William Woods to Graduate First Group of Educational Specialists

William Woods University will award diplomas to its first group of educators to complete the Specialist of Education in School Administration program Friday, Dec. 10. A level higher than the master’s degree, it prepares recipients to be certified for the superintendent’s certification and to pursue the doctorate degree.

Among the 37 recipients of the Ed.S. degree are Suzanne Hull, assistant superintendent of Fulton Public Schools; Connie Epperson, principal of Bartley Elementary School in Fulton, and David W. Jones, assistant principal of Fulton High School.

Also, two administrators from Columbia’s Fairview Elementary School—James Tilley, principal, and Diana DeMoss, assistant principal, will be receiving Ed.S. degrees. DeMoss was especially dedicated to her studies. She gave birth to Harper Starr DeMoss Sept. 22, but never missed an educational specialist class.

With the commencement on Dec. 10, WWU’s graduation numbers for 2004 will total 1,114. Of the 364 students who will graduate, 277 will receive master’s degrees, either in business or in education.

The commencement ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. in Cutlip Auditorium of the McNutt Campus Center. In addition to the 37 specialist in education degrees, the university will grant eight associate of art, one associate of applied science, one bachelor of art, 40 bachelor of science, 66 master of business administration and 211 master of education degrees.

Students from G&AS cohorts in Canton, Cape Girardeau, Carl Junction, Carthage, Chaffee, Chillicothe, Columbia, East Prairie, Fredericktown, Fulton, Hannibal, Jackson, Joplin, Kirksville, Marshfield, Poplar Bluff, Sedalia, St. Joseph, Warrensburg and West Plains will receive their diplomas.

In addition, 25 students from the Southeast Asian island of Taiwan will graduate. William Woods has had a program of educating students from Taiwan since 1992. The university partners with an organization that specializes in overseas studies to bring Taiwanese students to Fulton for a year of concentrated studies, culminating in either bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Robert B. Stein, associate commissioner for academic affairs and planning with the Missouri Department of Higher Education, will address the December graduates. He works closely with leaders of Missouri’s postsecondary institutions in planning and in matters related to the development and implementation of public policy initiatives.

As the chief academic officer for the state, Stein has oversight responsibility for the review and implementation of several board policies including program review, credit transfer/general education, and dual credit.

He works to promote collaboration among both the state’s public and independent colleges and universities in designing initiatives that support the board’s goals for enhanced preparation of high school graduates, improved successful participation of college students, and performance excellence of institutions.

His tenure with the MDHE began in 1987, with his service as a research associate; in 1989, he was appointed senior associate. He was named assistant commissioner in 1996, a position he held until being named associate commissioner, his current position, in 2000.

Stein received his B.A. in sociology and philosophy from Beloit College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University.