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April 07, 2015

Kansas City public hearing on higher education to focus on STEM and health professions

How to increase the number of students earning degrees in science, technology, engineering, math and health professions will be the focus of a public hearing April 10 in Kansas City.

The hearing, hosted by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Community College’s Penn Valley Health and Science Institute. The meeting is the seventh in a series of nine hearings being held across the state to gather information for a new blueprint for higher education in Missouri.

The hearing will include a panel made up of several of the state’s top health care providers and higher education institutions – Metropolitan Community College, Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School in Kansas City; the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing; and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Health Professions. Panel members will discuss the challenges involved in educating health professionals to meet the public’s needs.

A second panel will focus on ways to address the shortage of students studying science, technology, engineering and math. Panelists will include speakers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, the Kansas City STEM Coalition and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“Missouri has a great need for professionals working in STEM and health care fields,” said David Russell, Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education. “We must work to increase the number of students earning degrees in these high-demand areas.”

A third panel will discuss higher education programs offered by proprietary schools – private career and technical schools.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education has appointed a steering committee of 36 experts and thought leaders to assist the board in identifying issues and developing recommendations for the state’s higher education system. The members represent business and industry, education and government. Missouri’s last plan for higher education was adopted in 2008.

The public is invited to testify at the hearing. Public comments also can be posted on the Department of Higher Education’s website at: dhe.mo.gov/blueprintcomments.php.

The committee will wrap up the public hearing schedule in June when it travels to Springfield and Cape Girardeau. For more information about the meetings, visit dhe.mo.gov/documents/PublicHearings.pdf.

The new plan, “Preparing Missourians to Succeed:  A Blueprint for Higher Education,” will be presented to the coordinating board for approval in December.

More information about the public hearing is available at dhe.mo.gov/documents/Hearingagenda-KansasCity.pdf.

For additional information about the development of the plan, visit dhe.mo.gov/blueprint.php