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Extension site on tap for city: Miss. College plans local classes

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Speaking to the Servitium Club Wednesday, Mississippi College representatives (from left) Rachel Peeples, Caley Forbes and Cindy Melton announced the college's intention to set up a satellite classroom in Brookhaven that will offer master's level educational classes.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Speaking to the Servitium Club Wednesday, Mississippi College representatives (from left) Rachel Peeples, Caley Forbes and Cindy Melton announced the college’s intention to set up a satellite classroom in Brookhaven that will offer master’s level educational classes.

An extension of Mississippi College could be coming to Brookhaven by the fall semester, allowing area residents to pursue a master’s degree without having to travel long distances to achieve it.

Organizers with the college met with the Brookhaven Servitium Club (formerly the Kiwanis Club) at Poppa’s Fish House Wednesday to announce the prospective plan to add a satellite classroom in Brookhaven.

“Our ultimate goal is to have several master’s level programs here in Brookhaven,” said Rachel Peeples, Wesson native and director of field experiences for Mississippi College. “We would like to get started with one course of study this fall, and then see how it goes from there.”

Organizers believe the class they have selected is a perfect fit for the Brookhaven community, and current K-12 teachers in particular. To begin with, the college intends to offer a master’s level elementary education program.

“We believe there is a very great need for this particular program in the Brookhaven community. Our goal is to fill that need and to establish as visible of a presence as possible,” said MC Associate Chair and Professor Cindy Melton.

The Master’s of education in elementary education is a 30-semester hour program that leads to an AA license endorsement in elementary education. Proposed courses for the fall semester would include teaching elementary and junior high mathematics and technology in education.

Organizers propose a mixture of 50 percent traditional brick-and-mortar classes and 50 percent of the classes to be taken online. Two more classes are proposed for the spring of 2015; four classes could be represented by the summer of 2015.

“The idea is to provide persons with busy schedules such as work, etc., a chance to earn their master’s degree one step at a time,” mentioned MC Director of Admissions Caley Forbes. “Candidates would be able to get their degree in an accelerated timeframe.”

Prospective candidates in the program could complete the requirements in four semesters. Candidates who are employed as full-time teachers are also eligible for a 30 percent reduction in tuition through a professional development scholarship offered by the college. The offered programs are accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Forbes said the college only needs as few as five students to get started.

Provided the program is successful, organizers are optimistic about adding additional classes and programs in the future.

“The college offers over 50 separate master’s level classes. Out of these, there are several courses that I’m sure the community might be interested in pursuing,” said Melton.

If approved, the college could potentially work in tandem with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, said Melton.

“This would not be a competitive thing. What we provide could work well for students at Co-Lin, or those that have graduated and are looking to pursue their education,” said Melton.

Convenience is one of the most appealing aspects of the proposed program. Classes would be located in Brookhaven, possibly in the Hurst building at 111 South Railroad Ave. or at the Brookhaven Technical Center on the Brookhaven High School campus. Superintendent Ben Cox has approved the potential use of the technical center for the college, according to Bank of Brookhaven Vice President and Servitium member Shannon Akers.

Now, representatives from the college will be presenting surrounding county officials with similar information regarding the project, with the goal of recruiting students to Brookhaven by the fall semester.

“We would like to help train and educate the community. The goal is to elevate the standards of the students, who we expect to remain within the community to offer their services,” said Peeples.

Bank of Brookhaven President and club member Bill Sones emceed Wednesday’s presentation.

Additional information about the college can be found at www.mc.edu.