WWU a Step Closer to Offering Doctorate for Educators

A focus team from William Woods University’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is recommending approval of William Woods University’s first doctorate degree, the doctorate in educational leadership.


“This speaks about the long-standing quality of our academic programs, particularly the graduate programs for educators,” Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, said. “In fact, we serve the largest population of graduate students earning principal and superintendent certification in Missouri, and our graduates hold more than 500 school administrative positions within our state.”


The HLC focus team visited campus Nov. 1 to review the university’s proposal and visit key personnel working with the doctoral program. The focus team visited with faculty, staff, board members, community members and current students.


“The recommendation will be presented to the commission for final authorization in the spring of 2011,” Barnett said. 


William Woods University has been offering master’s degree programs since 1993 and added an educational specialist program in 2003. The university began providing its first courses leading to a doctoral degree in August, 2010.


The courses are for educators wishing to pursue a doctorate (Ed. D.) in educational leadership, and are part of the final approval process for a doctoral degree program at William Woods. 


Initial cohorts were established in Columbia and Blue Springs, and other locations throughout the state are being considered for future cohorts. Candidates must possess an educational specialist degree from an accredited institution and two years of experience as a practicing educator before applying for the program.


One of the educators currently taking doctoral courses in Columbia is Mark Penny, Moberly Public School District superintendent.


“WWU’s Graduate and Professional Studies program has been the perfect fit for me. The flexible schedule has afforded me the opportunities to advance my career and enhance my professional experience,” Penny said.


He added, “Having completed my M.Ed. and Ed.S. at William Woods, it was only natural for me to earn my education doctorate degree from WWU.  I am truly excited and honored to be a part of this new WWU program.” 


WWU’s proposal is to establish a cohort doctoral degree program designed for educational leaders in public, private and higher education. Eighteen credit hours of coursework and six credit hours of dissertation will be required for those already possessing an Ed.S. 


For more information, go to www.williamwoods.edu/adult/edd.asp or contact Dr. Doug Ebersold, dean of education, at doug.ebersold@williamwoods.edu or 573-592-4339.