One of the great things about Missouri State-West Plains is that it provides students a quality education close to home, with several associate degrees and certificates offered. Many students pursue their Associate of Arts in General Studies, getting their general education requirements out of the way before transferring to another institution, such as Missouri State-Springfield. But, for those who want to continue their education close to home, Missouri State Outreach exists to let them pursue their bachelor’s, master’s or even select doctoral degrees while staying in West Plains.
“Our students working on their Associate of Arts degree in General Studies and who aim to pursue careers in elementary or middle school education or in business have a huge opportunity in the Outreach Programs to achieve their educational goals while staying close to home and work in our area,” Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Dennis Lancaster said. “Working closely with advisors from Missouri State-Springfield and located in Gohn Hall, associate degree students can design their educational path in such a way by which they can figuratively and, well, literally, step from their courses at Missouri State-West Plains to their major courses from Missouri State-Springfield.”
One of the many great programs being offered is the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. This program also can be extended into the Master of Science in Elementary Education. Introduction to Multicultural Education and Diversity, taught by Dr. Joseph Rugutt, is a class of particular interest to students interested in the bachelor’s degree program, as it serves as an introduction to cultural issues, diversity and related perspectives in effective education in a global society.
The Missouri State Outreach Program offers more than just degrees in education and business, though. Students have 15 different degree options on the West Plains campus and two more on the Mountain Grove campus. Getting started and staying close to home has never been easier.
“We have the benefit of attending an education program that offers a very personal experience. Larger universities may have a class of 300 students while our cohorts have less than 20,” former Outreach Program student Ashley Howell said. “You have the opportunity to get to know your instructors personally, and they can be one of the biggest assets to your education and future career.”
There are many reasons to stay at Missouri State-West Plains.
Whether it’s job or family obligations, or simply not wanting to move or drive two hours to Springfield every day, there are plenty of reasons to want to stay local to pursue a four-year degree. One of those is retaining the benefits of the West Plains campus while still officially being a Missouri State-Springfield students, said Regional Outreach Administrator Deanna Smith.
Students also retain the smaller class sizes and personalized attention from faculty and staff. In addition, Outreach students still have access to the West Plains Civic Center facilities and the Garnett and West Plains Public Libraries, and they can opt to self-pay the professional services fee to aid with medical care.
“I chose to join the Outreach Program because of its location. Attending the Outreach Program allowed me the opportunity to stay in my hometown and work with local schools,” Howell continued. “The West Plains campus was a very helpful transition between campuses, even going as far as having an after-graduation get-together for the students who were transitioning to the Springfield campus.”
Is the Missouri State Outreach Program at West Plains right for me?
While the normal process of ending an associate’s degree program and transferring to a different school for a bachelor’s degree can be quite difficult, the staff at Missouri State University-West Plains makes it easier than ever to transition into Outreach programs. Their expertise in dealing with the complicated logistics of dual enrollment, financial aid and transcripts makes the transition virtually seamless.
“A significant benefit of being an associate degree-seeking student at Missouri State-West Plains who’s working closely with advisors in Gohn Hall is to plan how their financial aid will cover courses from both campuses,” Lancaster said. “It’s possible for a student to be enrolled as both a West Plains student and a Springfield student, and that includes receiving financial assistance. Careful planning and coordination is needed for this, but it’s something our financial aid personnel work with every day.”
For more information about the Missouri State Outreach Program, visit the program’s Facebook page.