On Sept. 5 Gordon Mapley, dean and executive director of the Western Institute, sent out a mass email with monumental news that will impact the future of Missouri Western State University for years to come.
Since being hired at MWSU to better serve the community, grow enrollment and do a number of things that would provide more opportunities for degrees, Mapley has made it his mission to help others with uncontrollable circumstances graduate. Amongst those with uncontrollable circumstances are military affiliated members. That’s why Mapley and his team devised a plan to that will allow;
- MWSU military-affiliate students in-state tuition regardless of residency.
- Students looking to get a bachelor’s of science degree in technology (BST) who have military training in any area can now apply 30 military training credits directly toward the requirements of a BST. As for students seeking a non-BST degree, military credits may be used to fulfill requirements for electives.
MWSU is offering courses at the 139th Air Lift Wing to assist airmen in completing their general education requirements for their CCAF AAS degree. MWSU plans to create a lounge and advisement center for military-affiliated students. A space has been identified and will become operational as soon as a campus organization for military students is reactivated and members become involved in the center.
“When I got here at MWSU, there was no mechanism to help folks that may not have gotten the chance to finish there degree because life got in the way, so one of the first things I said when I got here was we have to have something called a completion degree,” Mapley said. “That way the people with a bunch of college credits can apply those toward something else to get a degree, and a sub-population of those folks are members of the military.”
As a former military member Mapley understands all to well about the difficulties that come with trying to juggle being a military affiliate and college student at the same time. However, his plan allows for a good medium for students facing this situation, and a good example of this is the collaboration MWSU has with 139th Air Lift Wing. This collaboration allows students who are working on at the national guard base there will be getting the benefit of leaving work early to accommodate their class schedule.
Newly enlisted member of the Air National Guard Brook Sumonja gave her opinion on why qualifying students should jump on the opportunity immediately.
“Essentially you get to service your country, fulfill your civic duty while receiving numerous benefits,” Sumonja said. “I can hold a career in two completely different fields through my civilian occupation and my military career, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t jump at the opportunity.”
Over the past year Missouri Western has been hard at work, pushing for the changes that are receiving now and in result have been recognized worldwide as a Gold Level Military Friendly campus.