William Woods University this year welcomed 335 new students—another record incoming class—bringing the university’s total enrollment to nearly 3,800. Classes began Monday (Aug. 24).
“Another year of increased enrollment speaks to the value of a William Woods University education,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, who is beginning her 20th year as president.
The overall enrollment has more than quintupled in the past 19 years. In 1990, before WWU added undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults, 713 students attended William Woods.
“Each year we see an increase in not only the quantity, but the quality, of students we enroll,” Barnett added. “The continued health of the university—from both a financial and an enrollment perspective—is a strong indicator that William Woods is leading the way in higher education.”
Dr. Barnett pointed out that, due to increasing enrollment, WWU has built three new residence halls in the past few years and has plans for continued expansion.
WWU’s enrollment includes approximately 900 on-campus students, plus more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students who take their classes in locations throughout Missouri and at sites in Arkansas.
Applications and acceptances for the traditional on-campus programs were up 27 percent, and deposited and registered students up 16 percent over last year.
“This is particularly impressive, considering the current state of the economy and the financial aid challenges students throughout the United States are experiencing,” Dr. Barnett said. “William Woods University remains an affordable educational option, with traditional undergraduate tuition increases below 4 percent for 13 consecutive years.”
The new class is a diverse one. Forty-four states and eight countries (Australia, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom) are represented in the student body in Fulton.
Students continue to pursue a professions-oriented curriculum. Top intended majors (in alphabetical order) are American Sign Language interpreting, biology, business administration, communications, elementary education, equine administration/equestrian science, graphic design, physical education and sports management.
One of the new students is Jacob Harrison, a graduate of Fulton High School who intends to major in athletic training.
“I chose William Woods because it was a very good school that had a lot to offer me,” Harrison said. “It is a great place, where I will be able to grow in knowledge as a student and be a contributor on the baseball team. I’m looking forward to my time as a college student-athlete here at the Woods, and I hope to gain the skills necessary to have a promising career in whatever path I choose.”
Harrison and the other new students participated in community service projects Thursday as part of orientation. His group designed t-shirts for a cystic fibrosis fund raiser.
“Participating in community service is worthwhile because you help the community out, you gain leadership experience and you learn to work as a team,” Harrison said.
With the start of the new semester, the school’s innovative LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing) program begins its 10th 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 types of activities that make for a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background. The impact of the successful LEAD program, coupled with the popularity of the Graduate & Adult Studies program, has contributed to steady growth for William Woods University.
William Woods offers Graduate & Adult Studies programs in more than 125 locations throughout Missouri and in Arkansas. Programs include an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, the ACCESS program of general education, a bachelor of science degree in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis, a B.S. in elementary education, and a B.S. in paralegal studies.
Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA), MBAs with accounting, agribusiness, 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.