Contact: Lisa Sollie
MERIDIAN, Miss.—Mississippi State University Meridian officials are excited over their 2018 fall enrollment number of 595 students, which represents a 14 percent increase compared to fall 2017.
“The growth in our undergraduate students,” said Terry Dale Cruse, administrative director and head of campus, “can be largely attributed to our Partnership Pathway agreements with our four community college partners Meridian Community College, East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College and Jones College. Additionally, we have significant growth in the number of blended courses we offer which increase flexibility for our students by combining face-to-face and online delivery,” he added.
MSU-Meridian’s graduate student enrollment is at a six-year high at 133 students, a 56 percent increase compared to fall 2017 numbers. Thirty-three of the graduate students are enrolled in the new Professional Master of Business Administration degree launched this past summer.
“Our Professional MBA program has attracted many successful working professionals from the east Mississippi and west Alabama region in multiple industries such as health care, banking, manufacturing, sales and marketing, public policy and gaming,” said William Hill, head of the Division of Business at MSU-Meridian. “We believe our Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) waiver as well as the flexible teaching platforms (face-to-face and online), and the ability to enroll any semester of the year, have played a huge part in attracting such high caliber students to the program, added Hill.
The regional campus also partnered with Meridian Public School District and the Phil Hardin Foundation to offer alternate route teacher certification to people who hold a bachelor’s degree but not a teacher license.
“The teacher shortage has reached a critical point in the state of Mississippi, as fewer and fewer graduates are going into the field of education initially,” said Kim Hall, head of the Division of Education at MSU-Meridian. “This program allows for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another major to come back to school and earn a teaching license. While there are numerous areas that account for the teacher shortage, barriers to obtaining the degree are among the top. This partnership eliminates part of that barrier by providing educational coursework free of charge to individuals interested in teaching middle or high school for Meridian Public School District,” she added.
The campus also has seen an increase in the number of elementary education majors at MSU-Meridian, which has doubled since 2015. Hall credits the implementation of the Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants initiative which helps teacher assistants complete the educational requirements to become licensed teachers, as well as the modification of the program to 100 percent blended delivery.
According to Cruse, the university is taking a more strategic look at the programs offered on the Meridian Campus.
“If you look at our growing programs, they are ones that meet a local need. It sounds so obvious, but delivering these programs requires a mutual commitment between the university and community. We’re very fortunate in Meridian to have excellent K-12, community college, industry and foundation partners.”
MSU-Meridian serves primarily east central Mississippi and west Alabama. Learn more at www.meridian.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.