US News Ranks WVU Online Programs in Top 30


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Three online graduate programs at West Virginia University - nursing, education and business - have been ranked among the top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.


The online graduate nursing program was ranked 21st overall in the rankings announced today (Tuesday), education was 26th and business 29th. U.S. News reviewed 101 online master of nursing programs, 208 education programs and 213 business programs. In ranking the online programs, U.S. News reviewed student engagement, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity, student services, and technology. The business evaluation also included reputation among peers.


"These very strong rankings are a credit to the faculty, staff and students at WVU," President Jim Clements said. "The rankings also underscore elements in our strategic plan about the importance of graduate programming, as well as growth in quality online offerings that are critical to our state and nation in general. Certainly health, education and business are three such vital areas."


Michele Wheatly, provost and vice president for academic affairs, concurred, saying, "Accessible graduate education can also be exceptional graduate education."


"Our high rankings from U.S. News demonstrate our commitment to both. Moreover, graduate programs in online format are perfectly suited to professionals already working in their fields - nursing, teaching, running a business. We are offering them the opportunity to really excel."


Since WVU began offering online classes in 1998, "We have carefully expanded with an eye towards quality," said Sue Day-Perroots, dean of WVU Online and Extended Campus. "Faculty have embraced online learning when they see how effective it can be. Our iDesign unit provides the support and expertise needed to create courses that engage the student. Growing enrollment and this national recognition shows that our efforts have been rewarded."


The "impressive rankings" is "excellent news," said Katherine Karraker, interim associate provost for graduate academic affairs.


"WVU continues to work to provide the citizens of West Virginia and others access to high quality educational programs both in the traditional classroom setting and online," she said. "Our online and distance learning programs expand opportunities for education and training to students who may not otherwise be able to participate in these programs. We hope to continue building our capacity to provide educational opportunities through additional high quality online programs."


Elisabeth Shelton, interim dean of the School of Nursing, said, "We are delighted to receive this important recognition. It truly speaks to the commitment of our excellent faculty and clinical partners to provide an outstanding program that is accessible to primary care practitioners throughout the state and region."


"This accessibility is a key factor in providing student-centered programs that directly affect the quality of life and health care for the people of West Virginia."


College of Education and Human Services Dean Lynne Schrum said the college was "extremely proud" of the ranking. "Our faculty and staff work very hard to provide the best programs in the most interactive manner and we are exceptionally pleased to have this honor."


Sally Digman, director of assessment, accreditation and analysis at the College said the program was "quite deserving" of the ranking.


"These programs - advanced elementary and secondary masters, educational leadership/public school administration, higher education administration, instructional design and technology and special education - are cutting-edge in quality and outstanding in their service to online graduate students in the state of West Virginia, in the nation and internationally."


The business program ranking "is reflective of the hard work that has been directed to our online Executive MBA program," said Jose 'Zito' Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics." Being ranked 29th in the country shows the incredible progress we have made in a program that is a little more than two years old and our high standard of commitment to providing quality programs through the online format."