Western, MCC, NCMC Collaborate on 2-Year Programs
Contact: Kent Heier
Title: Assistant PR/Marketing Director
WESTERN, MCC, NCMC COLLABORATE ON 2-YEAR PROGRAMS
AGREEMENT EASES TRANSFERS, PROVIDES GREATER ACCESS
St. Joseph, Mo. —May 18, 2009— Missouri Western State University, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) of Kansas City, Mo., and North Central Missouri College (NCMC) of Trenton, Mo., have signed a memorandum of agreement to more efficiently deliver two-year degree programs to students in northwest Missouri.
“Partnerships are never easy, but in this day and age, partnerships are what it’s all about,” said Dr. Robert Stein, Missouri’s commissioner of higher education, who was on Western’s campus for the announcement of the agreement. “We should be working on how to improve access and success in all regions, and this is an indication of that.”
As part of the legislation granting university status to Missouri Western in 2005, Western was required to review its two-year programs and submit any the university wanted to continue to the Missouri Department of Higher Education for re-approval. Working collaboratively over the past two years, Western, MCC and NCMC have considered the region’s needs and developed approaches that would preserve the greatest opportunity for student access to two-year programs while avoiding unnecessary duplication.
Under the agreement, Western will discontinue four of its 10 two-year programs and submit the other six to be reapproved. The discontinued programs include Associate of Science (AS) programs in construction engineering technology, electronics engineering technology and electronics and computer engineering technology, and the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in paramedic technology.
Fewer than 20 students are currently enrolled in the four associate degree programs to be discontinued. Those students will be able to complete their associate degree programs but, effective fall 2009, Western will no longer admit students into those four discontinued programs. Students seeking degrees in engineering technology will still have the associate degree in manufacturing engineering technology and baccalaureate degree options available at Western in the areas of construction engineering technology, electronics engineering technology, electronics and computer engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology. The agreement also does not have any impact on Western faculty employment since the courses provided in the engineering technology two-year degrees are also part of the existing four-year degree.
“In fulfilling the directive to review our two-year programs, we wanted to be sure that students in our region would continue to have access to programs that they want and need,” said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Western’s president. “We appreciate MCC and NCMC working with us to provide that assurance through this agreement. Together, we provide educational opportunities to the people of 25 counties in northwest Missouri. Students in this large area will now have better access to two-year programs than ever before.”
Programs of study similar to the ones being discontinued are offered at MCC or NCMC. Western will continue to offer two-year degrees in health information technology, physical therapy assistant, manufacturing engineering technology, criminal justice, business and legal assistant. At some point in the future, Western will transfer the health information technology and physical therapy assistant programs to its two-year partners.
The institutions are also working toward an enhanced program articulation approach that will provide seamless transfer for students in the business and criminal justice two-year programs. Ordinarily, such transfer agreements are between two institutions; this three-party agreement will ease access for students across northwest Missouri, said Dr. Jacqueline Snyder, chancellor of MCC. Eventually the partners intend to have complete program articulation for all mutual degree areas.
“We wanted to look at what programs were needed for our community, what jobs were out there, how many people were needed for those jobs, and what programs needed to be sustained in a particular area,” said Dr. Snyder. “I think we’ve come up with a solution that helps everyone. It meets our students’ needs and the future needs of our community.”
The agreement also calls for a joint enrollment program in the business and criminal justice programs at the three institutions. Students may transfer from one institution to another, alternate enrollment between institutions, or co-enroll at their discretion, said Dr. Neil Nuttall, president of NCMC.
“That joint enrollment is critical,” said Dr. Nuttall. “We knew that this was going to be a way that we could improve our business and criminal justice programs at North Central, so that a student who desires to complete their baccalaureate degree at Missouri Western will have come from a program that aligns with Western’s program.”
The agreement will be considered by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education at its June meeting.
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo. and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.