To mark Black History Month, The Woods Today is spotlighting our newest African American faculty and staff, with each profile in their own words as told to Veronica Townsend.
William Woods University is delighted to welcome Angelette Prichett, Associate Dean of Academic Services and instructor of social work to the community. She came to William Woods last November with having over 15 years of experience in higher education. Her goal is to help people realize whatever their dreams are, including earning a degree or credential and guiding them on their academic journey to their desired profession.
- How does your background experience as a social worker and working for the State of Missouri help you in your position at WWU?
Being a social worker has not only prepared me for teaching the next generation of social work professionals, but I am also able to use many of the same skills in goal setting, counseling students, documentation, and group/team management in my position as Associate Dean. In my last position as Director of Academic Affairs for the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, the position allowed me to see processes and procedures governing colleges and universities from a statewide perspective. Many of the responsibilities I had at the state level such as program review, transfer, brokering statewide articulation agreements, etc. are transferable to the institutional level. My position at the state also allowed me to network with people from other state agencies, higher education institutions, and community and national organizations, which has helped me to broaden my perspective and knowledge about a number of issues impacting higher education.
2. What services do you and the academic services office provide?
My door is always open, and I am available to help students in whatever way they need assistance, whether it is questions about courses or just needing to talk through some things. My position oversees the registrar’s office which is there for assisting students with getting their transcripts, grades, or anything that impacts their academic record at the university. I also oversee the disability services office for students who self-disclose they have a disability and need accommodations. Selena Meints is our disability services director, and she does a wonderful job with meeting one-on-one with students and talking about what the university can do to be of assistance. I oversee the academic success center where our coordinator Terry Nash organizes the tutors and progress supervisors’ schedules to help students to be as successful as they can be. We put some supports in place to assist students such as progress supervisors who meet with students one-on-one anywhere from once a week to once a month, depending on the need of each individual student. We have our advising area where we advise all our students across the board from first-time freshman all the way to graduate students.
3. What are your goals for the office and how do you plan to help the office in achieving those goals?
I am still new, and I am learning the processes. I have an overarching goal of strengthening and increasing the services that we offer to support students in all their academic efforts. I would like to see our office dig a little deeper in what we do. A goal is to get more tutors in additional areas and boost our support activities and programs. I also would love to see us introduce peer-to- peer and faculty-student mentoring relationships. I think we have a lot of informal relationships happening right now andI would like to see some formal programs that encourage those types of relationships. The first step for me as a new associate dean is to consider what are we doing and why are we doing it. What is the process and why do we do it that way? After I get a little more of my legs underneath me, I want to work on inefficiencies and other areas’ perceptions of our department, to look at why there is that the perception and what could be different. Once we identify that, we have to evaluate what it is going to take; like for example, needing more people or technology to carry out the process. These are my steps and goals.
4. How has your office evolved and abided by COVID-19 protocols since you arrived in late 2020?
Before COVID-19, we had an online campus and already had advisors who had experience advising students and helping students work through issues online. It has been important that we have been able to shift our focus to more online instead of in person. We are skilled with working with students either way, including now when instead of seeing you face-to-face we most times just flip to ZOOM. We are more resilient in all areas, including tutoring. Students are online, and already using online platforms in classes and social media.
5. One of the campus goals is to focus on being a diverse and inclusive campus. What is it like to be a part of a campus that puts an emphasis on diversity, and inclusion and why is diversity and inclusion important?
I have been impressed with WWU in this area, and just had my first meeting with the diversity and inclusion committee as a new member last week. I think it is great that the university changed its mission statement to reflect a greater focus on diversity and inclusion and have been encouraged by seeing President Barnett’s commitment to strengthening our diversity and inclusion efforts. By making D and I part of the mission statement, the university is making it a priority by being willing to commit faculty and staff time, funds, and support for programs to incentivize those efforts. I have been pleased with the announcement of the new Diversity and Inclusion scholarship and am looking forward to all that is being done in the present and the activities being planned for the future by the D and I committee. Poet Maya Angelou said that “in diversity there is beauty and strength.” Through diversity we learn from one another and evolve, not only as individuals, but as a community and a nation. Through diversity we learn acceptance and respect, which serves to strengthen and unify us.