Guest blog by Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor, WGUMissouri
Western Governors University (WGU) is celebrating its 20th anniversary of providing degrees in response to workforce needs. The nonprofit university was designed in 1997 by 19 U.S. Governors whose goal was to expand access to post-secondary education, address high workforce needs and drive more economic development through an innovative online education experience. WGU has been called an innovator in higher education and is the pioneer of competency-based education. WGU Missouri was created as a state affiliate by Governor Nixon in February of 2013. As a regionally accredited university, a WGU degree is respected, affordable and driven by the current workforce trends
WGU has a dedicated group of faculty focused on degree and curriculum development targeting workforce needs. These faculty members rely on advisory councils representing the careers for which the degree is designed to fill. People who are working in those jobs or hire for those jobs inform the degree and curriculum development as advisory council members. They review current degree programs and courses in addition to providing input on the upcoming trends that need to be considered. This process ensures WGU degrees will prepare graduates to meet existing workforce needs including alignment with current trends in the career area.
WGU Missouri recently hosted a meeting in St. Louis with virtual participants from Kansas City and Springfield to discuss a new degree area that was an expressed need by leaders from Wells Fargo Advisors and United Missouri Bank as well as Governor Nixon. Nineteen people participated in the discussion about workforce needs and the skills that would encompass a degree to prepare graduates for jobs in compliance and risk management across various industries. The involvement of the corporate professionals to inform WGU is imperative in achieving the goal of preparing graduates to become the workforce needed for jobs in Missouri.
WGU Missouri offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, IT, education and nursing. The flat rate tuition covers as many courses as a student can complete, therefore, students can earn a degree in less time and for less money. The 2,300 WGU Missouri students are part of the larger student body of 77,000 students nationwide. You can learn more about the WGU Missouri education model at their website at Missouri.wgu.edu.