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Columbia College, MU partner on grad program

Columbia Daily Tribune By Janese Silvey July 3, 2011

The University of Missouri and Columbia College have forged a partnership aimed at helping students in one education program more conveniently fulfill course requirements while pursuing master's degrees at MU.

Starting in August, students in the MU College of Education's career and technical education master's program will be able to use classes in Columbia College's MBA program to meet elective requirements without having to go through cumbersome admissions or transfer processes.

"They didn't have a really large number of electives for their students," said Steve Wiegenstein, associate dean for graduate studies at Columbia College. Anthony Barbis, coordinator for the career and technical education program, "contacted us and wanted to know if we could work something out." Both sides met in December, Wiegenstein said, and compared notes on what their students were like. "It seemed like a good fit," he said.

The partnership, made official on Wednesday, likely will affect a handful of adult students who are seeking specialized degrees online, in most cases. MU doesn't offer a lot of online, stand-alone courses as part of its business program, said George Justice, dean of MU's Graduate School. In the past, students wanting those classes would have to find accredited institutions on their own, then apply and transfer that credit back to MU.

The partnership with Columbia College lets students know up front what courses are approved and be able to transfer those credits back in a "totally no-hassle way," Justice said.

Wiegenstein is hoping the partnership sets the stage for future collaboration with MU and other colleges. "It feels good to cooperate with another institution and sort of set up a framework for future cooperation as well," he said. "Sharing resources and cooperation is the name of the game these days.

"We're really happy to work with the folks over there and are looking forward to continuing the process."