ASL program is one of only 25 in the U.S. and Canada.
With the start of the new semester, the school’s innovative LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing) program begins its fifth year. The program provides awards ($5,000 to residential students and $2,500 to commuters) to any incoming student who agrees to make a commitment to campus and community involvement.
LEAD is intended to encourage and reward the type of activities that make for a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background. It also has the effect of lowering the university’s $14,300 tuition to $9,300, which is considered a bargain for private universities.
The impact of the successful LEAD program, coupled with the popularity of the Graduate and Adult Studies program, has resulted in steady growth for William Woods University. In 1990, before WWU added its G&AS programs, 713 students attended William Woods. Enrollment has quadrupled in those 14 years ago.
William Woods offers Graduate and Adult Studies programs in approximately 100 locations throughout Missouri. Programs include an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, the ACCESS program of general education, a bachelor of science in computer and information management, a B.S. in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis, a B.S. in marketing and a B.S. in paralegal studies.
Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA), MBAs with accounting, health management or human resources emphasis, a master of education (M.Ed.) in administration, curriculum/instruction or athletics/activities administration and a specialist of education in school administration or instructional leadership.