Two new degrees will be offered through the Kinder Institute at MU, pending approval next week by the full UM System Board of Curators.
The board’s Committee on Academic, Student Affairs and Research and Economic Development approved the Kinder Institute’s request for the program’s first bachelor’s and master’s degrees Wednesday.
The Kinder Institute, an MU academic center established in 2015, promotes the teaching and scholarship of American constitutional and democratic traditions, according to the program’s website.
Justin Dyer, director of the Kinder Institute, presented the proposal for the Bachelor of Arts in constitutional democracy at the meeting.
The proposed degree consists of 18 core credit hours in which students in the program would enroll together. The cohort of about 40 students would live together in Wolpers Hall during their freshman year.
If the board gives its final approval, Dyer said the program will be the only one of its kind in the country and has the potential to attract students to MU specifically for the degree.
Dyer said Kinder is carrying out a “soft launch” this fall by offering a minor.
“On short notice ... our goal was to have 40 students,” Dyer said. “We had over 60 who applied to be a part of it.”
The new graduates of Kinder’s bachelor’s degree would have a variety of post-grad opportunities, he said. That includes Kinder’s proposed Masters of Arts in Atlantic history and politics, which was also presented to the committee Wednesday.
Jay Sexton, chair of the institute and a history professor at MU, presented the master’s degree proposal to the committee and said it would educate students on America’s past and current relationship with countries along the Atlantic.
“At a time in which our Atlantic alliances are unraveling ... , it’s never been more important for the next generation of leaders to master the rich and diverse history of the Atlantic world with the United States,” Sexton said.
Both degrees require no additional funding and would launch in the fall of 2020.
Curator John Phillips expressed excitement about the expansion of the institute.
“I’ve attended some of the Kinder Institute programs. I think they’re wonderful,” Phillips said. “And I’ve got a lot of feedback from students and parents, and they have a very high opinion of it.”
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