The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 1, 2014

MSSU report prioritizes programs

German degree offering could be cut, but nursing, career services could see additional support

JOPLIN, Mo. — When Hamad Al Jarah arrived to study at Missouri Southern State University from his native Saudi Arabia nearly two years ago, he spoke and understood little English.

But he progressed quickly and even earned last year’s Outstanding Graduate Award from the university’s International English Program, which helps non-native speakers learn the language before they enroll in regular MSSU courses.

“I improved my English; now I have full academic classes,” said Al Jarah, who plans to study at MSSU to become a paramedic. “It (the program) is very helpful, and they have good technique with students.”

The program is one of several at MSSU that has been identified by a campus task force as deserving of more resources as part of an ongoing effort to assess all university programs for efficiency, demand and value.

The effort has also identified nearly a dozen other programs that could be eliminated because of high cost, low demand or inefficiency.

The effort, which has been called “program prioritization,” was authorized by the Board of Governors in August 2012 as a means to better allocate resources. A 12-person task force spent half a year reviewing 126 academic and non-academic programs and evaluating them in five categories: their mission, vision or values; their demand, both internal and external; their quality; their costs and revenues; and their potential.

The resulting 140-page report that was recently released to the larger campus community places each program in one of three categories: programs that should be given additional resources because of high demand; programs that are adequate and should be maintained; and programs that should be restructured or eliminated based on enrollment or inefficiency.

Those involved with the analysis said the report is not the final authority on any program’s fate.

“This is not meant to be some definitive work that would be a directive,” said Crystal Lemmons, assistant vice president for academic affairs and task force chairwoman. “It’s really meant to be a recommendation. It’s meant to be considered not only by the department, but also by mid- and higher-level administration in terms of what we can do that’s more productive or more efficient.”

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