COLUMBUS — Mississippi University for Women (MUW) president Claudia Limbert says she and Mississippi State University (MSU) officials will explore ways to consolidate operations.
However, Limbert tells the Columbus Commercial Dispatch that the move “is not a merger” but an effort by the state College Board to address funding cuts.
The College Board met with presidents on Feb. 17 in Jackson.
Limbert says MUW and MSU will name coordinators to review the two schools’ operations, budgets and programs.
Limbert says there’s no plan to close MUW and the Columbus-based school will remain a separate institution.
In a separate but related item, MSU and MUW signed a memorandum of agreement that allows students to earn both an MSU bachelor’s degree and an MUW nursing degree.
The two universities also formally moved ahead with a joint culinology degree, which was approved by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Through the memorandum signed by MSU president Mark E. Keenum and MUW president Claudia A. Limbert, the Golden Triangle-area schools agreed to develop a process to enable MSU students enrolled in a specially designed pre-nursing curriculum–and accepted into MUW’s nursing program — to simultaneously earn bachelor of sciences degrees in Starkville and Columbus, respectively.
“All students who opt to enter the new interdisciplinary pre-nursing track at Mississippi State and satisfy the requirements of the MUW bachelor of science in nursing program will hold degrees from both institutions,” Keenum said.
He said the agreement presents new opportunities for students enrolled at each school and creates programming strengths through collaboration.
Culinology is a course of study combining food science with the culinary arts. MSU’s longstanding food science, nutrition and health promotion department provides academic preparation for careers such as food scientists, nutritionists and health educators, among others.
MUW’s Culinary Arts Institute, which has earned national recognition, immerses students in food preparation techniques, menu development and business skills, among others.
The new degree program created from the two merged academic areas becomes one of only 12 in the nation.
The two public institutions also are planning to explore collaborations on a number of certificate programs that would allow cross-enrollment of their students, depending on which campus teaches the specific subject.