Transforming the World through Higher Education

As a dean of a leading online university, Dr. Janet Williams is committed to educating working professionals looking to transform the world.

At Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, Williams heads a 21st century learning community seeking to affect positive social change. Walden has more than 100,000 alumni from 150 countries.

She oversees the School of Education and Professional Licensure. Her role includes program, personnel, and policy development and evaluation, as well as budgeting and long-term planning for student success. Under her leadership, Walden launched the nation’s first online competency-based master’s program in early childhood studies using a direct assessment model.

As dean, Williams is accountable for outreach to districts, schools, and state departments of education. Her enthusiasm has broadened with the development of a unique three-tiered partnership model to enhance relationships for students during their field experiences.

She said her passion in education ignited when she “realized the positive influence education has on helping others achieve their goals and the impact of those actions for social change in our world.” As a woman leader in the educational sector, she identifies the “desire to make a difference” as a key component of leadership. “Women can and should empower each other through collaboration across allied fields,” she said.

Prior to her tenure at Walden, Williams served as associate dean at the University of New Orleans and director for teacher licensure and assessment for the Louisiana Department of Education, before relocating following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Williams is an active member of several professional groups, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, International Society for Technology in Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Educational Research Association, a local chapter of Kiwanis International, and several charities for scholarship programs and hospitals. She has also served as a national evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement for leadership and alternate certification programs.

Among her many accolades, Williams has been recognized as a Florida regional teacher of the year, district mathematics teacher of the year, and member of a team recognized as innovators of the year by New Orleans City Business for opening the first university-managed charter school in the city.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi, a master’s in education from Rollins College, and a doctorate of education from the University of Central Florida.