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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 8, 2010) – Charles Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri, recently joined other top-level educators in Jefferson City for a panel discussion about higher education issues and insight into how specialized programs can help students obtain two- and four-year degrees that will contribute to a better work force. The panel was part of the Missouri Biotechnology (MOBIO) Association Life Sciences Summit, Nov. 4-5.
Ambrose was invited to participate in the panel with Michael Nietzel, former president of Missouri State University in Springfield who serves as policy advisor on education and workforce development to Governor Jay Nixon, and Joseph A. O’Sullivan, professor and director, Electronic Systems and the Signal Research Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis. The session was moderated by Rose Windmiller, assistant vice chancellor, Government and Community Relations at Washington University. Also attending the conference from UCM is Alice Greife, dean of the College of Science and Technology, who was recently named to the MOBIO Board of Directors.
According to its web site, the MOBIO is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to development and growth of the Missouri biotechnology and biomedical industry. By supporting basic research in the life sciences, development of a highly educated work force and providing a friendly environment for attracting and founding new business, the association intends to make a significant impact on Missouri economic development.
Consistent with this charge, the theme for the panel presentation with Ambrose was “Higher Education-The Path to Job Creation and Economic Growth.” One area of focus was the need for enrolling, retaining, and graduating more students from Missouri’s colleges and universities. This is in light of statistics showing that only 35 percent of Missouri adults ages 24-65 currently hold either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It is estimated that by 2018, nearly 60 percent of the state’s jobs will require a college degree.
According to the panelists, employment, job growth, small business development and a strong technology base are all dependent on human capital, and this begins with college-educated adults. The panelists provided examples of specialized programs that can assist Missouri in improving its economy through education. Ambrose discussed a number of opportunities at UCM that aid in this process, including articulation agreements with institutions such as Metropolitan Community College, State Fair Community College, Johnson County Community College, and Linn State Technical College that will provide a seamless transfer of students from two-year degree programs into four-year programs, particularly in technology areas. He also discussed partnerships that are formed to create education technology teachers in cooperation with MCC.