First ever Ph.D. program coming to SMWC

Local News

ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — St. Mary-of-the-Woods College will soon offer a new degree level to its ever-expanding academic program.

Dr. Janet Clark, Ph.D., SMWC vice president for academic and student affairs, announced Wednesday that the college is adding its first ever Ph.D. program, a doctorate in global leadership. Clark noted that the college is expecting to add a second Ph.D. program within the next five years.

Clark’s announcement came during a press conference to unveil the college’s Master Plan for the next five years, ten years and beyond. The plan includes the facilities, academics and athletics, according to president Dottie L. King, Ph.D.

“I do believe St. Mary-of-the-Woods College is an institution on the grow,” King said.

King explained working on the Master Plan became a year-long project. A large focus of the plan included the facilities and grounds. She said anyone can “easily see the grander and the beauty” of the many historical buildings on campus; however, she noted that with that legacy comes maintenance and upkeep requirements.

The college has “grown pretty steadily” since 2015, according to King, even seeing an 11% increase during the pandemic. With that growth comes additional needs for the campus.

King said the first new residence/dining hall since 1924 is projected for completion this summer. Within the next 10 years, a second new residence/dining hall is also planned as well as a major expansion of the current Hulman Hall.

The college recently purchased more land to expand the 65-acre campus to a 311-acre campus.

“What does the new land mean?” she asked, noting that finding an answer to that question was part of her Master Plan.

King said they are taking a “strong look” at the equestrian area. SMWC is currently the only college in Indiana to offer three academic majors in equine studies. The college is also looking at the current 90-acres dedicated to athletics and deciding what the future of their athletic program looks likes.

“What we want is a plan,” King said.

She explained that while a plan is in place, she is not sure what the next athletic priority will be. It all depends on interest, availability and other factors.

The flexible plan to grow the college’s athletics is similar to how the college continues to expand its academic offerings, Clark added

For example, the college is looking at the current paramedic program to see how it could bridge into nursing, Clark said. She also pointed out that what started out as a strength and wellness program evolved into kinesiology and is now evolving further into an exercise science program.

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