University Named Statewide Winner of 2005 Regional Innovator Award

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 1, 2005 – Southeast Missouri State University has been selected to receive the 2005 Regional Innovator Award for Missouri presented by the Southern Growth Policies Board.

Only 14 award recipients were selected from among more than 200 nominations. Southeast was recognized for its area higher education centers in Kennett, Mo., Malden, Mo., Sikeston, Mo., and Perryville, Mo., as an exemplary initiative in rural development. Southeast will be recognized at the Rising Together: The Summit on the Rural South conference June 12-14 in Point Clear, Ala.

As one of 14 regional innovators, Southeast also will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception hosted by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley on June 12.

The Southern Growth Policies Board, which presents the awards, is a non-partisan public policy think tank based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Formed in 1971 by the governors of 13 southern states plus Puerto Rico, the Southern Growth Policies Board develops and advances visionary economic development policies by providing a forum for partnership and dialog among a diverse cross-section of the region’s governors, legislators, business and academic leaders and the economic- and community-development sectors. This unique public-private partnership is devoted to strengthening the South’s economy and creating the highest possible quality of life.

Southeast officials say the University’s higher education centers improve boost the quality of life in Southeast Missouri by providing access to postsecondary education and adult literacy.

“The presence of these centers not only contributes to quality of life in the communities where they are located and the surrounding area, and to the development of an educated workforce in an area historically short of college-trained workers, but the physical presence of the facilities in these areas is also a positive factor as the rural communities seek to attract new businesses and industries,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

The University established the centers along a 130-mile corridor from Perryville on the north to Kennett on the south. The Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center in Malden opened as a pilot program during the 1987-1988 academic year. The University and the Southeast Missouri University Foundation have mobilized local support for capital improvements and scholarships at the centers, sought limited capital and operating appropriations from the General Assembly and formed partnerships with the region’s only community colleges to deliver instruction at the centers.

The University also established SEE-Net, providing interactive instructional television connections between the main campus in Cape Girardeau and each of the area higher education centers to offers courses to small numbers of students in each center.

As a result of these outreach efforts, about 2,100 students are enrolled each semester for college credit in the four centers, taking courses from the University and from the two participating community colleges.