CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 9, 2011 – The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education has approved the off-site delivery of the bachelor of science degree in psychology at Southeast Missouri State University’s regional campuses in Sikeston, Malden and Kennett, Mo., and at the Perryville Higher Education Center to begin next fall.
The action follows approval by the University’s Board of Regents in October.
“Psychology is a popular major because it leads to many interesting employment opportunities,” said Dr. Leslie Pollina, chair of the Department of Psychology at Southeast. “Students at the regional campuses have been asking for this major for a long time, and it can potentially help fill mental health counseling and other needs in the region. We’re happy to provide an additional opportunity for students in the region, and look forward to a successful program.”
Dr. Ronald Rosati, Southeast provost, said a Fall 2010 Degree Program Interest Survey of current students at Sikeston, Kennett, Malden and Perryville indicated that more than 50 students are interested in pursuing an undergraduate major in psychology.
Rebecca Patterson of Sikeston, Mo., is completing her second year at the Sikeston Campus and intends on enrolling in the new bachelor of science degree in psychology there.
“I am very excited about it,” said Patterson, who eventually hopes to become an adolescent and teen psychologist. “This means I can still work and not drive up to Cape (Girardeau). It will be a lot more convenient.”
Mackenzie Scherer of Bell City, Mo., says, “it will be nice to have classes in one central location.
Scherer, a 2010 graduate of Bell City High School who ultimately plans to attend law school, added the bachelor of science degree program in psychology at Southeast’s Sikeston campus “will be a lot more convenient.”
Initially, Rosati says, the bachelor of science degree in psychology will be offered as a cohort program via interactive television (ITV), with most courses originating from Sikeston. Classes will originate from the other regional campuses periodically throughout the semester, he said. Rosati expects about 25 students will form the first cohort starting in fall 2011, based on initial offering of courses in the major last fall, he said.
Demand and expressed interest from students will likely lead to forming a second cohort of the same size in fall 2012, Rosati said. Based on expected attrition, it is projected there will be 24 students in the program in the second year and 20 in the third and final year, he said.
“How exciting to have an additional four-year degree completion program added to our current list of four-year degrees offered at the Sikeston campus and other regional campuses,” said Judy Buck, director of Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston. “Reviewing enrollment data is an ongoing process so that we may determine the degree completion programs to provide at a regional campus. There have been a growing number of students who have declared psychology as their major and are currently enrolled students at the Sikeston campus and other regional campuses.
“As an educational provider for the Southeast region, we want to meet the needs of our students by providing them with the opportunity to complete their degree closer to home,” Buck added. “With busy schedules, single-parent homes, jobs, higher gas prices, and other responsibilities, we want to provide individuals with the opportunity to attain a degree that they are able to work into their already tight schedules. It enables students to reduce travel time, gas and other expenses, request for more work-release time, possibly child care and other expenses. We will continue to review data to identify the demand for additional degree-completion programs and other courses needed.”
Southeast currently offers nine bachelor’s degrees at the regional campuses. Off-campus courses have been taught at the request of the regional campuses and coordinated through Extended Learning, he said. Psychology and University Studies courses have been taught at all four regional campuses, with face-to-face and ITV as the usual modes of instruction. Rosati said Extended Learning has funded a full-time regular non-tenure track position dedicated to the regional campuses, in addition to other faculty and adjuncts, due to demand for psychology courses at these locations.
Pollina says students should contact advisors or directors at their regional campus if they are interested in the program.
“We have an application and information for them, and they need to complete two prerequisite courses,” she said.
One of the prerequisite courses, “PY103 Career Development in Psychology,” is designed to help students explore their options with a psychology major, and to prepare them for pursuing graduate school or employment possibilities.
Pollina added that Jennifer Gadberry, a faculty member at the Sikeston campus, is also a very good source of information about psychology and career options.