Crowder College: Building a civil, serving, literate, learning community of responsible citizens.
Crowder College is a comprehensive community college situated in the beautiful Ozark region of Southwest Missouri. The College was founded in 1963 by a vote of district citizens in five contiguous school districts in McDonald and Newton Counties, which composes the formal college district. The College is also assigned a nine-county service region which extends north up the Oklahoma and Kansas state lines to Vernon County and east along the Arkansas state line to Barry County. Crowder is well respected in the community, state, and nation. Crowder has been named as one of the “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education the last 5 of 7 years.
Crowder College is also affiliated with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and seeks approvals through the Coordinating Board of Higher Education. Information may be accessed on the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
In the fall of 1964, the college began operation in left-over buildings from Camp Crowder, with 378 students and high expectations. In the ensuing years Crowder has added buildings and programs, and now enrolls over 5,000 college credit students and serves several thousand others annually in industrial training, family literacy programs, and continuing education.
The real beginnings of the college date back to 1941 when, as part of the general buildup leading into World War II, Camp Crowder was built. The Camp sprawled over 65,000 acres and had thousands of buildings. The college is named both for the Camp and for General Enoch Crowder, a prominent Missourian and soldier for whom the camp was named. During the four years of the war, the area was transformed and Neosho became a “camp town,” with over 40,000 soldiers, plus support personnel, families, and civilian workers. As the war ended, demobilization left the camp a ghost town. Many of the buildings were sold and moved and others were left to deteriorate.
Newton and McDonald Halls were constructed by the government in 1956-58 as Bachelor Officer Quarters, with anticipation of a permanent military base. Minds changed, the base was again closed, and the government looked for positive ways to disperse the Camp land and buildings. Insightful leaders of the two-county area envisioned the potential for creating a junior college from the remains of the camp, and through their work, Crowder College became a reality.
In addition to the main campus in Neosho, the College operates attendance centers, in Nevada, Cassville, Webb City, McDonald County (Pineville) and the Advanced Training & Technology Center in Joplin. Crowder College serves a nine county service area in southwest Missouri.
The college adheres in both philosophy and practice to a Servant Leadership approach to institutional governance. Basic to this philosophy is the belief that a leader’s primary duty is to be principal servant to all touched by the organization. In an educational setting, this means service to students, faculty, staff, board and members of the greater community. Crowder is a horizontal, highly integrated organization based upon the concept that each employee shares a portion of institutional power and that the best decisions are made when decision-making is a collaborative endeavor.
The College has maintained a strong fiscal position through careful budgeting and conservative spending. The original local tax levy for Crowder was 40¢ and remains close to that today. There has not been a debt service levy for many years, but the college has been able to expand in both enrollment and facilities through generous private giving and conservative fiscal management. The current operating budget is approximately $35 million.
Crowder offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as certificates in over 80 programs. A short-term Transport Training program is offered as the college partners with many transportation companies to train drivers. Training at the Joplin ATTC is geared to get students into the workforce after completing one or two semester programs in Advanced Manufacturing, Computer IT, Drafting, and Welding. The college also offers community and adult education programs.
Enrollment for fall 2017 was 4,960 in credit programs. The college has continued to increase the number of graduates with 1,118 degrees and certificates awarded in 2016-17.
The college also serves several thousand through customized training programs for business and industry, and provides Adult Education and Family Literacy services for a large portion of the Southwest Missouri area. The majority of students come from the in-district and service areas, but out-of-state and international student enrollment continues to grow.
The main campus in Neosho has a quad that is surrounded by academic and administrative buildings, a gymnasium, and a community center. Davidson Hall houses the science and health technology programs, the core of which is a FEMA shelter. Crowder also has two styles of student housing on campus. Brown Residence Hall is the traditional suite-style housing and Roughrider Village apartments offer independent living with full kitchens and laundry. The MARET (Missouri Alternative & Renewable Energy Technology) Center is powered by solar, wind and geo-thermal energy it produces. This innovative building is a learning facility for our alternative energy programs. The Neosho YMCA is also housed on campus land. In total, the campus covers over 600 acres, including the college farm and a truck driver training range.
As of fall 2017, Crowder had 294 full-time employees and 379 part-time employees, plus an ever-changing number of work-study and other student workers. Of the full-time staff, 119 were faculty, 82 were professional staff, 67 were classified (hourly) staff, and 26 were administrators/directors.
The College has no organized bargaining units, although each of the employee categories (faculty, professional and classified) has an association to represent their interests. The college does not have a tenure system for faculty, and does not utilize a faculty ranking system. Institutional decisions have been made with broad personnel involvement, based upon an enduring philosophy that employees are all part of “The Crowder Family.”
The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, which means that all coursework meets quality standards and is transferable to other colleges and universities. Crowder was the first college in the state using the Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP) for accreditation. This program utilizes a model similar to the Baldrige Quality Improvement model to plan, organize and monitor improvement strategies based upon quantifiable measures of performance and a culture of evidence.
Crowder is a member of the NJCAA and offers Division I women’s basketball and softball; and men’s baseball and soccer. All four teams were Region 16 Champions or Runner-Up in the 2016-17 seasons. All the teams do well competitively and athletes are expected to do well academically to be eligible to play.
The College is especially known for its work in Alternative Energy Technology, in both transportation and housing. It built the first solar-powered vehicle to cross the U.S. in 1983, has successfully participated in several national and international solar vehicle competitions, and has solar-powered houses on campus that competed in the national Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C. It has been the only community college to participate in these competitions and has made good standings in all of them. The college is designated by the state as the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology (MARET) Center and a new building to house it was completed on the campus in 2011. It offers degrees and certificates in solar and wind energy. It also assists in new product development and other business support services in renewable energy.
The college has one of the largest Upward Bound and UB Math/Science Programs in the U.S., serving high school students with assistance in preparing for college. It also has a College Assistance Migrant Program to serve the large migrant population of the region, and has Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Center, and Talent Search TRIO grants that have been sustained for many years.