Crowder, MSU form partnership

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Agreement allows students to get bachelor's degree on a Crowder campus

Crowder College and Missouri State University recently made official a partnership that will allow students to pursue bachelor degrees while remaining on a Crowder campus, including Cassville's.

According to a press release provided by the Neosho Crowder campus Office of Public Information, Crowder students may pursue the following bachelor degrees through MSU on certain Crowder campuses.

▪ B.S. in General Business (online)

▪ B.S. in Nursing (online with a special program for qualified students called "Crowder BSN Scholars")

▪ B.S. in Elementary Education with Middle School or Early Childhood endorsements (available at Neosho, Cassville and Nevada)

▪ B.A.S. in General Agriculture (Neosho)

The Crowder BSN Scholars Program provides Crowder students who qualify to take up to five upper-division MSU classes before graduating with their Associate of Nursing from Crowder, giving them the opportunity to complete their degree faster.

Crowder College and MSU first offered students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor's degree on the Neosho campus in 2007 with General Agriculture and Business and Elementary Education. After these programs were successful, nursing was added as an online career option in 2013.

"Partnerships between the two schools should have one goal in mind: what is best for students," said Glenn Coltharp, Crowder vice president of academic affairs.

"We've had the degree programs for awhile," said Angela Seymour, campus director of the Cassville Crowder campus. "But, the announcement was the formal memorandum of understanding formalizing the partnership we already established, basically, putting it in writing. We've had two sets of graduates go through the bachelor's program now."

The programs offered on the Cassville Crowder campus include a bachelor's in Elementary Education with middle school or early childhood endorsements, a bachelor's of nursing online, or a bachelor's in general business online.

"We have 100 percent job placements for all of the graduates who've come through our program for elementary education," Seymour said. "I think part of it is they are local people who are already invested in the community and that makes them more appealing to the school districts. When you know someone already has passion for the community, they're a great hire. Local districts like local people. And Richard Asbill, the Cassville district superintendent, speaks a lot on growing your own teachers and things he's done with the K-12 district to get students interested in teaching. It just feeds into that."

The opportunity to obtain a bachelor's degree locally also helps students in practical ways, such as eliminating long commutes and saving money.

"Our closest universities are all an hour away," Seymour said. "With this partnership, you don't have to drive to Springfield. We have a lot of non-traditional students who have to worry about family, child care and worry if they can afford to drive that far and take classes and still work. Those are very prominent barriers students face. There are lots of students with kids and families and jobs who want to become a teacher."

Another practical way the partnership helps students is by providing connections, Seymour said.

"Studies show that once you have a connection, you're going to stay, and that connection comes from their classmates and having a place to call their campus instead of doing it all yourself online," Seymour said. "And, they don't have travel and use gas money, because if you do, it takes twice as long to get your degree. One student has three part-time jobs and there's no way she could afford to do that."

"I think it's a great opportunity for our community to have a resource like this," said Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent for the Cassville school district. "We like to 'grow our own' and we feel if we have students we think would be great teachers, we're going to encourage them to go get that degree. We want them to be here. And they get to do their internships here.

"I'm one of those [local] products. I wanted to be here. I think over 30 percent of our teaching staff came from here. Even the Department of Education and Elementary Education can't believe it. We've already hired a couple of teachers through the bachelor's program."

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