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MU Partners with Metropolitan Community College to Advance Education Opportunities for Veterinary Technologists and Nurses
Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Mark James (right) and University of Missouri Provost Brian Foster shake hands after each sign articulation agreements between the two academic institutions. Looking on are deans of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and College of Veterinary Medicine, Judith Miller and Neil Olson.

Earning a bachelor’s degree is now more convenient for Kansas City area residents interested in nursing or veterinary science, thanks to two transfer agreements finalized today by officials from the University of Missouri and Metropolitan Community College.

The agreements, signed during a ceremony held at Metropolitan Community College, allow students who have earned an associate’s degree in applied sciences in either veterinary technology or nursing at MCC to take online courses to pursue a bachelor’s degree from MU.

The seamless degree plans, also called two-plus-two, referring to the two years spent at MCC followed by two years of online studies through MU, offer a number of advantages. Students benefit from the lower tuition costs at MCC, thereby allowing them to take additional online classes at MU. The program also allows students to pursue a degree from MU while remaining in the Kansas City area and continuing to work in their field while completing their degree.

The veterinary degree plan allows students to move from earning an A.A.S. in veterinary technology to an online bachelor of general studies with credit hours earned in veterinary technology, biomedical science, and behavioral science or American studies, as well as general education requirements and electives. The plan is the first of its kind in Missouri, said C.B. Chastain, director of undergraduate biomedical sciences education at MU.

“It seems particularly appropriate that MCC, the first veterinary technology program in Missouri, be the first partner with Missouri’s only College of Veterinary Medicine in providing an online path for veterinary technicians to obtain a bachelor’s degree,” said Chastain. “It is our hope that this opportunity will enable veterinary technicians in the workforce to remain in the workforce, minimize their educational expenses and advance in their career to become leaders in veterinary biomedical technology.”

The growth of the Kansas-Missouri Animal Health Corridor that encompasses an area from Manhattan, Kan., to Columbia, Mo., is spurring the need for more people qualified to work in the veterinary medical industry, according to Neil C. Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at MU.

“Growing and developing a talented workforce to more effectively serve the needs of veterinarians and animal-health companies is absolutely essential to a vibrant regional economy,” Olson said. “This online veterinary technology program, offered by MU in partnership with MCC, will provide an opportunity for our graduates in veterinary technology to not only grow professionally but also provide their employers with requisite skill sets that are necessary to function in a high technology environment.”

The second articulation agreement comprises a nursing degree plan that allows students to move from earning an A.A.S. in nursing, or an RN, to an online bachelor of science in nursing, or a BSN.

“This partnership between MU and MCC is unique because it employs distance learning technology to make the pursuit of a BSN more convenient in Greater Kansas City,” said Paul Long, vice chancellor for academic affairs and technology at MCC. “By educating more bachelor’s degree-level nurses, we expect this stackable degree plan to help alleviate shortages of skilled health care workers in our area.”

After earning a BSN from MU, students are also qualified to apply for admission to MU’s online graduate programs to earn a master’s, PhD or DNP.

“The MU Sinclair School of Nursing is committed to addressing the shortage of bachelor’s and graduate-prepared nurses in the state by offering online access to these degrees,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “We are advocates for nurses attaining higher levels of education while residing with their families and working in their home communities.”

MU is dedicated to creating “One Mizzou,” a seamless system of high-quality courses and degrees delivered through innovative and flexible instructional delivery systems that serve the needs of all citizens of Missouri. Likewise, MCC is committed to preparing students for continued pursuit of higher education and creating opportunities that ease the transition to four-year universities.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012