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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Hartzler Touts MIC as 'Exemplary Model' for Providing Real-world Experience, Reducing Educational Cost, Helping Meet Workforce Needs

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 11, 2017) – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler this week touted The Missouri Innovation (MIC) campus as an “exemplary model for Missouri and the rest of the country” because of its focus on accelerated college degrees, reducing student debt and providing paid internships that help students to  become more competitive  in today’s job market. She learned more about this nationally known program while also visiting the new facility in which it is housed as part of a University of Central Missouri tour that covered UCM’s educational opportunities in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg.

Hartzler at MIC

Harrisen Childs, right, a junior from Lee’s Summit High School, discusses computing with Vicky Hartzler, representative of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District, during a visit to The Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit Oct. 9. With the Congresswoman were, from left, Isabell Dinsmore, a Lee’s Summit High School junior enrolled in the The MIC program; Jeremy Bonnesen, assistant principal for Summit Technology Academy in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District; and Charles Ambrose, UCM president.

Hartzler, representative of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District and a UCM alumna, visited her alma mater Monday, Oct. 9. Her trip began with a tour of the Wilson C. Morris Science Building on the Warrensburg campus, where an $18 million renovation was completed earlier this summer. Her visit continued in the Ward Edwards Building, where she met with students involved in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies’ Integrative Business Experience (IBE) program. Then it was on to Lee’s Summit where she participated in The MIC building tour led by Charles Ambrose, UCM president; Jeremy Bonnesen, assistant principal for Summit Technology Academy in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District; and Isabelle Dinsmore, a junior from Lee’s Summit High School who is enrolled in The MIC program.

The MIC building opened in August and is joint initiative of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the university. Covering 135,000 square feet, this state-of-the-art facility is the result of a K-16 partnership unlike anything else in the nation, with the university and school district sharing building construction and operating costs while putting public high school students and college students under the same roof.

 The new building also is home for The Missouri Innovation Campus program, which is reshaping the way students experience education; Summit Technology Academy (STA), a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences; and UCM-Lee’s Summit, the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students.

Through the MIC program, students begin their junior year of high school while attending Summit Technology Academy. By approximately the same time they earn a high-school diploma, they will have completed an associate degree from Metropolitan Community College, and can finish their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years later. The MIC also involves the collaboration of about 50 business partners from the Kansas City metropolitan area who provide student internships that help reduce the overall cost of a college education and bridge the skills gap needed in today’s workforce.

“This is my first visit to the MIC,” Hartzler said. “It is amazing. It’s not only a beautiful facility, but the professors have had the opportunity to give input into how they want to position a classroom in conjunction with business partners, which is so critical. Students have the opportunity to come here and not only gain the education they need in areas that are of demand in our society, whether it is health sciences or computer technology, but they also are able to have a three-year paid internship working with the same company, developing the skills that they need to be hired at the end. Plus, they graduate with a college degree only two years out of school, having had three years of paid internships, and most of them have no or very little debt.

 “So, it is a wonderful model,” she added, “something we should be so proud of in this community, and something I hope will be replicated in other parts of the country.”

Hartzler believes that partners in the MIC program and building initiative are building upon experiences that will benefit other educational institutions that want to engage in similar collaborations. She noted that The MIC leadership and educators can provide an inspiration to others, while also sharing lessons learned from their experiences.

Talking about the Warrensburg campus, she expressed her appreciation for the work that is taking place to provide UCM students with real-world learning opportunities. This includes the IBE program.

“The students in IBE I visited with were so very, very impressive and enthusiastic about the experience they’ve had,” Hartzler said. “I was very impressed as a former teacher and also as a legislator to see how they actually get together to run a business.”

Students involved in IBE form teams and establish their own companies. In one semester, they secure a bank loan to give them start-up capital, they devise a product and marketing plan, and then are challenged to pay off their loan with money they raise in product sales. Profits are then donated to non-profit organizations to benefit the community or state, and students also participate in community service projects.

“I was very encouraged to hear that for every year they have done this, they have made their benchmarks, They have been able to succeed in such a way that they have paid off their loans, and the community has benefitted as a result. The students, most importantly, have benefitted because they are leaving now with world experience in how to run a business.”

  Related to her tour of the W.C. Morris Science Building, Hartzler was pleased with the pride educators who work in the building took, not only in the renovations, but in playing a role in helping to design classrooms to benefit student learning. She said the state of Missouri is benefiting from this improved facility.

“I think it was a great investment on the part of taxpayers because, in this country, we need more scientists and more people who have the abilities and skills they are learning in this new facility to help us in the job market and to go out and be competitive in the world,” Hartzler said.