Grants help expand Missouri Innovation Campus

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday that The Missouri Innovation Campus will benefit from two grants provided by a national nonprofit group and administered through the state.
The University of Central Missouri will receive a $350,000 grant in support of The MIC initiative and a $100,000 grant to support competency-based education, which also will be applied toward efforts at The MIC, according to a news release.
The grants come from USA Funds, which in 2014 selected Missouri to receive a $1 million grant to expand the state’s Innovation Campus initiative. The initiative was launched in 2012 with the opening of The MIC, a joint effort between UCM,
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Summit Technology Academy, Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, and numerous business partners in the Kanas City metropolitan area.
The $350,000 Innovation Campus grant received by UCM will be applied toward program expansion at The MIC, providing funds for curriculum development, staffing and marketing efforts.
The MIC students who attend the R-7 district’s Summit Technology Academy during their junior and senior years of high school earn their associate degrees from MCC at approximately the same time they receive their high-school diplomas. MIC students also will earn their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years after high school graduation. Additionally, while participating in The MIC, these students are engaged in paid internships that prepare them for technology careers, and allow them to graduate with little to no student debt, according to a news release.
USA Funds also provided Missouri with an additional $1 million grant to provide greater access to competency-based education. UCM’s share of grant funding is $100,000. Missouri State University in Springfield will receive $100,000, and Truman State University in Kirksville will receive a $400,000 competency-based education grant.
“Missouri competency-based education initiatives help students earn quality postsecondary credentials in less time and at less cost, while also preparing them for high-demand occupations,” Anna Gatlin, USA Fund director, state engagement and relations, stated in a news release issued by the governor’s office. “Consistent with USA Funds’ focus on postsecondary education Completion With a Purpose, we are pleased to support these innovative college and career preparation initiatives as models for the state to adopt.”
UCM President Charles Ambrose noted, “UCM and its partners are looking at competency-based education as a way to help accelerate the time it takes for students to complete a degree and reduce the cost of higher education by focusing more on what students actually learn than time spent in a particular course. UCM is currently working with Motivis Learning, Inc., to develop tools needed to incorporate competency-based education at The MIC.”
In addition to Innovation Campus grants awarded to UCM in support of The MIC, the governor announced a grant to Northwest Missouri State University to support the Northland CAPS Innovation Campus, which was the site of his announcement, and a $180,000 financial award for Missouri State University.