When William Woods University introduced its new master of education in athletics/activities administration degree in 2004, university officials boasted that it was one of the select schools nationwide offering the program.
Now, following Friday night’s commencement of its first graduates, they have more to brag about.
The program has become one of the few to be recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association as meeting the educational requirements toward becoming a Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA) or a Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA).
“We are extremely proud of this achievement because we have heard that only one other university has earned this distinction,” WWU President Jahnae H. Barnett said. “This recognition increases the value of the degree for our students and will save them time and money in working toward certification.”
The master of education in athletics/activities administration degree enables athletic workers to improve their skills in their field and prepares them to take administrative roles in the area of athletics.
“This program is unique in that it will provide emphasis in middle school, secondary and intercollegiate athletics,” Sherry McCarthy, vice president and academic dean, said.
Jim Gagen, who chairs the program’s advisory committee and is a former president of the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), explained, “Most programs in sports management are primarily for university, professional and recreational programs. The William Woods program is one of the few that is geared for the secondary school athletic/activity administrator, as well.”
The former activities director of Marquette High School in Chesterfield, until he retired in 2002, added, “The program is designed to provide program graduates with the knowledge and the skills required for the modern athletic/activity administrator. The program was developed and designed by a committee of athletic administrators with years of experience at all levels of athletic/activity administration. It is taught by administrators with a wealth of experience in the field.”
Cohorts from Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis graduated Friday, but additional cohorts are ongoing in Belton, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kansas City, Liberty, North Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Webster Groves. New ones are scheduled to begin in the fall in Blue Springs, Columbia, Fulton, Hannibal, Kansas City and St. Charles. Additional venues will be selected according to requests.
“The M.Ed. in athletics/activities administration has proven to be a popular option, as we continue to expand our offerings in the master of education area,” Barnett said. “It was the brainchild of our athletic director, Larry York, and he is to be credited with this success.”
The program is popular because it has been worthwhile for its graduates. Take Kevin Hicks, for example. The baseball and softball coach at Sturgeon High School in mid-Missouri was named athletic director after completing his degree. He said the program was a “definite help.”
Phillip Dorman is starting his fourth year as athletic director of Platte County High School. With 900 students, it is one of the fastest growing high schools in the Kansas City area. He said the program would help him do a better job as an AD and he was thankful to find out about it.
“I don’t want to be a principal,” he said. “For quite a while I had been searching for a program in athletic administration and this fit the bill.”
Scott Goodrich has his sights set on a long-term goal of being an athletic director, but for now he is enjoying his role as assistant baseball coach at Meramec Community College in St. Louis while he teaches at Lindbergh High School.
“When I think about advancing my career, the position of AD is something that interests me,” he said. “This program taught me a lot about the responsibilities of an athletic director. We had good instructors and the classes were very diverse.”
The degree is a practical course of education for anyone who works with or has experience in athletics or school activities. Officials, athletic trainers, summer and town league coaches and administrators, directors of YMCA’s or Boys and Girls Clubs and even former collegiate athletes are just some of the potential participants in this program.
“Although it sounds as if this program is designed mostly for coaches, it is in reality designed for anyone who needs more knowledge in developing and administering activities in any school or community setting,” McCarthy said.
“We encourage band directors, cheerleading coaches, academic team coaches all to participate in this training.”
The program follows the same structure as other WWU graduate programs for working adults. Designed to be completed in fewer than two years, the 36-hour program involves a cohort group of students moving through together, attending each course one night a week for six weeks.
“William Woods has been a leader in innovative graduate education programs in Missouri for the last 10 years,” McCarthy said. “This is another example of WWU taking the lead in serving Missouri students.”
William Woods offers several Graduate & Adult Studies programs, including the ACCESS program of general education, an associate of arts degree in liberal studies, a bachelor of science in management (BSM), a BSM with human resources emphasis, a B.S. in paralegal studies and a new bachelor of social work degree (BSW).
Graduate programs include a master of business administration (MBA) and MBAs with accounting, health management or human resources emphasis, as well as a master of education (M.Ed.) in administration and in curriculum/instruction and a specialist of education (EDS) in school administration and in curriculum leadership.
More information on the university’s Graduate & Adult Studies program is available at www.williamwoods.edu/evening or by calling 1-800-995-3199 or contacting WWU by e-mail at email@example.com.