When it comes to how higher education leaders can get more students to their institutions, the same advice comes up over and over again — build partnerships with local K-12 districts. A plethora of these types of examples exist in everything from summer camps for high school students to mentorship programs. But, what if your institution could build a far-reaching partnership with hundreds of businesses, several school districts, other universities and the local community at the same time?
That’s exactly what Northwest Missouri State University did when partnered with the city of Gladstone, Missouri, and the North Kansas City School District to construct the Northland Innovation Center — a building designed to educate students from the kindergarten to the postsecondary-degree level, with a particular focus on targeting the school-to-college-to-career pipeline through an interactive, project-based learning environment.
The decision to build the center came at an opportune time for all parties involved, said Northwest Missouri State University president John Jasinski in an interview. Gladstone and the North Kansas City Schools District were looking for an opportunity to uplift its SAGE program, which serves academically gifted students from kindergarten to 8th grade.