No “off” switch on the innovation machine

The air may be hot and humid. The calendar may say July. And the temptation may certainly be to lounge away another lazy summer day.

But here at The Woods, our commitment to innovating and being forward-thinking as an institution does not take the season off. Or any season, for that matter.

Just last week we announced that, as part of the State of Missouri’s Seal of Biliteracy program, William Woods would begin offering up to 18 free, transferrable credit hours to incoming high school graduates who have attained proficiency in English and at least one other language. The Seal of Biliteracy, administered by the Missouri Department of Secondary Education (DESE), is designed to promote the active participation in a global society and economy by incentivizing, recognizing and celebrating the acquisition of biliteracy skills.

At WWU, our nationally-ranked American Sign Language program, as well as Spanish, are among the university’s course offerings. So once a student who has earned DESE’s Seal of Biliteracy commits to language study at William Woods, they will be eligible to receive up to 18 credit hours of language coursework transcripted toward their college degree, at no charge to the student. These credit hours can save students considerable time and money while providing them with the opportunity to advance their college language study more rapidly.

And while this is another example of William Woods using innovation to stay abreast of the changing trends in today’s world of higher education, it is also consistent with our professions-oriented institutional philosophy. And that is because students who are proficient in a second language have an increased ability to communicate, with clients, colleagues and associates, who speak a language other than English. Which makes them more in-demand by today’s employers in our 21st Century economy.

Simply put, innovation, professions-oriented and cost-effective have always been hallmarks of the William Woods mission. When you consider why this university continues to thrive heading into its 150th year of existence in 2020, the answer is crystal clear in any language.

Dr. Jahnae Barnett