Dr. William Woods says he uses his Ph.D. in English to wear two hats at Schreiner University. He's a professor of English, and the dean of Academic Support.
"Academic Support is about helping students find success at Schreiner," he says. "It includes individual tutoring, supplemental instruction, learning support services and learning communities."
He says when new freshmen arrive they are assigned learning communities, where students who share the same classes live together and study together. They have professors who are particularly interested in helping first-year students, and they stay close through the summer.
Woods says tutoring includes a writing lab where students learn to produce college-level papers, peer tutoring labs where students can help each other, and individual tutors recruited from faculty as well as from the greater Kerr County community. "There are a lot of resources in the Hill Country, people from all kinds of backgrounds who are willing to help SU students learn."
He says supplemental instruction involves upperclassmen who, having taken the classes, are willing to sit through them again so they can provide extra teaching to students who may just need something explained from a different point of view.
Learning support is available for students who are challenged, he says. Students may struggle with dyslexia or other impediments.
"I love to be with young folks and help them learn," he says. "We all want each student to have the best support available so they can excel in their studies. We have one of the best programs in the nation."
Woods says his other hat is teaching. As a professor he teaches freshman English, and depending on the semester may have a class in creative writing or literature. He also helps edit the SU literary magazine, "The Muse," providing an outlet for the talents of Schreiner writers.
Woods says he was born in Washington, D.C., but his family moved to Texas when he was five years old. His father, who worked for the Army, was transferred to Fort Hood. "So I grew up in Texas. I edited the Copperas Cove High School newspaper and the literary magazine, and I also wrote for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. I applied to the Killeen Daily Herald as well, but they didn't need a reporter, so I went into advertising sales and commercial art."
After graduating, in 1982, Woods says he went to Texas State University in San Marcos to study journalism. "The more I got into it, though, the more I discovered I was an English major, so I switched." He graduated with his bachelor of arts in English in 1987, and kept going for a master of arts in creative writing in 1989.
He says, "While I was in college I worked at the San Marcos Baptist Academy. We would get off at midnight, then go to one of the few places still open to eat. One night when we were going to Mana's Mexican restaurant I asked a co-worker, Stephanie Drake, if she wanted to ride with me. I claim that as our first date, which led to us getting married in 1989."
Woods says, "By that time I knew I wanted to teach college, so I started shopping for a doctorate program. I applied to North Texas State, but they didn't seem so eager, and couldn't support me. As a joke, someone suggested I try Texas Woman's University, so I gave it a shot. They offered me a good program and a teaching position, so I earned my Ph.D. in English there in 1992. Now I claim to be a Texas Woman."
He says they bounced around for two years, teaching and working in New Mexico, but got to missing their family. Stephanie found a position as an occupational therapist in Kerrville, so they came to the Hill Country in 1994.
Woods says he commuted to San Antonio College, then took over the Alamo Colleges program in Kerrville. But that still had him on the road a lot, so when a position opened up in the SU English Department he applied, and was accepted in 1998. "As soon as I started, I knew I was home."
He says along the way he and Stephanie raised three children. "Our oldest son, Thomas, saw what his dad did and liked it. He's teaching in the History Department at Schreiner. His wife, Emily, taught for a while at Tivy Upper Elementary, but now she's busy raising Liam, my 18-month-old grandson.
"Our second son, Michael, graduated from Schreiner University and is a graphic artist in San Antonio.
"Our daughter, Jane, turned out to be an animal-lover, and works at the Freeman-Fritts Animal Shelter. She got me into bicycling, and we ride often, a lot of time on the wonderful River Trail, particularly now that it connects to Schreiner."
He adds that Stephanie is still an occupational therapist, now working for Kerrville Independent School District.
Woods says in his spare time he's also doing his own writing, mostly fiction, including short stories and poetry. "I grew up alongside the military, and influenced by hippies, so 'Strength and Honor; Peace and Love' is my motto."