Tortola students graduate from Southern

Twenty-nine students at H. Levity Stoutt community College graduated Jan. 23. Dwight Douglas, president of Missouri Southern´s Board of Governors, spoke at the ceremony.

Special toThe Chart

Twenty-nine students at H. Levity Stoutt community College graduated Jan. 23. Dwight Douglas, president of Missouri Southern´s Board of Governors, spoke at the ceremony.

Jessica MacIntosh

Twenty-nine students from Tortola, British Virgin Islands participated in a graduation ceremony held Jan. 23.

H. Levity Stoutt Community College and Missouri Southern reached an agreement in December 2001, which would allow the students from Tortola to participate in courses in order to receive four-year degrees.

“They (HLSCC) knew they needed to have some higher level education for their students,” said Dr. Brad Kleindl, dean of the school of business administration. “What they wanted to have was a university experience for their students in Tortola.”

Part of the agreement with HLSCC is Southern will work with HLSCC to be able to offer the classes for its students.

“The main thing is the agreement to form a partnership,” Kleindl said.

The partnership came about when Derek Skaggs, director of enrollment services, was contacted by Emma Baker, registrar at HLSCC.

“Her school was looking for a university that would come and offer four-year degree programs to the students at her community college,” Skaggs said.

Skaggs said they were looking in the area of business in which the two major industries are international finance and tourism.

“They had a lot of their graduates there who had associates’ degrees but wanted to get into management positions at these companies,” he said, “and they needed bachelor’s degrees.”

At the time, Skaggs went to Jim Gray, former dean of the school of business, and Dr. Larry Martin, former vice president for academic affairs.

“I talked to them and that kind of got the ball rolling,” he said.

He said they started communicating with the community college and came up with idea to have a combination of course offerings.

One-third of the courses during the summer are taught on the HLSCC campus by Southern faculty. Another one-third is taught on the Internet, and adjunct faculty members from HLSCC teach some of Southern’s courses as part of the last third of the program.

“[They are] qualified to teach at the university level,” Kleindl said.

Since the agreement, the first graduates received their bachelors of science in business administration in January. Twenty-four of the graduates received dual degrees in Finance and Economics but will not complete their education until the end of the semester.

Skaggs said as the program has moved on, it has been “a wonderful experience” for the students and “a tremendous experience” for the faculty.

The courses were offered part-time because many of the students work full-time.

This makes the program a three-year program for the students.

“It was a great opportunity for them because they can take the courses part time while they are working, and they never have to leave the island,” he said. “I think we provided that outstanding service to them.”

“From a dean’s standpoint, we have a real high quality education program,” Kleindl said, “and what we are doing now is serving new groups.”

Kleindl said this program acts as a model for Southern to be able to serve different groups and gives the chance to go the next step.

“The next step is start to integrate what we do here with what is done at these distance locations,” he said. “It allows us to be able to internationalize the educational experience involved.”