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Aug. 30, 2013
Northwest Missouri State University is one of two four-year higher education institutions in the state selected to participate in the Missouri Completion Academy, an intensive two-day workshop to support internal planning and share best practices, Sept. 10-11 in St. Louis.
The academy will provide Northwest, along with Southeast Missouri State University, and their leaders with strategic planning support as they work toward large-scale, high-impact strategies to improve degree completion on their campuses. A selection of community colleges also will participate.
Organized by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the academy is supported in part by funding from Complete College America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to working with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.
“The Missouri Completion Academy will be a valuable tool to help the state increase the number of citizens with a postsecondary degree or high quality certificate,” said Dr. David Russell, commissioner of higher education in Missouri.
During the academy, teams of faculty and staff members will discuss topics such as reducing the time to degree completion, tackling developmental education and implementing flexible strategies for ensuring student success. The academy will draw upon the experiences of Complete College America’s experts and facilitators to assist the campus teams.
Northwest Provost Dr. Doug Dunham said the workshop will help the University leadership continue discussions about how Northwest may increase its retention, progression and completion rates. Dunham said Northwest hopes to further explore block scheduling; schedules, degree plans and policies that encourage students to complete at least 15 hours per trimester to enhance their progression toward a degree; and strengthen messaging about the importance of general education courses.
“The goal is to develop new strategies that will increase our retention and completion rates while maintaining high educational standards,” Dunham said.
Northwest was selected to participate in the academy after submitting a campus self-assessment aimed at identifying college completion challenges and finding solutions to implement change. In its self-assessment, Northwest noted several completion strategies it has employed that include reverse transfer and articulation agreements with community colleges throughout the state; converting face-to-face courses to summer online courses to help students complete their degrees faster; a sophisticated academic support network of supplemental instructors, tutors, mentors and workshops; and requiring students to meet with academic advisors. Northwest also is in the process of establishing a strategic enrollment strategy and identifying performance indicators that will inform its enrollment and completion goals.
Northwest representatives joining Dunham for the academy are Bev Schenkel, dean of enrollment management; Joan Schneider, director of career services; Brad Landhuis, assistant director of student advisement; Dr. Jim Eiswert, chair of the Faculty Senate Committee for Designated Curricular Matters; Dr. Steve Ludwig, chair of the Department of Business; Dr. Leslie Galbreath, dean of academic and library services; and Kat Falke, academic advisor.
At the conclusion of the academy, the Northwest team will have completed a written action plan and continue their work in subsequent months by discussing the University’s progress in implementing its action plan.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468