Metropolitan Community College and Northwest Missouri State University will launch a pilot program in Fall 2017 that, through a concurrent enrollment model, meets a joint goal of increasing the number of students completing associate and bachelor’s degrees in an accelerated format.
The partnership will provide students with an opportunity to complete both an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in four years or less while allowing the two institutions to develop a more seamless transfer process and remove challenges that add time and cost to degree completion.
The institutions submitted their joint proposal to the Missouri Department of Higher Education through a statewide competitive process, and the program was one of three selected by the state.
“This is an innovative enrollment approach that will emphasize profession-based learning at a reduced cost and shortened timeline, getting students into the workforce more quickly and with a greater level of academic and practical experience,” Northwest Provost Dr. Timothy Mottet said.
For Northwest, Mottet said, the program aligns with completion programs at Northwest-Kansas City and builds on synergies with the Northland Innovation Center in Gladstone, Missouri, where the University will offer four programs – in education, business management, communication and public relations, and applied health science – under the pilot.
The partnership also extends a collaborative relationship the institutions have enjoyed for several years. Recent initiatives include a partnership involving Northwest, MCC, seven school districts in the North Kansas City region and Missouri-based businesses to offer the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (Northland CAPS) program, which provides profession-based education experiences to high school students. The institutions also offer dual credit coursework.
“We are fortunate to be able to continue our strategic partnership with Northwest Missouri State in such a unique and exciting way,” MCC Chancellor Mark James said. “This partnership provides both of our colleges the opportunity to show how innovative measures like concurrent enrollment can lay the groundwork for an even greater success rate for our students. Metropolitan Community College is honored to help blaze the trail from MCC to Bearcat country as we help future graduates save time and money.”
About the pilot program
Students applying to the pilot program must meet Northwest’s admissions requirements; those who do not will be tentatively accepted and allowed to enroll in specified courses within their pathway until they complete at least 24 hours of coursework from MCC and Northwest with a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade-point average. Students will be automatically granted full admission to Northwest after meeting all requirements.
Students will enroll in one of four degree programs in education (elementary, special education, early childhood), business management, communication and public relations, or applied health science in preparation for professional careers in one of those fields.
They will participate in a single orientation process to get acquainted with both institutions. They will work closely with an advisor for the duration of their program and be encouraged to work with a career coach. Additionally, students will be required to participate in a profession-based, credit-earning learning experience – such as an internship or practicum.
Students will be enrolled as full-time students, taking at least one course per semester with Northwest during the first two years of their program. Students will pay MCC tuition and fees during the first four semesters and Northwest tuition and fees during the final semesters. MCC and Northwest will work together to provide students a seamless application process without additional fees, and financial aid will be managed between the two institutions.
MCC will provide Northwest students with student support services that are not available at Northwest-Kansas City. In alignment with Northwest’s laptop and textbook rental programs, students enrolled in the program also will be provided with laptop computers and textbooks for Northwest courses.
“Metropolitan Community College takes great pride in being a transfer expert, helping students navigate educational success beyond our classrooms,” Carlos Peñaloza, MCC vice chancellor for academic affairs, said. “Our enhanced partnership with Northwest Missouri State means the successful transfer of students between our colleges can only be accelerated, as we work together to streamline the pathway for each individual student.”
MCC and Northwest will assess the program’s effectiveness by measuring students’ cost savings, retention rates, completion rates and career placement. If the pilot is successful, MCC and Northwest will seek to expand the program to include more profession-based academic majors that may be completed in an accelerated format. The institutions plan to build on the program and continue fostering seamless transfer and maximizing dual credit with area high schools.
“As the partnership between Northwest and MCC grows and develops new initiatives, the real winners are the Kansas City-area students,” Dr. Terry Barmann, director of Northwest-Kansas City. “Quality education embedded with workforce experience, seamless transfer between institutions and career path advising from day one gives KC area students a great opportunity for success in their chosen careers.”
About Northwest Missouri State University
Founded in 1905, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its flagship Maryville campus as well as a new Kansas City location and in St. Joseph. Northwest’s offers a vibrant and diverse learning community of more than 6,500 students and places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. For more information about Northwest, visit www.nwmissouri.edu.
About Metropolitan Community College
Metropolitan Community College is Kansas City’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, with 2016-17 marking its 102nd academic year. The college was founded in 1915 as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute and became known as the Junior College of Kansas City in 1919. Its five campuses — MCC-Blue River, MCC-Business & Technology, MCC-Longview, MCC-Maple Woods and MCC-Penn Valley — educate more than 30,000 students annually through credit and noncredit courses and business services. For more information, visit www.mcckc.edu.