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State Higher Ed Board Approves Southern’s New Statewide Designation

By: Mark Scott | Published: September 13, 2023 | Categories: Press Release
State Higher Ed Board Approves Southern’s New Statewide Designation

State Higher Ed Board Approves Southern’s New Statewide Designation
MSSU to add health and life sciences, immersive learning, pending legislative approval


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (9-13-2023) – The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education approved Missouri Southern’s application to add health and life science and immersive experiences to its statewide designation today, a move that would make MSSU the only university in the state with those distinctions. The addition still needs approval from the Missouri General Assembly, which will consider the request in 2024.

Each university in Missouri is assigned at least one statewide designation, and Southern’s mission has historically focused solely on international/global education. MSSU would retain that mission while adding the health and life sciences and immersive learning if the legislature agrees with the Coordinating Board.

The potential change comes as Missouri Southern is planning to build a world-class Health Science Innovation Center, with design and planning for the center already underway. The facility will include immersive learning environments including a large simulation hospital, skills labs, anatomy and physiology labs, an expanded cadaver lab, research space, as well as a “Welcome Center” and conference space to support the campus and community.

The state has dedicated $22.5 million for the facility and good progress is being made to secure $15 million in matching funds, Missouri Southern President Dean Van Galen said.

“The Coordinating Board’s support of expansion of our statewide designation is an important step forward as we build upon the university’s strengths, address the needs of our region and state, and most effectively educate our students,” Missouri Southern President Dean Van Galen said. “I look forward to working with the legislature on the final steps in this process.”

During the spring 2023 semester, potential expansion of the statewide mission was reviewed and supported by the university’s Strategic Plan Task Force. After distributed to all faculty and staff for feedback, the proposal was considered and supported by the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors. The university then submitted a formal proposal to Commissioner Ben Boggs and the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development staff. The MSSU proposal was reviewed by the department’s staff and recommended to the Coordinating Board prior to today’s vote.

Van Galen said Missouri Southern will continue to focus on global education but wanted to also build on the student-focused strengths of the university related to health sciences and immersive learning.