FAYETTE, Iowa (January 8, 2014) – The online undergraduate programs at Upper Iowa University, as well as its online master of business administration (MBA) program have been cited among the top 100 online programs in their category by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News published "2014 Best Online Education Programs" on its website January 8.
The UIU online bachelor's program is ranked 61st of 283 colleges and universities with online undergraduate programs that responded to the U.S. News survey. The UIU online MBA program is ranked 99th of 239 similar programs that responded to U.S. News.
As defined by U.S. News, online programs allow students to complete all the required coursework via distance education courses that incorporate internet-based learning technologies. Online courses deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and that support regular and substantive interaction between students and faculty – both from different locations at different times as well as from different locations at the same time.
The program rankings are based on student engagement measures, such as graduation rates, best practices, accreditation, class size, assessments, retention rates and time to degree. In addition the rankings look at peer reputation, faculty credentials and training as well as student services and technology. The MBA rankings also incorporate admissions selectivity.
"We are honored to have our online programs recognized in this way, and I am deeply grateful to the UIU faculty and staff who have developed such successful programs. They have worked hard and deserve this honor," said UIU President William R. Duffy II. "Most importantly, these online programs meet the educational needs of so many of our students and fulfill the vision of this University – to provide quality academic programs and outstanding student services to students who, consequently, share their successes and experiences with others."
Angela Leete, UIU interim provost, noted that the University ensures consistent academic quality across all educational programs. "Regardless of whether our faculty is teaching in brick-and-mortar classrooms on campus and in the community, or whether they are teaching in virtual online settings or through our self-paced programs, the University focuses on educational excellence. This academic consistency is not only mandated by all our accrediting bodies, but is also essential to keeping our commitment to every UIU student," she said.
The online MBA is one of the fastest growing programs at Upper Iowa, with an enrollment increase of 46 percent in the past year, according to Kristopher Blanchard, chair of the MBA program. "Much of our success is due to our great faculty, many of whom have years of experience in the workforce," he added. "Faculty members 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."
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. "Individuals have much greater earning potential and improved career options once they have a bachelor's degree," Siblik said. "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."
Information about the UIU online programs is available here. Details of the U.S. News rankings and the survey methodology are here.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to more than 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing