The Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents during its regular session January 26 approved the creation of a master of science in education program for special education with certification, in addition to announcing finalists for the university’s presidential role.

The new program in the school of education is a pathway to address a special education teacher shortage in the state of Missouri while meeting Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirements that allow people with undergraduate degrees in non-teaching fields to seek initial special education certification through DESE-approved programs.

Once candidates meet certification requirements through the program, they may continue in the pathway to obtain the master’s degree in special education. The program will be offered online and launch this summer.

Presenting the proposal to Regents, Northwest Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman said the new degree pathway is different than Northwest’s current master’s degree program in special education because candidates will seek initial teaching certification, which requires a higher number of credit hours to meet DESE’s certification criteria and cannot be obtained through the current master’s degree in special education.

Additionally during open session, Regent Chair John Moore announced the names of four individuals who are finalists to become Northwest’s next president.

“We were extremely pleased with the people who applied, the process we followed and with the slate of candidates that we’ll be bringing forward to you over the next couple of weeks,” Moore said to meeting attendees. He added, “From the outset, as a board, we have committed to be as inclusive of the Northwest community as possible and as transparent as possible with everyone who has an interest in the search process. We’ll continue to keep these principles front and center as we proceed through the next steps.”

In other business, the Regents approved the appointments of five adjunct faculty members who will teach at the university through the spring semester. There were several employees and teams of employees that were recognized by the leadership staff. Reports were given by the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Northwest Foundation and Interim President Dr. Clarence Green, who spoke of an enrollment goal of 8,850 students for the 2024 fall semester, nearly four percent, and the planned central plant improvements.

The Regents held a closed session to address litigation and personnel concerns.