WGU Missouri and Crowder College partner on innovative education model

Saturday, December 5, 2015

NEOSHO, Mo. -- WGU Missouri, the state's online university, and Crowder College in Neosho are collaborating to expand the use of an innovative education model called competency-based education. The model promises far greater flexibility and empowerment for students, especially for adults who already have work experience. Crowder educators and administrators are learning details about CBE from WGU Missouri's parent institution, Western Governors University, which pioneered the model.

CBE measures a student's learning and mastery of information rather than time spent in the classroom, as measured in credit hours. Students progress by demonstrating competence in specific subject areas and work at their own pace, moving quickly through material they already know. The result is a quality education in less time and for less money than many traditional higher education models. WGU Missouri is partnering with community colleges around the state that want to integrate the CBE model into their programs.

"We're excited to share our knowledge as a leader in competency-based education in order to expand its availability," said Angie Besendorfer, chancellor of WGU Missouri. "CBE is critical to WGU's mission to make quality higher education more accessible and affordable, leading to better jobs, better lives and better communities."

"We have many students who've graduated from Crowder College and successfully transferred to WGU to pursue a bachelor's degree," said Dr. Glenn Coltharp, vice president of academic affairs for Crowder College. "Crowder graduates who are now WGU students tell me competency-based education is perfect for non-traditional working students since they can work at their own pace, which fits into their busy lives."

Emily Howarth attended Crowder College and then WGU Missouri where she earned her B.A. in Special Education. She thinks Crowder students will find the CBE courses beneficial.

"I loved the education I received at WGU Missouri," said Howarth. "I've been very prepared going into my first year of teaching. I was hired before I even finished my student teaching. The best part was that I set my own pace. My credits were all accepted when I transferred and I was planning to spend seven terms with WGU Missouri, but I completed the degree in just four terms."

WGU conducts regular webinars and annual conferences for community college leaders, to educate them about the CBE model and teach best practices and practical methods of implementing the format.

About WGU Missouri

WGU Missouri is a competency-based, online university created to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU Missouri faculty members provide one-on-one guidance, support, and instruction.

Established through a partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Missouri is open to all qualified Missouri residents. The university is nonprofit and self-sustaining on flat-rate tuition of about $6,000 per year for most programs.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education .

Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington, D.C., 20036, 202-877-6791).

About Crowder College

Crowder College is a two-year community college, which serves a nine county area in southwest Missouri and prides itself on providing a quality education at an affordable price. Crowder offers more than 80 degree programs, certificates and educational programs, including online courses, which allow students to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. Crowder College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association.

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