William Woods University faculty walk in line towards the stage for commencement

William Woods University establishes first Ph.D. degree program in University’s 153-year existence

Doctor of Philosophy in Ethical Leadership will be offered beginning in August 2023

Continuing a legacy of innovation, William Woods University (WWU) today announced the creation of a new Ph.D. degree program – a Doctor of Philosophy in Ethical Leadership. The new course of study, which will be offered online with a summer residential requirement, is a milestone for William Woods as the first Ph.D. degree program in the University’s history.

“Our new Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership, the first Ph.D. program ever offered by William Woods, is a groundbreaking moment in the long, proud academic tradition of our University,” said Dr. Jeremy Moreland, President of William Woods. “Workforce analysts have identified leadership as the critical skillset needed in the 21st Century economy, and we are uniquely positioned to educate the next generation of business and industry leaders through our innovative Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership.”

The University received approval for the new degree from the Higher Learning Commission, a highly regarded institutional accrediting agency that is responsible for accrediting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States, in April. The new degree program will begin being offered with the Fall semester in August 2023.

The Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership will consist of 54 credit hours, including a minimum of three required dissertation courses. The program can be completed in as little as three years. It will be offered primarily online and include residency events where students can meet face-to-face with other students, faculty and industry leaders during intensive three-day development sessions each year.

Coursework in the Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership program will focus on the top organizational leadership skills cited by employers, including complex problem-solving; creativity; ethics and morality; change management; resiliency through adversity; innovation; strategic communication; coaching and motivation; and clarity and efficiency for the advancement of organizational, community, and stakeholder goals.

“Sound leadership is critical for any organization that wants to succeed,” said President Moreland. “The best organizational leaders are visionary and strategic, but also possess the kind of hard and soft skills to address the challenges modern workplaces face. Our students will not only understand the theoretical foundations of leadership but will hone the skills and perspectives that the world demands in our modern and future economy.”

The formation of the first-ever Ph.D. program in WWU history continues the University’s tradition of academic innovation, which includes offering the first collegiate four-year degree program in Equestrian Science in 1973; the establishment of online and graduate-level degree programs in the 1990’s, before many other independent institutions were doing so; the creation of the innovative LEAD program in 2000 to support campus engagement; and the first-ever private institution to offer the Show-Me GOLD program in the state of Missouri, in 2018, cementing the institution’s role in producing the next generation of military leaders.