William Woods University, which has been offering degree programs for working adults in the Branson area since 2002, is setting up shop in the entertainment capital of Missouri.
On March 29, the university will open a site in the Grand Vista Center, 3027 W. 76 Country Blvd. The suite contains classrooms, conference areas and offices. Degree programs to be offered include the bachelor of science in management (BSM), master of business administration (MBA), master of education (M.Ed.) and educational specialist (Ed.S.).
“William Woods University is pleased to open a site at Branson,” Dr. Michael W. Westerfield, vice president and dean of graduate and adult studies at WWU, said.
“I personally view this as a significant event in our continued efforts to provide quality, programs throughout the state of Missouri and northern Arkansas. Our hope is that William Woods University can become a valued member of the Branson community.”
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting for the new site at 1 p.m. March 29, during which Dr. Keith Alkire, dean of business for WWU’s graduate and adult studies program, will speak.
That evening, orientations will be held for degree programs being offered at the site. The Ed.S. orientation will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by the BSM at 6, the M.Ed. at 6:30 and the MBA at 7.
Prospective students are encouraged to contact the university’s Graduate & Adult Studies program prior to then, but walk-ins will be welcomed. Call 1-800-995-3199 or contact WWU by e-mail at AdultEd@WilliamWoods.edu.
The Grand Vista Center property is owned by Christina and Dimitri Tsahiridis, whose daughter, Elizabeth Farris, is a graduate of William Woods and a member of its board of trustees.
“It has always been a dream to have this wonderful university in our beautiful town,” Farris said. “Because of the education that William Woods provided for me I was able to then go on to teach and get a master’s degree in educational administration.”
She said her WWU education gave her the confidence to open her businesses, CastleRock Enterprises, LLC and the French Hen Café & Coffeehouse, LLC, and helped her as the chief operating officer of Farris Law Group, LLC.
“I began lobbying five years ago, planting a seed to get WWU to Branson,” Farris said. “After many meetings we are blessed to finally have them here in Branson. William Woods University will bring a lot to our surrounding area including additional employment opportunities in the Tri-Lakes area and will compliment other local colleges with a variety of different programs.”
She added, “They are more than willing to work with our local high schools to bring programs to our students and with local colleges to expand whatever classes they might not have. My future dream is that William Woods University brings a doctoral program to Branson. This is something I will continue to work very hard to bring home.”
Established in 1870, William Woods University added evening adult programs in 1992, with approximately 70 students. Despite the proximity to the main campus in Fulton, sites established in Jefferson City and Columbia thrived.
Because of the success in mid-Missouri, the program was expanded to include locations across the state in subsequent years. In the past 18 years, nearly 12,800 students have participated in WWU’s Graduate & Adult Studies programs statewide.
While career advancement now demands constant learning, many professionals find that traditional classroom education is a poor fit for their unpredictable schedules that can already include long hours, work-related travel and personal responsibilities. William Woods University designed its programs to help adult learners overcome these challenges.
Today WWU serves approximately 3,800 students in a variety of degree programs at convenient locations in more than 125 Missouri communities and in Arkansas. In addition to the main campus in Fulton, William Woods has permanent facilities in Columbia and Jefferson City and in Blue Springs. The Branson site represents the fourth satellite/outreach site.
G&AS programs are offered in the evening, making it possible to pursue a degree while remaining employed full time.
Utilizing a model of accelerated learning, programs are structured so that a degree can be completed in 18-22 months. A signature characteristic of the WWU experience is the interactive learning process of the study group through which students share their varied experiences.
Because of the nature of programming—focusing effort on one course at a time—90 percent of all students finish their program successfully. Each course normally runs six weeks.
The master of business administration program is designed to provide the proper blend of theory and practice to further prepare the working professional for a career in management. MBA concentrations are offered in accounting, agribusiness, health m