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President's Message

Jahnae H. Barnett

Jahnae H. Barnett

Transforming the experience. Preserving the values.

Since its founding in 1870, the mission of William Woods University has been to provide a quality education while ensuring the development of the individual. Equipping students to reach their highest potential has been foundational for William Woods, but at no time has it been more of a focus than it is today.

That is because, like many institutions, William Woods University is at a turning point. The workplace is changing. Technology is changing. Society is changing. Never have there been more demands on education and our ability to prepare students for the future.

You will quickly see that "The Woods Way" involves doing everything we can to prepare students for the rest of their lives. If that is the best of their lives, we have done our jobs well.

Twenty five years of transformation

Over the past twenty five years, we have been preparing for changes like these, beginning with the transformation of William Woods in the 1990s to a coeducational university offering paths from associate to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

As technology and the workplace changed, we transformed from a campus-centric delivery model to an institution that serves students with a mix of on-campus, regional, and online options. That transformation continues, and we provide the same level of challenge, support, and academic excellence in our off-campus and online programs that we provide in our traditional classrooms.

As life has become more global and connected, we have created new programs that provide out-of-classroom experiences, such as our Woods Around the World study-abroad academic program and our Mentor/Mentee, Service Learning, and LEAD co-curricular programs.

Infrastructure for the future

In support of this transformation, we have raised the capital to update the financial and physical infrastructure of this scenic campus. Our latest campaign, the largest in our history, has enabled us to build four new residence halls and renovate the former president’s home to become the Alumni and Visitors Center. Gracious benefactors also have enabled us to create a Center for Ethics and Global Studies on campus. As a financially strong university, we are poised to address other program and student life needs in future campaigns.

Importantly, through the generosity of our donors, and combined with careful management, we have been able to accomplish our goals while preserving the affordability of a William Woods education. We continue to be recognized for providing a quality education at an affordable price, and William Woods ranks second among Midwest universities for graduates with the least debt load.

The task, of course, is unfinished. The educational needs of students will continue to evolve at a pace that seems faster every day. What is in place at William Woods today is the ability to meet the challenges of the future while maintaining the values that have made the university special to generations of students.

The values that make William Woods University unique

When you visit our campus, you can see these values at work all around you. Ask a student why he or she has chosen William Woods and, as often as not, the answer will be about the way we encourage our students to dig deep within themselves to realize their dreams, challenge them to make the journey, and walk with them until they complete it as thriving, flourishing members of society.

This experience is the essence of a William Woods University education. It gives value and context to all the experiences we offer. And it is what makes William Woods University one of the most unique learning communities you will find anywhere.

When you visit "The Woods," please stop by my office. I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you into the William Woods University family.

Barnett's Signature

Jahnae H. Barnett, President
William Woods University