Programs Approved by Missouri Southern State University’s Board of Governors

Image Credit: Curtis Almeter, Missouri Southern State University

(Joplin, MO) –  The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) approved the creation of two new academic programs during a meeting Wednesday, June 16.

The Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and Master of Arts in Teaching programs joined the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre, which was approved at the previous meeting.

Curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences is designed for entry into professional programs for students in the following pre-professional fields: dental, medical/physician’s assistant, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Demand for doctors in these areas is projected to continue to grow for the next five to ten years.

“Traditionally, our Bachelor of Science degree was very broad, and encompassed everything from genetics and microbiology, to conservation, to our biomedical sciences,” said Dr. Jason Willand, chair of the Biology and Environmental Health Department. “A lot of our students had to take extra coursework to meet the requirements for some of the professional programs. With this proposed biomedical science degree, it’s streamlining the process so that students are not having to take all of this extra coursework to meet prerequisites.”

Dr. Susan Craig, chair of the Teacher Education Department, outlined the Master of Arts in Teaching Degree. The graduate-level, alternative certification program is for students holding a bachelor’s degree, but did not complete a traditional teacher education program. The cohort-style program can be completed in two years, and it will allow participants to student teach while completing the program.

The new Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre program was reviewed by Dr. David Sharlow, interim chair of the Music Department. Undergraduate students seeking a career in musical theatre will be able to study with professionals in both the theatre and music departments, preparing them to pursue a variety of options in theatre performance or to pursue a terminal degree, such as the Masters of Fine Arts.

All three degree programs are awaiting approval by the Higher Learning Commission and the Missouri Department of Education and Workforce Development.

In other business:

  • The board learned that the Nursing Department has received approval from the Missouri State Board of Nursing to begin the application cycle for the Fall 2021 semester. The department had worked for the last year to meet the board’s recommendations in order to lift the moratorium on admissions. In their review, the state board also approved new curriculum and a two-year plan of correction which will continue to strengthen Missouri Southern’s BSN program.
  • The board adopted an $82.7 million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022. State appropriations reflect a 3.7 percent increase over the prior year.
  • Officers were elected for the coming year. Alison Hershewe was re-elected to serve as chair of the Board of Governors, while Anita Oplotnik will continue to serve as vice-chair. Laura Boyd and Linda Eis were reappointed to serve as board secretary and treasurer, respectively.


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