Southern, Crowder reach associate degree agreement

Dr. Richard McCallum - Vice President for academic affairs

Dr. Richard McCallum – Vice President for academic affairs

In three years, some of the associate degrees will be phased out.

“The reason that this conversation has developed goes back to the state statute,” said Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president for academic affairs.

He said the law changing Missouri Southern State College to a university has a clause in Senate Bill 0055, which read, “The section further asserts that Missouri Southern State University-Joplin shall discontinue, as of July 1, 2008, any and all associate degree programs unless the continuation of such associate degree programs is approved by the Coordinating Board.”

“That’s an important clause because that gives us the opportunity between now and 2008 to request permission to keep some of our associate degrees, which is what we plan on doing,” McCallum said.

A proposal was written listing what programs would be retained and be discontinued. McCallum said a “great dimension” to the developed proposal was cooperation between Crowder College and the University.

“It’s been an opportunity for Crowder College and Missouri Southern to have a conversation and to talk about the educational needs of the area,” he said, “and the programs and resources and how those programs and resources will be made available to the students in the area who want particular degrees.”

He said over the summer months, conversations between the two institutions were going on, and an agreement was signed at the beginning of the semester.

“I think it’s a hallmark indication of our commitment as two institutions to collaborate together,” McCallum said. “I think it’s an excellent plan.”

McCallum said the 2003 legislation has given time to discuss the associate degree programs until 2008. He said the two institutions are together proposing what degree to retain and discontinue.

“The conversation isn’t over because it must continue as we move this proposal to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education,” he said.

Students will be allowed to finish their associate degrees if they are on the retained list of programs, which will include dental hygiene, radiology technology, respiratory therapy, law enforcement, computer science/information systems, computer aided drafting and design-engineering technology and computer assisted manufacturing technology.

“I am very pleased that the president of the Board of Governors, particularly the president of the Board at that time, Mr. Dwight Douglas, took a special interest in seeing that Missouri Southern could retain the majority of our associate degrees because they are a very integral part of our campus,” said Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the school of technology.

Strait said it would be “a great void” if the programs were discontinued.

“Those programs are an important part of meeting the needs of our community,” she said.

With the programs that will be phasing out, McCallum said students will be given the opportunity to look into transition plans.

“Over the next year, we will be working with our colleagues at Crowder and trying to develop and plan so that students between now and 2008 have a planned track of study they can pursue,” McCallum said.

The proposed programs for phasing out include general business, accounting, pre-engineering, computer science/network administration, computer science/Web site administrator and computer aided drafting and design-computer graphics design. This will also include discontinuing the associate of arts degree.

McCallum said the proposal for the associate degree programs must be submitted to the CBHE for final approval.