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In the early 1990's, Dr. Dean Hubbard, then President of Northwest Missouri State University, first introduced the idea and vision of an academic program designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of the best and brightest students of Missouri. Between 1990 and 1995, Dr. Hubbard met with the Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Higher Education and members of the Missouri legislature in an effort to garner support for the idea of such an academy located at Northwest Missouri State University.
In 1995, the Missouri legislature passed a law (SB/HB 340) that injected additional funding to Missouri's public higher education institutions. Northwest Missouri State University elected to use some of this money (dubbed Mission Enhancement) to fund the creation of the Missouri Academy. Additional funding would come from DESE through individual student's ADA (average daily attendance) funding that would follow the student enrolling at the Missouri Academy. Thus, about 90% of the Missouri Academy funding comes from Northwest Missouri State University while about 10% comes from DESE through ADA funding. In August 2000, the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing opened its doors to 41 bright high school juniors from around the state of Missouri.
The Missouri Academy is a two-year, early-college, residential program for high-performing and high-ability students especially in science and mathematics. The program enrolls young scholars from different ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds seeking more challenging academic experiences in a college/university setting. During the first six years (2000-2006), Missouri Academy students originated from all over the state of Missouri -- both rural and urban. Beginning in 2007, the Missouri Academy student population included students from surrounding states and abroad.
Typically, students apply for admission to the Missouri Academy during 10th grade in their traditional high school. Upon admission, students are enrolled in a curriculum consisting of all university coursework taught by Northwest Missouri State University professors. Missouri Academy students attend classes together with traditional university students, and professors have the same high expectations of them as they do for traditional university students. Students who complete this program receive an Associate of Science degree and a high school diploma, simultaneously.
Since its inception, this program has been extremely successful. It is one of only eight such programs (publicly funded, residential, early-entrance-to-college program) in the USA and the only one in Missouri. The goal of this program is to provide a strong foundational education in science and mathematics to capable students with career aspirations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields). These students will succeed in any higher education institution and in any discipline of their choice.
The Missouri Academy is an institutional member of the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST) and a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Early Entrance-to-College Programs (AAEECP) which strives to improve knowledge sharing and practices among and between early entrance-to-college programs.