Release Date: January 10, 2017
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo’s online programs for the Graduate School of Education and the School of Nursing earned significant national endorsements from the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best online programs in America.
The online programs offered by the UB Graduate School of Education (GSE) were ranked No. 10 in the nation, an increase of 33 spots compared to last year, according to results released today by U.S. News & World Report.
UB’s School of Nursing also rose significantly in the rankings. Its online bachelor’s degree program (RN-BS), which admitted its first class in 2012-13, climbed 65 spots from last year’s results to rank No. 21 among hundreds of programs in the 2017 Best Online Bachelor’s Program rankings.
The top 10 ranking for the GSE’s online programs places the school among the very top-rated online graduate education courses in the country.
“I am proud of this national recognition of GSE’s high-quality online programs,” said Jaekyung Lee, dean of GSE. “With both well-qualified faculty/staff resources and technical support for online education, GSE is dedicated to improving educational access and pedagogical innovations.”
This is the third consecutive year that the School of Nursing rose in the rankings, previously ranking 86th and 136th.
Marsha Lewis, dean of the UB School of Nursing, cited the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s conclusion that in order to improve the quality of our nation’s health care, there must be a well-educated nursing workforce.
“Therefore,” Lewis said, “it is our responsibility to offer the best educational preparation for professional nursing practice, given the integral role nurses play in the decision-making and management of complex care.”
While the U.S. News ranking of education programs focuses on online master’s degree programs only, UB’s Graduate School of Education offers a variety of fully online and hybrid programs as well, according to Lee.
“Among the innovative programs added, the school launched its first online PhD program in 2015 and UB’s first academic MOOC on Coursera in 2016,” Lee said. “These programs provide students from around the world access to GSE’s faculty and academic programs. I expect that GSE will continue to be a national leader in online education while also serving as a model for others at UB.”
UB’s Graduate School of Education has offered fully online degree programs since 2001, longer than U.S. News & World Report has issued its rankings, according to Christine T. Kroll, assistant dean for online education. Kroll said the methodologies for ranking online programs are “somewhat new” and continue to evolve.
“Our data collection, our faculty engagement and our program development continue to improve how we are able to serve our unique audience of online learners,” Kroll said. “The experience and expertise of our online teaching faculty continues to develop in an ever-changing innovative teaching environment that transcends time and place.”
Kroll said many GSE faculty work together with online students and engage in original online education research, continually incorporating their latest findings into their teaching practices.
Offered in a one- or two-year sequence, the School of Nursing’s RN-BS program builds upon the knowledge and experience of licensed nurses while allowing participants to maintain employment. Nurses are prepared to provide the necessary leadership to advance quality of care, patient safety and health services in an evolving health care system
“We are proud of this national recognition of our innovative online RN-BS program,” said Susan Grinslade, assistant dean for undergraduate programs in the UB School of Nursing. “The distance learning format enables us to prepare more nurses at the baccalaureate level without the time or geographic constraints of a conventional classroom.”
The School of Nursing also offers both an online post-master’s to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that educates established advanced practice nurses to deliver expert care and innovate practice, and an online doctoral program that prepares nurse scientists and academics who will contribute to knowledge development, theory generation and hypothesis testing to improve nursing practice outcomes and health care.
The U.S. News graduate school rankings are based on surveys of administrators at more than 1,900 programs and more than 18,400 academics and professionals conducted during 2016.
The online rankings were based on five categories: student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity and peer reputation.