Regents Approve Off-Campus Graduate Program in Counseling

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 19, 2003 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents has approved a proposal to offer an off-campus graduate program in counseling.

University officials say an increase in demand led to the proposal for the new program, which will be offered in cooperation with Three Rivers Community College and Southeast’s higher education centers. The program allows about 20 new counselors to be trained in the southern service region every three years.

“We are currently offering the initial courses needed for the degree at the Kennett Area Higher Education Center,” said Dr. I. Sue Shepard, professor of educational administration and interim dean of the College of Education. “Now we can offer a degree program to these students,” she said.

A second group of students is already being recruited for the new program in Poplar Bluff, Mo., and it may be offered at other locations in the future, if a viable group of students is identified, University officials say.

“The off-campus graduate program in counseling will provide an excellent opportunity that many people who live in outlying areas would not otherwise have to continue their education,” said Dr. Verl Pope, associate professor of counseling.

The program is being made available off-campus in order to help fill the critical need, as determined by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, for school counselors. Southeast has already addressed this need by implementing a counselor transition program, supporting provisional certificates for school counselors and by offering counseling courses at several locations. University officials say the number of courses offered off-campus has continued to grow as more students demonstrate a need for them.

Based on current demand, approximately 20 students are expected to seek admission into the new off-campus counseling program. The program’s enrollment figures are expected to stay at a similar level for the next five years. Students who graduate from the program will receive a master of arts degree in community counseling or school counseling from Southeast.

The cost of offering the program is projected to be $23,066 for the first year, rising to $50,192 by the fifth year of the program. Revenues of $59,940 are anticipated for the first year, rising to $72,857 by the fifth year of the program.