Saturday, January 25, 2014

NWACC Alternative - Crowder College, Jane, MO, Branch Offers RN Nursing Program

Missouri College Opens Classes Near Bella Vista

Crowder College Begins Center In Jane

By Amye Buckley (January 11, 2014)

JANE, Mo. A Missouri community college opened an outpost that could draw more Northwest Arkansas students.
The Crowder College McDonald County Center, at 194 College Road in Jane, Mo., is about 2 miles from the Arkansas border and about 8 miles from NorthWest Arkansas Community College’s Bentonville campus.

Nursing student Stephanie Wheeler of Bentonville said she was drawn to the two-year registered nursing program because of its reputation. It’s a family here, Wheeler said. Instructors are invested in each one of us. It’s very obvious.

Classes for the McDonald County nursing program started in a rented building in Pineville. That was a 25-minute drive and the new campus will be only about a 15-minute commute, Wheeler said. The dozen classrooms and labs at the Jane campus will host classes in nursing, accounting, agriculture, business, criminal justice, English, Spanish, math, science and history.

Leadership at the Missouri college say they are not trying to lure Arkansas students to the school, but it will attract them because of its proximity to the state line. We’ve felt for a long time that some parts of our district, and, frankly, parts of Northwest Arkansas are under served, said Kent Farnsworth, interim president of Crowder College.

The commute from Noel, Mo., to Neosho, Mo., isn’t always practical, so Crowder officials want to put the centers where the people are, Farnsworth said. Because the building is at the southern point of the community college’s reach, it will serve not only Jane and Noel, but Bella Vista and Rogers, he said. Some students might find Crowder more local or more affordable, said Andy Wood, Crowder board president.

Were not in competition, but at the same time we’re not going to turn anyone away, Wood said. There were 258 Arkansas students among the 5,845 students enrolled at Crowder College this fall. There were 64 Missouri students enrolled at NorthWest Arkansas Community College.

The building will be named James B. Tatum Hall later this month for Jim Tatum, a founding college board member. Creating a McDonald County center has long been a goal for Tatum, who will retire from the Crowder board this month after 50 years of service.

The native stone and design of the building reflect its Ozark location, Tatum said. Community donations paid for part of the center’s construction. Local families and businesses paid for naming rights to nearly every room in the building. It’s a striking example of who we are and where we are, Tatum said.

Student access to education has two primary factors: geography and time, Tatum said. The highway system makes everything close, but students want to take classes when they want to take them, not necessarily when they’re scheduled, he said. More options will create more graduates, Farnsworth said.

In Arkansas, NorthWest Arkansas Community College is conducting focus groups this month on an expansion in Washington County that will give the college a second permanent home. Evelyn Jorgenson, president of NorthWest Arkansas Community College, said she doesn’t see Crowder College’s presence in Jane as a problem for her school. I believe it presents an opportunity for more students to receive education and training necessary for their success, Jorgenson said.

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