You’re only as old as you feel

William Woods is marking its 154th year of existence in 2024, which is by all accounts a very big number. But even after a century and a half of operation, there is one thing that will never get ‘old’ here at The Woods: our relentless commitment to student success, both when you are attending WWU and long after you have entered into the ranks of our alumni. And in just the past month, we announced a couple of new initiatives that are both aimed at that commitment.

On February 23, we officially announced a new groundbreaking partnership with Coursera, a global online learning and career development platform. Through Coursera, our students will now have access to online courses and credentials in a variety of disciplines that will be threaded within our existing university curriculum, further enhancing the academic experience and employment marketability of every William Woods student.

Coursera offers more than 6,000 courses and 45 professional certificates, with industry micro-credentials designed by some of the most recognizable brands in the world like Google, Microsoft and IBM. Through our partnership with Coursera, we can now embed these micro-credentials into our existing curriculum; for example, a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity at WWU will now also earn an IBM Cybersecurity micro-credential as part of their studies. Elsewhere, another student pursuing a masters degree in Data Analytics at William Woods will also earn a Google Data Analytics micro-credential. These hands-on projects and interactive assessments will allow our students to apply their skills in real-world scenarios and practice using workplace tools, helping to prepare them, even without prior work experience, for in-demand entry-level jobs upon graduation.

Ensuring that our students succeed at The Woods is the goal of another initiative announced recently, when WWU was one of 12 Missouri universities selected to participate in the Student Journey Mapping Project, facilitated by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD).

Being chosen for the Student Journey Mapping Project will allow us to strengthen our capacity to serve our students, especially our non-traditional, underrepresented student populations. This initiative will make it possible for us to better map our students’ academic journey, including before they arrive at WWU, then continuing during their advising, registration, matriculation and extending the process beyond graduation. Through this process, we look forward to enhancing the student experience, improving retention rates, more informed decision making, more personalized learning pathways and enhanced communication and collaboration.

As they say, you’re only as old as you feel. William Woods might indeed be 154 years ‘old,’ but we actually ‘feel’ really good about where we are going as a university. And even better about our commitment to the success of our students, something that has proven to be timeless.