CMU online Bachelor's program ranked No. 1 in nation
Central Michigan University's online undergraduate Bachelor's program is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to a surveypublished by U.S. News & World Report.
In addition, CMU's online graduate education programs for teachers and administrators is ranked third, whereas the online graduate business program came in at No. 17.
CMU's Global Campus oversees the operations of the online programs and has been a staple of distance learning since 1971. One of the first universities to establish an online program, the rankings reflect CMU's commitment to learning, regardless of location.
“The peer rankings are a testament to CMU’s academic excellence and leadership,” said University President George Ross in news release issued this week. “As an institution with more than 120 years of transforming lives through education, the U.S. News rankings speak to our leadership in evolving, strengthening and providing access to higher education across the nation.”
The report ranks programs based on student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services, technology and peer review.
Ray Christie, interim vice president of Global Campus, said topping the list is a huge honor – one that all students, faculty and staff across campus should be proud of.
"It is a testament to the quality of instruction provided by our faculty and support services and various programs," Christie said. "From library services and access to writing and math centers, to the use of certain technologies that allow us to enhance student engagement, so many people across campus within and outside of Global Campus should be very proud about this honor."
More than 10,000 students are enrolled in online classes each year, including Grand Rapids senior Courtney Heeren. She will be taking BIS 104: Computers and Society and PHL 140: Introduction to Logic online this semester.
Heeren, a teaching major, said she must allow herself two full days per week to complete her pre-student teaching requirements. Without online course offerings in her concentration, she would be in a jam.
"As a teaching major, my final few semesters are absolute chaos, and online classes are the only way that I can have enough time in the day to do everything I need to," she said. "I'm so grateful to attend a university that understands and values that need for students."
As for the recent ranking, Heeren said it has alleviated some of her apprehensions associated with enrolling in courses online.
"Online classes made me nervous because I'm a person who likes to sit in the classroom and engage," she said, "but knowing that we’re so highly ranked makes me feel even more confident in the courses I’m taking online this semester."
Christie said although no concrete plans have been made for Global Campus' future – even as the program begins its search for a new vice president – CMU will remain at the forefront of distance learning.
"The university is always interested in the effectiveness of student learning," Christie said. "We're always asking ourselves, 'How do we stay on top of the curve?' We’re always focused on offering the best current and developing programs"