FAYETTE, Iowa (January 7, 2015) – The online undergraduate programs at Upper Iowa University and its online master of business administration (MBA) program have been ranked for the third consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News published “2015 Best Online Education Programs” on its website January 7.
The UIU online bachelor’s programs are ranked in the top third nationwide, coming in at 87 of 283 colleges and universities who responded to the annual online education survey. UIU is one of only three Iowa-based, number-ranked schools on the U.S. News list.
The publication’s rankings of online graduate business programs changed substantially this year and are not considered comparable to the previous two years the magazine has done the rankings. Previously, U.S. News ranked all online graduate business programs (MBA and non-MBA) on one list. In 2015, the publication separated the rankings for MBA online programs from those of other non-MBA graduate business programs. U.S. News also changed the criteria and methodology for ranking of MBA programs, placing greater weight on reputation and admissions selectivity.
Under the new ranking system, UIU is ranked 123 of 223 colleges and universities that submitted data on their online MBA programs. Only 196 of those programs received a numeric ranking, and UIU is the only Iowa-based school ranked.
“UIU is honored that our online programs continue to be recognized among these rankings,” said UIU President William R. Duffy II. “On behalf of the board and administration, I would like to express our appreciation to the faculty and staff who makes such recognition possible through their work each day. UIU has been providing online education for 15 years and has graduated thousands of students from our program who have become successful in their careers – and that is the true test of any academic program.”
UIU Provost Dr. Kurt Wood added that the University ensures consistent academic quality whether classes are taught on campus, at the UIU centers, online or through its self-paced degree program. “Our teaching modalities are virtually interchangeable,” Wood said. “We hold ourselves to the same high quality academic standards not only to meet the mandates of our accrediting bodies, but also to fulfill our commitment to excellence for all our students across the entire university.”
B.J. Whitesell, dean of the UIU business school, credits the MBA program’s ongoing success to the faculty. "Many of our faculty have years of experience in the workforce so they can share real-world problem-solving scenarios with our students. Most online students are working adults themselves and can provide educational insights from their own situations. The result is a dynamic learning experience that prepares students to succeed," she added.
Online education is also an important resource for undergraduate students who are either first-time college students or returning to earn their bachelor's degree, said John Siblik, dean of the UIU School of Liberal Arts. "We find more and more undergraduate students turning to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online classes as part of their degree plan," Siblik added. "Some undergraduate students will complete all their coursework online, and others will combine online classes with a more traditional face-to-face experience. Either way, they graduate with a degree that can change their lives."
Barb Schultz, assistant vice president for the UIU Center for Distance Education noted that Upper Iowa was among the nation's first universities to embrace distance education by launching a correspondence course program 40 years ago, followed by the online program in 1999. "In our experience, online education is a proven way to meet the needs of today's students, especially the adult learner who may be trying to balance earning a degree with working full time and raising a family," added Schultz. "Online programs allow students to fit education into their lives and, in many cases, offer the only opportunity for students to reach their educational goals."
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,800 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 25 U.S. education locations, as well as locations in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit uiu.edu.