Universities in Missouri could become part of a new plan for higher education, which Gov. Jay Nixon outlined in his State of the State speech Jan. 16. He emphasized the need for colleges and universities to change to cut costs and benefit students.
Nixon cited the University of Central Missouri’s planned Innovation Campus as an example of how schools should expand.
“Innovation Campus students will enroll in college courses while still in high school and then participate in high-impact apprenticeships throughout the college curriculum,” Nixon said in his address.
UCM plans to partner with the Lee’s Summit School District to allow high school students to take college courses. This could permit some students to earn post-secondary degrees in three years or less while gaining experience at internships.
UCM President Charles Ambrose said the campus’ goal would be to accelerate degree completion to possibly under four years and assist students by offering student employment, tuition forgiveness and low interest loan programs.
“In addition to building knowledge through their classroom experiences,” UCM spokesperson Jeff Murphy said in an email, “students would have the opportunity to experience a high-impact, real-world environment, where they can develop skills long before they complete their degrees.”
Ambrose traveled to Lee’s Summit to talk with education officials, community members and business leaders about building the campus there Jan. 11. They formed a Lead Facilitators Group which is spearheading the charge to implement the program, possibly with a preliminary set of students by September 2012.
Though no other plans exist for similar endeavors, Nixon said he hopes the UCM model will inspire universities.
By Sami Pathan