U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of Nebraska at Kearney online graduate education programs eighth in the nation.
This marks the second consecutive year that U.S. News & World Report has ranked online education programs, and the second consecutive year that the UNK College of Education online graduate programs have earned top rankings.
“It is a tremendous honor, and a testament to our faculty members, to be recognized as one of the very best universities in the nation at providing a high quality online educational experience for our graduate students,” said Dr. Ed Scantling, dean of the UNK College of Education.
UNK stands eighth out of 143 ranked colleges and universities. In all, U.S. News & World Report collected data on 208 institutions that offer fully online master’s in education degree programs. Only the 143 met the rigorous criteria to be included in the rankings.
Rankings were based on four categories: faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, student engagement, and admissions selectivity. Of the four categories, UNK ranked the highest in faculty credentials and training at 98 percent, making UNK one of the top two campuses in the nation in the faculty credentials and training category. Only Eastern Kentucky University placed higher.
“To again be ranked among the Top Ten in online graduate education programs underscores the quality of our online graduate education programs,” said Dr. Kenya Taylor, UNK dean of Graduate Studies. “The College of Education has led the way in online education on the UNK campus, being among the first to move instruction from face-to-face to online to meet the needs of educators, not only in Nebraska, but across the nation.” UNK has offered online graduate programs in education for more than a decade.
Universities ranked in the Top Ten, listed from 1- 10, are St. John’s University, Auburn University, South Dakota State University, Northern Illinois University, University of South Carolina, University of Scranton, George Washington University, UNK, University of Northern Colorado and Eastern Kentucky University.
“What truly makes our online graduate education degree programs outstanding is the high quality of our professors, and the training and assistance they receive from our eCampus colleagues here at UNK,” Dr. Scantling said. “Further, we use our full-time faculty to teach and develop our online graduate courses and degree programs”.
“We require all faculty who teach online to have training, and that training is provided by UNK,” he added, noting that within the College of Education there are a number of professional development activities annually that enhance and reinforce the instructional training provided by eCampus.”
Gloria Vavricka, UNK director of eCampus, said, “The College of Education faculty have always been innovative, ready to try new things. Once they started teaching online, they realized that the classroom expanded, and they could serve more students. Also, the teachers taking classes in UNK’s online programs have found that they benefit by sharing experiences with other educators across the nation and around the world.”
UNK graduate education programs that are taught fully online include: school principalship, curriculum supervisor, school superintendent, curriculum and instruction, special education, reading, instructional technology, school librarian and master teacher of physical education. According to UNK College of Education statistics, the average time from matriculation to graduation for online graduate education students is 2.5 years.
All distance education programs offered by the four campuses of the University of Nebraska are available through Online Worldwide, http://onlineworldwide.nebraska.edu/, the university-wide distance education initiative that provides access to more than 100 online degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s, master’s and advanced degrees in 16 fields of study.