Crowder College added another program to its list of partnerships on Tuesday, when college officials inked an agreement with Central Methodist University, making selected CMU degrees available to Crowder students.

Beginning in the fall, Crowder students will be able to complete a bachelor's degree from CMU in nursing, accounting, business and applied behavior analysis, all without leaving Neosho's Crowder campus.

The CMU courses will be available online, and Crowder students' credits should be able to transition smoothly into the university's degrees.

"This is a win-win opportunity for Crowder College, Central Methodist University, and most importantly, for our students," said Glenn Coltharp, Crowder's Vice President of Academic Affairs. "The students will be able to go to school here, start taking classes, working on a bachelor's degree with a university and get a quality program."
Coltharp praised CMU's distance learning program, saying that he expects it to expand to students throughout the region and beyond.

Rita Gulstad, Central Methodist's Vice President and Dean, said a goal of the university is to offer students a variety of opportunities to receive an education.

"This is about and for the students," Gulstad said. "Today, students need more than just traditional, daytime opportunities. They need evenings, weekends, online, blended, short-term, long-term, it really needs to be about providing educational opportunities however and wherever we can."

Of the four-year degrees being offered in the partnership, the applied behavior analysis program, which focuses on working with individuals on the autism spectrum, is the newest, having just been created as part of the collaboration.

Coltharp said while Crowder College had already offered an associate's degree in applied behavior analysis, CMU and Crowder joined together to form the four-year program.

Kent Farnsworth, interim president at Crowder, said the collaboration between the college and the university is unique, specifically in the area of the applied behavior analysis degree.

"I'm also impressed by how well put together this collaboration has been," Farnsworth said. "It's really different than many collaborations. The two institutions have in many ways melded this degree together in a way that's unusual for two institutions."

Amy Rand, Crowder's associate vice president of academic affairs, said Central Methodist University tuition rates would apply to students enrolling in the university's courses.

Crowder College has already joined in a partnership with Missouri State University, allowing students to complete some four-year degrees at Crowder's campus.

Crowder also entered into an agreement last fall with Missouri Southern State University, allowing students to take classes toward a business degree at the Neosho campus.

Central Methodist University, located in Fayette, has an enrollment nearly the same as Crowder's, with a fall 2012 enrollment of 5,600 students, while Crowder reported 5,590 students for that semester.