Crowder builds partnerships with universities to help students succeed

By Logan Stark
Co-editor (Fall 2012)

Four years ago, Shelly Yang, business major, moved down to Missouri from Appleton, Wis., a city a little southwest of Green Bay. “Go Packers,” said Yang with a smile. The only thing that she misses from her Wiss home is the snow—skiing, snowboarding and having actual snow instead of Mo. ice storms.

“It’s funny how schools here cancel school, when there’s not even enough snow on the ground to make a snowman,” said Yang, finding it amusing what Mo. does when it actually receives snow.

Yang knew that “you can’t get anywhere without an education.” But until her divorce that ended an eight year marriage, leaving Yang a single mother of two kids (Savina and Sabastian), Yang had never had the money nor the support for college.

When her marriage ended, Yang moved down to Mo. to be closer to her parents, who wanted to help her out and get the education that she desired. From her relatives, Yang heard about a “nice” school that was cheap, and close to her new home in Stark City—Crowder College.

Yang started Crowder in Aug. 2009, and graduated in Dec. 2011. Wanting to continue in her education and acquire a bachelors in general business administrative, Yang decided to be a part of one of Crowder’s university partnerships, acquiring college credit from Missouri State University (MSU) from taking classes on the Crowder campus.

“I would recommend it, just because it’s convenient,” said Yang.

Yang found this arrangement to be fitting. She got to stay close to home, keep instructors who she could ask questions and stay in small-sized classrooms. “It works out nice,” said Yang.

Yang even got to save some money, from not having to drive up to Springfield. “Gas is expensive,” stated Yang.

So, what are university partnerships?

There are three types of partnerships:

Articulation Agreements
“Articulation agreements are designed to build strong partnerships between community colleges and four-year institutions,” according to also says, “The partnership becomes a binding agreement between a two-year and four-year institution. The agreement outlines specific courses and letter grades completed at the community college that will transfer to the university. They help students begin more defined curriculums.”

According to Dr. Glenn Coltharp, Vice-President of Academic Affairs, articulation agreements are the most common partnerships between Crowder and other universities. A student will attend Crowder for two years, and then transfer to another university that Crowder has an agreement with.

The university will look at the student’s transcript, his major and see what Crowder classes fill the role of the classes that the student needs to take for his degree. And if Crowder has an articulation agreement with the university, then the student’s classes/hours that he has taken at Crowder will transfer much more smoothly than a university that Crowder does not have an agreement with, says Dr. Coltharp.

Usually, a four-year university contacts Crowder to make an articulation agreement; however, either side can approach each other to make the arrangements, stated Dr. Coltharp. He also said that the more students that attend Crowder, the more universities that want to work with Crowder.

“More students means more business [more potential students for their campuses],” said Dr. Coltharp.

Crowder wants to help as many of its students as possible, informed Dr. Coltharp. He also stated that if a student wants to go to a college that has no articulation agreement between them and Crowder, to let Crowder know so that they can make one. Crowder wants to make more agreements to help their students transfer “as easy as possible,” stated Dr. Coltharp.

Courses on Campus
Another type of partnership between Crowder and other universities, is a student’s ability to take classes for a university on the Crowder campus, such as Yang acquiring credit hours for MSU while still attending classes at Crowder. It makes it easier for students to get a degree, without having to travel to a farther campus, informed Dr. Coltharp.

What a university will do after a student has received her associates at Crowder, is look at her transcript and classes that she has taken, and see what classes that she still needs to take. They will then try to hand the student a “one sheet piece of paper plan to graduate,” said Dr. Coltharp.

According to Dr. Coltharp, experts at other universities will sit down with the degree, and review what classes Crowder requires for the degree, and what classes that they require for the degree. In additionally, they do not just look at the class names when deciding what classes that the student will still need to take/ what classes at Crowder count for college credit for their classes, but also at: course description, goals and objectives in the class and sometimes the syllabus. They review all of this, so that a student will not have to repeat courses while trying to earn a bachelors. They “try to take out hurdles for you,” said Dr. Coltharp.

Here at Crowder, students can take classes for teacher education, agriculture and business for bachelor degrees from MSU. Also, starting fall of 2013, a student can acquire a social worker degree from MSU through attending classes at Crowder, informed Dr. Coltharp.

According to Dr. Larry Nichols, Missouri State University Outreach Coordinator, MSU is planning to expand its bachelor’s degree completions program through Crowder in elementary education to Cassville for the fall of 2012 semester.

“Since 2007, we have been allowing students in Neosho to complete a degree that leads to elementary certification as well as middle school certification in various areas. This fall, we hope to begin our first cohort of students who will meet on the Crowder Cassville campus,” wrote Dr. Nichols.

He also added, “Courses will be delivered through an innovative mix of in-person, videoconference and online instruction. The program includes four semesters of coursework and one semester of student teaching in a local school. Our intent is to offer courses at times most convenient to students that will allow them plenty of time for part-time employment, practicum experiences in the classroom and time with their families.”

“If we can assemble a group of at least four to five students for fall, we will be able to begin offering courses in Cassville,” wrote Dr. Nichols. “If you are interested, please contact Patsy Garner, Crowder’s Teacher Education Coordinator and the advisor for our MSU education students. She can be reached at or 417-455-5842.”

In addition to this, after Christmas 2012, Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) will be offering a business bachelor through Crowder. There will be a ceremony on Oct. 11 for the signing of the agreement. “It’s already been signed, but that’s the date of the ceremony,” said Dr. Coltharp.

Usually, universities make this type of partnership for big degrees, such as “business, education, nursing and maybe criminal justice,” said Dr. Coltharp. He also said that the more students there are in the community college, the more degrees that a university may open up to this type of partnership.

The last type of partnership between a community college and a university is performing research together. According to Dr. Coltharp, Crowder’s MARET (Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology) Center and Pittsburg University (Pitt. State) are working together to research alternative energy.


The universities that have the most activities with Crowder are: Pitt State, MSU, MSSU, University of Arkansas and Central Methodist University. According to Dr. Coltharp, these universities are the ones that Crowder talks to the most.

When asked how long Crowder has been making partnerships with universities, Dr. Coltharp replied, “Years. I would say looking back in the files, I thinks it’s safe to say 20 years.”

These partnerships have also been, “Very successful,” said Dr. Coltharp. “The way we measure success, we ask ‘do these partnerships help our students?’ If our students succeed here [Crowder] and then get a bachelors, there’s success. A college’s success depends on its students.”