Published January 16, 2014
The Graduate School of Education’s online programs have earned a dramatic increase in the national ranking compiled by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report, climbing to 25 from 61 among 238 higher education institutions.
The national magazine, which issues annual rankings of colleges and academic programs, rated the best online master’s degree in education programs based on five categories: student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity and peer reputation.
The dramatic jump in the rankings in one year follows the school’s increased emphasis on offering more online programs, giving students living away from Western New York the ability to take UB courses off campus.
“I would like to commend dedicated, online education program administrators and staff, as well as innovative faculty, who work together to provide high-quality online education,” says Jaekyung Lee, dean of the Graduate School of Education. “I expect that GSE will continue to play a national leadership role in online education and serve as a model for pedagogical innovations.”
Christine Kroll, assistant dean for online education, notes that GSE’s online programs “attract students from all over the world who seek collaborative experiences with our full-time research faculty, seasoned practitioners and, equally important, each other.”
“Offering academic programs online was a natural extension of the way we collaborate globally with our own colleagues to develop innovative strategies that are designed to bring together students with differing worldviews and experiences,” she says.
There were 30 online students when the school launched its first fully online program in 2001. By the fall 2013, GSE offered seven online programs and enrolled more than 250 students. The school recently received state approval for a variety of new programs and hopes to offer 15 fully online programs by the fall of 2015. See related story.
Twenty percent of the current total enrollment of the Graduate School of Education is fully online, according to school officials. These students complete all coursework, practicums and internships in their local area, then graduate from UB without ever coming to campus.
“Most of our students earn master’s degrees,” says Kroll. “Others earn advanced graduate certificates that are required for New York State licensure or New York State teaching extensions, and others simply take a course or two to keep current in their professional field.
“The average age of our online students is 44, most of whom are employed and raising families and live across the state, county and world” she says. “These students are typically unable to attend UB’s brick-and-mortar campus, so giving them an opportunity to attend UB online is an opportunity they might not otherwise have. All of our students can complete their coursework 24/7 and can earn a degree, even though proximity may have prevented it in the past.”
The U.S. News and World Report survey ranked the online graduate education program at Northern Illinois University as the top program in the country; Indiana University in Bloomington was second. UB’s program, ranked 25th, is tied with the University of Missouri in St. Louis, Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus — Penn State online —and Arizona State University in Tempe.
Visit the U.S. News and World Report website to see the full rankings.
Great going GSE. Glad to be a former professor and now emeritus professor.