The primary purposes of the Certified School Strategic Initiative (CSSI) are to serve as an additional information resource regarding program outcomes at schools certified to operate by the Department of Higher Education and to highlight laudable instructional program performance at those schools.



The Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s coordinated plan, Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, includes five broad goals designed to address the state’s higher education needs. Department staff were tasked with identifying initiatives in each functional area that would contribute to the success of the coordinated plan. In consultation with the Proprietary School Advisory Committee (PSAC), MDHE staff determined Missouri’s certified schools may have the most visibility within the strategic plan under Goal 3: Quality – Missouri will produce graduates with high-quality postsecondary degrees and certificates that are valuable and relevant to individuals, employers, communities and the state.


Invitations to discuss a strategic framework to address this goal were sent to leaders of Missouri’s certified schools. Twenty representatives from 17 different institutions attended the June 29, 2018, meeting in Jefferson City.


Initial Meeting - June 29, 2018

The goal of the initial meeting was to gain institutional perspective on the interest in and value of establishing a system to recognize instructional programs that meet agreed upon quality indicators. Participants were organized into small breakout groups facilitated by an MDHE staff member. The morning and afternoon sessions focused discussion on a set of questions related to the strengths and weaknesses of such an initiative and indicators of program quality.


June 29 meeting summary


Meeting Follow-up

While there was broad support expressed during the meeting, MDHE staff believe additional feedback from the school community is critical. As a result, representatives of certified schools are invited to review the summary of the initial meeting and provide feedback to Please indicate “Certified School Strategic Initiative” on the subject line. To be considered, please submit your feedback to the MDHE by August 17, 2018.


The second step in organizing this initiative is the establishment of a steering committee tasked with guiding the development of a pilot to test its viability. The steering committee will assist with identifying fields of study to be included, establishing the mechanics of the review process, and developing a process for recognition of successful programs.


If you are interested in becoming a member of the steering committee, please contact Leroy Wade or Laura Vedenhaupt to submit your name for consideration. The steering committee will work with MDHE staff to define key terms and to identify the first programs/fields to be included in the pilot. Please submit names for consideration by August 17, 2018. We welcome a diverse group of schools, accredited and unaccredited, degree-granting and non-degree-granting, to be part of this initiative.


Next Steps

Once the steering committee is established, it will begin meeting during late summer and fall to establish the parameters for the initiative. MDHE will use this webpage to keep the community informed of progress on the pilot project as well as to solicit additional feedback from the school community.