Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., have had a sometimes tumultuous relationship in years past. More recently, both schools have opted for collaboration, and the winners are the students.
It wasn't that many years ago that the schools jointly operated higher education centers in Sikeston, Kennett and Malden. These centers provided handy and affordable access to higher eduction. But a feud led to a lawsuit that resulted in a split at the cooperatively run centers. Instead, both schools have been operating outlying centers in the same towns.
More recently, a new relationship has been created between the schools, both of which were instrumental in creating the Cape Girardeau Partnership for Higher Education, which will begin offering courses leading to an associate degree much like the centers in Sikeston, Kennett and Malden.
Then both schools sought state authorization to offer associate degrees at their learning centers. Three Rivers protested, pointing out that only community colleges can grant associate degrees. The proposals were withdrawn, and the schools are working on a joint plan for two-year degrees. Cooperatively, the schools can better serve students seeking college educations.