Page 13 - William Woods University - Winter 2013-14

The Woods Magazine Summer | 2013
William Woods University, the first
school in the country to offer a four-
year degree in equestrian science, has
added another degree program—an
online Master of Education in
equestrian education.
According to Jennie Petterson, chair
of the equestrian studies division,
there is a growing need for accredited
faculty in today's equestrian education
industry, and William Woods wants to
be a leader in producing students with
these needed credentials.
Randi Thompson helped develop
the degree program. Known as a
trainer's trainer,Thompson teaches
riders, instructors, and trainers of all
breeds and styles of riding. She has
spent 35 years teaching professionals
in the field, but she says she had to
learn from her own mistakes because
no one was there to teach her.
Students who graduate and enter
the horse business might have the
passion for horse, but they aren’t
prepared for life’s problems. It’s not
enough to know how to teach and
train students; you need to be able to
do such things as manage a barn, and
you need to know marketing.”
Petterson agrees. “In the horse
industry, you have to be a jack of all
trades,” she said, explaining that the
curriculum is designed for a variety of
careers, not just future teachers.
The master’s degree in equestrian
education is being offered online
for the convenience of students who
cannot physically attend.Thompson
sees the online program as “good for
students because they can do it at
their own pace.”
The graduate program, taught
completely online, “is the first of its
kind in the country,” Petterson said.
Because there are no others, William
Woods will be setting the standard.
Students must meet general
admission standards to apply,
and must also demonstrate
proficiency in and understanding
of equestrian experiences.This
includes certifications, professional
memberships, and personal
accomplishments in the field.
The program is designed to help
students acquire a number of skills:
teaching and learning, improvement
of instruction, curriculum construction,
management of equestrian program
resources, equestrian program
development, instructional design for
equestrian education, understanding
and responding to current issues,
application of instructional theories
and strategies using technology, and
action research.
Roger Wen, dean of the online
campus and professor of education
and business, explained in part how
new degrees, such as the M.Ed. in
equestrian education, are created.
First the university division makes a
proposal, which goes to the graduate
council and is typically approved.
Then the proposal goes out to
faculty and administration, and the
division chair invites industry leaders
and educators, such as Thompson,
to help design the program. Once
everything has been finalized,
qualified and experienced teachers
are hired.
For more information or to apply, go
Jennie Petterson,
chair of the
equestrian studies
division, and WV
Kyss of Fame
prepare for Pinto
World. Petterson
has helped design
the new online
master’s degree
in equestrian
Photo by Emily
Triesch ’15)