CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 11, 2012 – Southeast Missouri State University’s online bachelor’s degree programs and online graduate programs in business and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) were ranked in the first-ever edition of Top Online Education Program rankings by U.S. News & World Report released this week.
The rankings, according to U.S. News, were created in response to today’s high demand for education provided in a flexible manner. With many distractions to detract from one’s schooling, online education has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility.
“It’s very pleasing to be recognized,” said Dr. Allen Gathman, Southeast associate dean for Online Learning.
Gathman says the rankings are not surprising, noting that Southeast’s online programs “have been ranked elsewhere,” citing the online MBA program which has been previously ranked by GetEducated.com.
Online bachelor’s degree programs were ranked in three different categories: student engagement and assessment, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology. The online master’s degree programs were ranked in similar categories, but were evaluated on student engagement and accreditation as opposed to assessment. There was also a separate indicator ranking for admissions selectivity.
Gathman said the rankings show Southeast’s online bachelor’s degree programs at the top of public institutions in Missouri for student engagement and assessment.
Southeast’s online MBA, Gathman said, in most of the categories evaluated, was the top-ranked program in Missouri.
“It is always gratifying to receive external validation of the high quality of Harrison business programs,” added Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business. “Harrison business faculty members have made significant investments in developing high quality online programming; using the latest technologies to connect with and engage students. The ratings reported by U.S. News and World Report reflect this investment and the commitment of the Harrison business faculty to student success and professional advancement. I’m pleased that the Harrison College of Business is able to provide a high quality online MBA program that is extremely affordable, creating a high value proposition for its graduates.”
Dr. Carol Scates, chair of the Department of English, said, the ranking of Southeast’s online TESOL program is a testament to the efforts that have gone into establishing the program.
“The English department’s online TESOL program offers an online ESOL certification program, and a master’s in TESOL degree to students from the Midwest, across the United States, and from around the world,” she said. “These students from countries such as the United States, Korea, China, the Philippines and Japan bring to the program and each other a multicultural experience and diversity of educational ideas. The TESOL faculty is proud to offer high quality online training to our current and future students.
Scates said articulation agreements connect Southeast with several other universities abroad.
“We have collaborative programs with Sichuan Normal University, Vinnytsa State Pedagogical University and a TESOL Certificate Studies of the Asian EFL Journal,” she said. “We are working to expand our technological abilities with new multi-media resources to provide an outstanding learning environment for our students.”
Gathman says the U.S. News rankings “reflect well on the strategy we have for our online programs,” which includes tapping high quality faculty to teach online programs.
“We have done well in providing support services to our online students and making it flexible and affordable” for them, he said, adding these are “real strengths of the institution.”
Gathman says Southeast is planning additional online programs “and is looking to increase the number of students in existing online programs.”
U.S. News ranked online bachelor’s degree programs as well as graduate online degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology.
Southeast currently offers online undergraduate degree programs in business administration, nursing (RN to BSN completion), technology management, general studies and interdisciplinary studies. Online graduate programs offered by Southeast include the Master of Business Administration (MBA program), Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA in TESOL), and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
Southeast also offers online certificate programs in alternative certification and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
While U.S. News applied some of its rankings standards used for traditional schools, many new measures have been developed and were used to evaluate online programs. In order to be considered for the rankings, online degree programs needed to have at least 80 percent of their course content available online. There were no numeric rankings for overall program quality this inaugural year. Instead, U.S. News created non-numeric honor roll lists of online programs. There is one honor roll for online bachelor’s degree programs and one each for the master’s degree programs, excluding computer information technology. Each list includes programs that performed well across a series of numeric indicator rankings.
Data was collected from both for-profit and not-for-profit schools. For more information about the rankings methodology, please go to http://www.usnews.com/onlinemeth.