Bonnie Carr ’96 is the associate dean of academic student services and an associate professor of Equestrian Science at William Woods University. After earning her bachelor’s degree at William Woods and her master’s degree at Arkansas State University, Carr came back to The Woods to aid students both in and out of the classroom. She recently sat down with Emily Barker ’19 to answer 5 Questions.
Q1: Your role as the associate dean of academic student services is a new job for the university. How do you think it will help students and the WWU community?
Most of my job right now is coordinating and being the liaison between all of the offices that serve our students. I generally work in academics, but I also work with admissions and try to coordinate the two. I directly supervise registrar, student disability services, and the academic success center. It helps having everyone connected and more cohesive.
Our goal ultimately is to serve the students better.
Having someone who serves as a firefighter, puts out the fires, and runs in between the areas is helpful. Our students, faculty, and staff benefit from having someone to coordinate everyone.
Check out our interview with Kathy Neal, coordinator of the Academic Success Center.
Q2: What is your day-to-day like?
It really depends. I wasn’t joking when I said I’m a firefighter. I come in with a plan and then I open my email and that plan usually goes out the window and I end up doing something else. I try to stay in contact with all of my people and solve whatever problems have arisen.
Right now, one of our main projects is establishing a data refinement program that will make our data much more accurate. It will also make things a lot more automated and allow operations to go more quickly and smoothly for students. We also have a separate transcript evaluation process we have started that will eventually post transcripts into our database and reduce the amount of human data entry.
Q3: Do you have any advice for how students can be more successful in the classroom?
As hard as it is and as easy as it is to get distracted, try to put everything away while you’re in the classroom. Put away your phones and all the other thoughts going through your head and just focus on what you are doing.
And please do the reading ahead of time. I am a discussion kind of teacher, but when no one has read the material, it makes it very difficult to have a discussion.
I also wish that students would remember that the academic student services center and its tutors are not just there for when you get in trouble. They are to help you before you get in trouble. I do wish we had more students make use of our student tutoring services, even if it is just having students come in and study in the academic success center instead of their room. Last semester we offered math, English, biology, psychology, and Spanish tutors. All of our tutors are well-rounded students, so some can help a student with studying skills or any other necessities the student may need, rather than just working on one specific subject.
Q4: What is your fondest memory of William Woods as a student?
I really enjoyed my time here and had a lot of fun as a student. I loved living in Jones Hall. I had so many good friends and great roommates and we were all horsey people.
The rooms were HUGE! Sometimes the elevator worked which made move in so much easier. I liked all the “classic” features as well…and the history.
Q5: As a member of the Equestrian faculty, you teach a new class called Bits and Bridles. Why do you think this class is so popular with students?
I wanted my students to come out of this class and feel like they could speak more intelligently about bits and bridles across various disciplines. Even if some students would never use a mechanical hackamore or a California spade bit, I still wanted them to have a better understanding of what certain bits/bridles are and why they are used.