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April 25, 2017
Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and Northwest Missouri State University today celebrated the launch of 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.
FastTracks 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.
While being responsive to student needs, the program also is responsive to workforce and economic development needs, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said.
“This gets at the heart of Northwest and MCC as champions,” he said. “We champion student success and, by extension, drive economic development, employer growth and community growth. Metro Community College and Northwest Missouri State University have put together a program that’s real, that we’re going to live, and it’s going to help students in the workforce.”
The institutions submitted their joint proposal for the program to the Missouri Department of Higher Education through a statewide competitive process, and the program was one of three selected by the state this spring.
“I was thrilled to see Northwest and MCC had come together to propose a partnership in this pilot program,” Dr. Zora Mulligan, commissioner for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, said during the ceremony to sign a letter of intent at Northwest Missouri State University-Kansas City. “MCC is an institution that I’ve known, worked with and had a tremendous amount of respect for since my days as the Missouri Community College Association executive director and during my time as commissioner, I’ve certainly come to know and love Northwest and to really respect the way both of these institutions approach their mission. They’re both mission-driven institutions and that really shows in how they approach their work.”
FastTracks 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.
FastTracks 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 really feel that we have a pretty robust pilot that will help meet the needs of students, ensuring that we’re following our missions and strengthening partnerships that have been ongoing for a very long time, and we want to carry on these partnerships,” Carlos Peñaloza, MCC vice chancellor for academic affairs, said. “The goal here is student success, enabling access, reducing barriers and looking at possibilities to continue meeting those needs.”
Students applying to the 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.
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.
For more information about FastTracks, visit http://fasttrackskc.com/.
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.
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.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468