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January 9, 2018
18-5

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Ranked Among the Best by U.S. News and World Report

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University is one of the best colleges and universities in the nation when it comes to distance education, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Online Programs rankings released Jan. 9.  

This is the seventh year U.S. News and World Report has numerically ranked online degree programs, with the annual rankings being described as one of the most extensive evaluations of United States-based distance education programs ever published. VSU earned coveted spots on the publication’s 2018 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, 2018 Best Online MBA Programs, and 2018 Best Online Graduate Education Programs lists.

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

VSU came in at No. 107 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list. A total of 357 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education were evaluated in this category.

“This is an exciting accomplishment that we have worked hard to achieve,” said Jarrod K. Murray, interim director of VSU’s Center for eLearning. “VSU’s Center for eLearning has worked hard with faculty to make competitive classes and programs for online delivery. With an environment that is always changing and improving, our team communicates both internally and externally to find proactive and adaptable solutions. As we listen to the needs of our students and faculty, we seek to overcome any challenges with new innovative approaches as well utilizing proven methods.  We work as a unit to actively support our students and faculty so that they can have the best college experience, even at a distance.” 

Best Online MBA Programs

VSU came in at No. 143 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Online MBA Programs list, up from No. 160 the previous year. A total of 282 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education across the nation were evaluated in this category.

“An MBA from a top-ranked program will put you a leg up in today’s labor market, and an MBA is perfect for individuals that do not have an undergraduate background in business,” said Dr. L. Wayne Plumly, dean of the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration. “Low cost combined with a high-quality Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited program make our MBA very attractive and worthwhile.”

Best Online Graduate Education Programs

VSU came in at No. 101 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Online Graduate Education Programs list, up from No. 123 the previous year. A total of 309 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education were evaluated in this category.

“It is an honor to be acknowledged as one of the top colleges in the United States providing online degrees and courses,” said Dr. Bernard Oliver, dean of the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services. “This is a true testimony of the dedication and commitment of the faculty to develop educational programs that address the educational needs of a diverse population. The recent focus in higher education on personalized learning, competency based learning, and Human Services and academic certificates suggests that the Dewar College of Education is innovative and entrepreneurial in meeting the changing educational needs in higher education. This is a true testament of our vision of providing accessible evidence-based knowledge to enhance teaching, learning, and human development.”

The Dewar College of Education and Human Services is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and all initial educator preparation programs are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Several of the college’s online educator preparation programs are nationally recognized by their Specialized Professional Association (SPA).

Online Programs at VSU

VSU offers more than 50 bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees; endorsements; certificates; minors; and more online.

Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, office administration and technology, organizational leadership, or psychology; a Bachelor of Arts in French language and literature, legal assistant studies, or Spanish language and literature; a Bachelor of Applied Science in human capital performance; a Bachelor of Business Administration in management; and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in emergent media and communication.

Graduate students can pursue a Master of Education in adult and career education, curriculum and instruction in accomplished teaching, early childhood education, education leadership, health and physical education, instructional technology and training, instructional technology, or middle grades math and science; a Master of Science in criminal justice; a Master of Arts in Teaching in special education deaf and hard of hearing education, special education adapted curriculum, or special education general curriculum; a Master of Arts in English studies for language arts teachers; a Master of Business Administration in healthcare administration or through the Georgia WebMBA initiative; a Master of Library and Information Science; a Master of Public Administration or Doctor of Public Administration; an Education Specialist in coaching pedagogy in physical education, educational leadership, instructional technology, school counseling, special education, or teacher leadership; and a Doctor of Education in leadership or curriculum and instruction.

Students have opportunities to enhance their education and training through the pursuit of a certificate in online teaching, European Union studies, nonprofit management, public management, Spanish for professionals, and teaching English to speakers of other languages; certification in educational leadership, performance-based leadership, or school library media; an endorsement in teaching English to speakers of other languages, gifted education, online teaching, or reading education; and a minor in French language and literature, nutritional science, psychology, or Spanish language and literature.   

Since Fall 2016, VSU has also offered students an accelerated option for completing all of the core coursework for a bachelor’s degree in a non-science major in as little as three semesters. Through SmartPath Core, these classes are never full, always available, offered in eight-week sessions, and taught by VSU faculty. 

U.S. News and World Report Rankings Methodology

To determine this year’s rankings, U.S. News and World Report looked at the following:

• Student Engagement: Quality online graduate education, MBA, and bachelor’s programs promote participation in courses, allowing students opportunities to readily interact with their instructors and classmates, as is possible in a campus-based setting. In turn, instructors are not only accessible and responsive, but they are also tasked with helping to create an experience rewarding enough that students stay enrolled and complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

• Student Services and Technology: Programs that incorporate diverse online learning technologies allow greater flexibility for students to take classes from a distance. Outside of classes, strong support structures provide learning assistance, career guidance, and financial aid resources commensurate with quality campus-based programs.

• Admissions Selectivity: Students entering with proven aptitudes, ambitions, and accomplishments are better equipped to handle the demands of rigorous coursework. Furthermore, online degrees that schools award judiciously will have greater legitimacy in the job market.

• Faculty Credentials and Training: Strong online programs employ instructors with academic credentials that mirror those of instructors for campus-based programs, and they have the resources to train these instructors on how to teach distance learners.

• Peer Reputation: A survey of high-ranking academic officials helps account for intangible factors affecting program quality that are not captured by statistics. Also, degrees from programs that are well respected by academics may be held in higher regard among employers.

Call the Center for eLearning at (229) 245-6490 to learn more about online education opportunities available at VSU.

On the Web:
https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/
http://www.usnews.com
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