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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nixon commits $100k to redesign degree programs

He made his announcement at a conference in Columbia.

Oct. 29, 2010

Gov. Jay Nixon announced a $100,000 grant to aid Missouri’s universities and colleges with a course redesign study Tuesday at a conference with the state’s top education leaders.

The grant will be financed through state funds with more funds provided through private contributions and the participating universities.

“The governor is committing $100,000 to assist (the universities) with the implementation of the redesign,” Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said. “We fully expect this to be the start of funding from other private sources and the universities.”

The redesign study is intended to make universities evaluate current courses, integrate new technology into undergraduate courses and eliminate low-producing degree programs. According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, low-producing degree programs are defined as programs with fewer than 10 graduates at the undergraduate level (calculated by average over three years), five graduates at the master’s degree level and three graduates at the doctoral level.

According to previous Maneater reports, universities must submit a list to the DHE of low-producing degree programs and reasons for discontinuing these specific programs by Friday. MU has recognized at least 75 programs, most at the graduate level, that meet these conditions.

Despite the state’s budget deficit and potential resistance from Republicans who want to cut state spending, Nixon is determined for this money to be provided to the universities.

“We have certainly faced a number of budget challenges recently but the governor felt it was important that the state shows it has a stake in the course redesign,” Holste said. “The governor is committed to having this from the state budget and is committed to moving forward with it.”

The conference, hosted by the Council on Public Higher Education, provided workshops about ways universities could redesign courses to produce savings and make education more efficient.

"There is a substantial body of research that shows course redesign can not only produce significant savings, but also significant gains in student engagement, learning and performance," Nixon said in a news release about the conference.

Nixon also used the conference to update Missouri educators on his four-step education agenda, which he first spoke about in August. According to the news release, Nixon is asking for “the adoption of a higher education agenda that (focuses) on the areas of attainment; academic program review; cooperation and collaboration; and funding.”

The details of the grant and when the universities will receive the money is still a work in progress, but Nixon hopes the grant will be established in the next few months.

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