Empowering the people she works with is a key component of leadership for Linda Wooderson.
“I truly believe that when given the right materials and contacts all things can be done,” says Wooderson, dean of the college of education and social sciences at Southwest Baptist University. “By empowering my academic chairs with the freedom to explore possibilities and encouraging vision within their future academic needs, I can assist them in reaching their goals as I take their desires and fruits of labor through administrative channels.”
Wooderson also is a professor of kinesiology at SBU. “I am a teaching dean, both in the classroom and online,” she says. “I have the same experiences (faculty members) do, and we work together to make things better.”
Wooderson says her proudest moments come from seeing visions or ideas come to fruition, as was the case with the college of education and social sciences.
“This college just developed, from the ground level, two degrees – one undergrad and one graduate,” Wooderson says. “The graduate degree took more than six years to fully develop, survey and secure accreditation with glowing remarks. … Both degrees are full with waiting lists.”
While Wooderson considers becoming a female dean at the private university a “huge benchmark,” she’s also proud of her role as president of the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, of which every two- and four-year public and private institution in Missouri is a member.
Wooderson says her job as president is to make sure all MACTE participants are up-to-date on educational guidelines, statutes and the actions of the state board of education and the legislature in relation to teacher education.
“Developing committees to speak with our legislature to enhance their working knowledge of teacher education or to persuade (legislators) of the desires of teachers or the future of teaching is a monumental task,” Wooderson says.
Wooderson also has a direct impact on the success of her students, sometimes by helping them secure internships or job interviews.
No matter which role she’s in, Wooderson sticks with a tried-and-true approach.
“Working side by side, pulling my own weight, doing the research and rolling up my sleeves to dig in a little further have been traits I try to exhibit in every situation,” she says.Click here for full coverage of the 2012 Most Influential Women.