Crowder College, Missouri State agree to partnership

Wes Franklin

Crowder College inked a formal agreement Thursday with Missouri State University, paving the way for local students to earn bachelor’s degrees from MSU without ever leaving Crowder.

Through the partnership between the two institutions, students are now able to receive bachelor’s degrees from MSU in the fields of elementary education, agriculture and general business by taking the appropriate courses on the Crowder campus.

MSU instructors will teach the classes. All tuition will be paid to MSU as well.

Crowder President Dr. Alan Marble admitted that Crowder didn’t have much to gain financially by the agreement, but said it was a way to offer another service to the community.

Noting that many of Crowder’s students are non-traditional — i.e.

older than the average college age — and have families, Marble said the partnership with MSU would allow them to earn a bachelor’s degree without having to relocate.

“Four-year degrees are obviously a stepping stone to great careers for individuals,”

Marble said. “It’s just that we have students who are unable to pack up and move to a university town. But this (agreement) will bring it to their doorstep. We’re bringing the opportunity to them and we’re delighted to be able to do that.”

MSU President Dr. Michael Nietzel said joining in educational partnerships such as the one with Crowder had its technical and logistical difficulties for both the sending and receiving institutions. Since some of the courses will be taught through long-distance learning, Nietzel said there are extra equipment costs involved. That’s in addition to the fact that some of the MSU faculty could be commuting long distances, he said.

However, he said agreements like the one made Thursday were “vital” to the state and region.

“We’re serving the statewide mission that we have in public affairs and we consider part of that mission is to reflect on the need to increase the number of citizens in Missouri who have four-year degrees,” Nietzel said.

He said offering MSU bachelor degrees at Crowder would make it that much easier for people locally to continue their higher education goals, even if they’ve put it off for some time.

In actuality, students have already been taking MSU courses at Crowder since the beginning of the fall semester, Marble said. Some of the ag courses, in fact, have been around for much longer. Last semester, about 60 students enrolled in MSU courses at Crowder, he said.

Any wrinkles in the arrangement have been ironed out by now, he noted. 

Classroom space to house the expected influx of students wanting to earn four-year degrees won’t be a problem, Marble said, with the finished construction this spring of the new Arnold Farber academic building.

“Right now we have crowding problems, so we’ve kept the (class) schedule kind of small even though we have students enrolled,” Marble said. “But we’ll have plenty of room as soon as the new building opens up.”

Neosho Daily News