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


The MIC Takes Center Stage for National Convening on Higher Education Innovation

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 8, 2013) –The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) will be the focus for discussions by business, education and government leaders who meet in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 13-14 for the first National Convening on Higher Education Innovation.  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon joins the select group at The Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, to consider ways to transform and re-think outcomes and results for higher education, implement new ways to train skilled workers, and fulfill state and national workforce/economic development needs.

Participants in the convening will consider a topic United States President Barack Obama addressed during his visit to the University of Central Missouri July 24 when he challenged other colleges and universities to pursue initiatives similar to The MIC. UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners launched The MIC in 2012 to help accelerate the time it takes for students to earn a college degree, gain applied experience through paid internships, acquire sought-after skills for high-paying careers, and graduate with no college debt.

“The National Convening on Higher Education Innovation is a tremendous opportunity to assemble leaders who understand post-secondary education, public policy, and the corporate environment to discuss The Missouri Innovation Campus model and take a serious look at its ability to meet state and national education and workforce needs,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “Over a two-day period, we will consider ways to expand The MIC, how to replicate The MIC model nationwide, and look at competency-based assessment tools that can ensure desired student outcomes are achieved. It’s a tremendous privilege to work with Lumina Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the governor’s office to make the convening possible.”

Day one of the convening features a half-day summit that includes specifically discussion about taking The MIC to scale in the Kansas City region so that more students can participate, including those from the urban core. Participants will consider how to take The MIC model to other metropolitan area school districts, how to involve other Kansas City area community colleges, and how to replicate the model in other cities throughout the nation.

The second component of the convening, a technical academy, occurs on day two. This will be a working group focused on bringing competency-based tools across The MIC curriculum to allow students to make a seamless transition from the classroom to the internship components of the current program. All students who are enrolled at The MIC currently participate in paid summer internships with high-tech industries such as Cerner Corp., DST Systems, Burns & McDonnell and other partners in the initiative.

The conference brings to Kansas City a number of influential guest speakers. Among them are Lumina Foundation members, Jamie P. Merisotis, president and CEO, and Dewayne Matthews, vice president for policy and strategy. Lumina’s strategic goals include creating collaborative partnerships to align postsecondary education with workforce needs and creating new higher education business models that significantly expand the nation's capacity to deliver affordable, high-quality education. The nation’s largest private foundation focused exclusively on getting more Americans into and through higher education, Lumina Foundation has provided funding to make the convening possible.

“What University of Central Missouri is doing with its Innovation Campus, especially with its local and regional partners, is very exciting,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “This model has tremendous potential for significantly reducing the time it takes students to earn a degree, decreasing costs, and importantly, linking students to the local labor market. Lumina Foundation is happy to be a part of this effort.”

Also among the speakers is Gov. Nixon, who has been a strong proponent of The MIC and has encouraged related partnerships statewide to create innovative pathways for college degree completion. While signing Missouri House Bill 381 at UCM in July to establish a state fund for innovation campuses, he noted, “The strength of our economy and the future of our state are directly tied to ensuring that higher education remains affordable and provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful in the global marketplace. I anticipate the Innovation Campus initiative could become a model for the rest of the nation.”

The summit luncheon Nov. 13 will feature guest speaker Jim Shelton, acting deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Education. In his current role, he manages a broad range of management, policy and program functions. Previously, he served as head of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, managing a portfolio that included most of the Department’s competitive programs including i3, Promise Neighborhoods, and others focused on teacher and leader quality, school choice and learning technology.

Earlier in his career as program director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shelton managed portfolios ranging from $2 to 3 billion in non-profit investments targeting increased high school and college graduation rates. Shelton has also been the East Coast lead for NewSchools Venture Fund, and co-founded LearnNow, a school management company that later was acquired. After four years in Atlanta of advising CEOs and other executives on issues related to strategy, business development, and organizational design and effectiveness, he left McKinsey & Company as a senior manager. Upon leaving McKinsey, he joined Knowledge Universe, Inc., where he launched, acquired, and operated education-related businesses.

The convening is sponsored by The MIC, the Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Lumina Foundation, and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, community leaders, and local state and national education leaders, and representatives of the White House and U.S. Department of Education will participate in discussions, serve as panelists and guest speakers for the event. To learn more, visit the National Convening on Higher Education Innovation website at Find out more about The Missouri Innovation Campus at