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April 07, 2015

St. Joseph public hearing to focus on career education, technology needs, options for earning a degree

Changes in the way students are earning college degrees, including online courses, competency-based education and innovation campus programs, will be the focus of a public hearing April 9 in St. Joseph.

The hearing, hosted by Missouri’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education, will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Heartland Foundation’s emPowerU facility. The meeting is the sixth in a series of nine hearings being held throughout the state to gather information for a new blueprint for higher education in Missouri.

A panel of education leaders will discuss the changing ways higher education is being delivered across the state.  Online degree programs, competency-based education that allows students to learn at their own pace, and innovation campuses that enable students to earn college credit and work experience while still in high school, are providing more options for higher education than ever before.

“To move forward, higher education must evolve to meet the needs of students and the workplace,” said David Russell, Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education. “Developing new ways to provide postsecondary education will give more Missourians an opportunity to achieve their higher education goals.”

The hearing also will include a panel discussion about the technology infrastructure necessary to support the educational needs of students and the ability of colleges and universities to deliver quality programs to every community in Missouri. A third panel will look at the changes occurring in career and technical education to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

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

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

Future public hearings are planned for April 10 in Kansas City, June 3 in Springfield and June 4 in 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 in St. Joseph is available at dhe.mo.gov/documents/Hearingagenda-St.Joseph.pdf.

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