What we have always done, and why we are where we are

2017 was a difficult year for small, private colleges across the nation. In one calendar year, St. Gregory University (Oklahoma), Grace University (Nebraska) and St. Joseph’s College (Indiana) all decided to shut their doors. Inside Higher Education even ominously coined the carnage “Days of Reckoning”.

These are trying times for higher education overall, but more so, for institutions similar to the ones that closed in 2017. In fact, a Moody’s analysis from 2015 predicted that the number of small college closures would triple before 2020. Ominous, indeed.

All of this raises the question – how do universities like ours not only stay healthy, but thrive in today’s challenging environment? The answer can be found right here at The Woods, not only by examining what we have consistently done over these past 25 years, but by considering what we did just last week!

On February 21, we announced the addition of four new academic degree programs that will begin being offered during the Fall 2018 semester. Each of these fields of study are entirely consistent with our mission of producing marketable graduates who are in-demand by a wide range of employers. They include a new Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity, to meet the increasing need for information security analysts in today’s business world to meet the growing threat of Cyberattacks, and our new degree in Deaf Human Services, which is designed to help address the shortage of skilled, quality employees who are able to serve a unique population with unique needs.

Along with our two other newest programs, Management and Leadership and Registered Nurse to Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing completion, all four will be offered online (Deaf Human Services and Management and Leadership will be offered to traditional students as well). So in addition to merely adding these four new in-demand programs, it is also telling that we remain adaptable to serve the growing number of non-traditional students who are increasingly choosing to attend college. Online instruction is often their choice.

This is merely the latest example of how we have always done it here at William Woods. To do more than just survive and truly thrive as an institution like ours, it takes innovation, boldness and thinking ahead. We added online and graduate-level courses back in the early 1990’s, long before many institutions like us would even entertain the thought. We created innovative programs like LEAD and Woods Around The World that make us so unique. And just last fall when we announced the addition of a first-ever William Woods Nursing degree program. Not to mention that exciting announcement of still more new academic programs just last week.

The fact that we are rated as one of the Top 75 Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News in 2018, while watching our total enrollment increase by nearly 200% since 1990, is simply no accident. We will always be looking for that next big idea, program, innovation or policy that makes William Woods University the best possible environment to receive a quality, well-rounded college education. We have been doing that for decades, and it is frankly, why we are where we are. As I tell the faculty and staff at our opening luncheon each year – the greatest risk we take is if we take no risk at all.

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Navigating a complex, ever changing world

The typical year in higher education has a number of familiar seasonal rites. There is move-in day and the welcoming back of students each August. Here at William Woods we have traditions like Fall Family Weekend, and Alumni Weekend in the spring. There are final exams at the end of each semester, and of course […]

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Now and forever, the most important investment

The start of a fresh new year and the beginning of the William Woods Spring 2018 semester have excitement and optimism written all over them. Of course, our mission of preparing young people for their future careers within the vitality of a college campus lend themselves to optimism and excitement. This environment is what prompted […]

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Why We LEAD

Like all colleges and universities, we are proud to emphasize what makes our institution unique. Here at The Woods, such examples are in abundance. One could cite our origins and history of nearly 150 years. Or how we have thrived in the competitive world of smaller, private universities through innovation–such as adding degree completion, graduate level, […]

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On giving thanks

    We live in a time when we are inundated on a daily basis with news about the problems and challenges of the world in which we live. The sheer volume of information we consume could make it easy for even the most optimistic of us to be disheartened at times. While living our […]

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A win for The Woods…and for the state of Missouri

  As we all know, excelling in the competitive world of smaller, private liberal arts colleges and universities takes innovation, forward-thinking and a willingness to embrace change. Change is the world we have been living in since 1990 here at William Woods University. Whether it has been making new investments in graduate-level and online degree […]

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A celebration of where we have been…and where we are going

It seems so hard to believe how fast time moves in our lives. It has already been about two months since we celebrated the start of another academic year at William Woods with our Ivy Ceremony back on August 17. It is of course a time-honored tradition at The Woods in which we welcome our new set of freshmen to the WWU community, an occasion that holds a special place in the 147-year history of our beloved institution.

The entire process is one that has played out countless times in years gone by, which we will always cherish because it illustrates what a rich past William Woods has.

Of course, in these incredibly competitive times in higher education, particularly for smaller, private liberal arts colleges and universities like ours, it is not enough to merely have a storied past. That is why here at The Woods we are equally excited about not only where we have been, but where we are going.

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