“Court”ing more opportunity for our students

With another academic year in the books, we now head into that time of the year when our lives, by definition, should slow down some. It is the natural inclination after another hectic year on our campus that was packed with events, milestones and a fair amount of progress for our institution, of which we should all be proud.

But “slowing down” has never been what has moved our institution forward, nor will it ever serve as a strategy that will push our university to the heights we have imagined. The strides we have made at William Woods are because we have relentlessly looked forward, planned for the future, and pursued creative ways to make The Woods appealing to a wide variety of prospective students. This is an ongoing commitment of our leadership, one that goes on throughout the entire year, regardless of what the calendar says.

Take just last week, for example. Not even one full week after we waved goodbye to the Class of 2018, we announced another exciting new opportunity for our legal studies, criminal justice, political science and other students. Beginning this August, William Woods will be hosting proceedings of the Callaway County truancy court at our state-of-the-art Bernard Weitzman Model Courtroom. This program, officially called the Working to Inspire Student Education (WISE) Court, is a collaboration between William Woods, the Callaway County Family Court and Juvenile Office, and four areas school districts that will help address a community concern of excessive absenteeism.

More importantly for William Woods students will be the hands-on, practical legal experience they will receive through this program. Positions for our students will be developed to take advantage of each of their areas of career interest, so that an education major may oversee a study hall, provide homework assistance or aid middle school students with WISE Court assignments; social work students might provide mentoring or help identify and solve barriers to school attendance; criminal justice students could serve as bailiffs during court proceedings, or legal studies students may serve as advocates during court.

This exciting new opportunity is just the latest for our students with an interest in a career in the law. It is in addition to the docket we host every year in the Weitzman Model Courtroom that is heard by Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals. Not to mention the model courtroom itself – William Woods is the only university in the state of Missouri without a law school that has a fully functioning model courtroom on its campus.

The bottom line is, when it comes to exciting new opportunities for students, the verdict is in: William Woods has always, and will always, provide academic programs that make our graduates in-demand by a wide variety of employers. You can see that commitment in just the past year, when we added new degree programs in nursing, cybersecurity and deaf services in addition to this new partnership with Callaway County. You can see it in the array of opportunities we provide to students of all (traditional on-campus, graduate, online) persuasions. And you can certainly see it in how we, at William Woods, rarely take a moment to really slow down, even in the splendid season of warmth that is finally upon us.

More exciting news to share in the future! Happy Summer!


Dr. Jahnae Barnett