TRCC objects to Southeast's plan for new associate degrees

By Tyler Profilet - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The head of Three Rivers Community College issued a statement blasting a plan by Southeast Missouri State University to start offering associate degrees.

The college wants the state to step in to prevent it.

Three Rivers President Dr. Devin Stephenson says he can't understand why Southeast would want to offer associate degrees.

In a press release, Stephenson says, "We were surprised and are deeply concerned that Southeast Missouri State University intends to seek approval to offer associate of arts degrees in Sikeston, Kennett, and Malden."

"There is current public policy in Missouri that indicated two-year institutions, like Three Rivers Community College, should be the primary providers of lower-division certificates and associate degrees, and we hope that public policy makers will abide by that policy."

The state board of higher education must approve Southeast's application to award associate of arts degrees, and Southeast Board of Regents Vice President Al Spradling says giving out associate degrees is a no brainer for the university.

"We're already teaching the courses now that allow you to obtain an associate of arts degree without actually giving that student the degree once he or she complete their class work. So it's a natural progression," he said.

SEMO has not officially sent in a proposal to the Department of Higher Education, but Spradling says that may happen within the next 60 to 90 days.

The state will then make a ruling after getting public feedback.

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