January 12, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Ranked Among the Best by U.S. News and World Report

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University is one of the best colleges and universities in the nation when it comes to distance education, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Best Online Programs rankings released today.   

This is the fifth year U.S. News and World Report has numerically ranked online degree programs, with this year’s rankings being described as one of the most extensive evaluations of United States-based distance education programs ever published. VSU earned coveted spots on the publication’s 2016 Best Online Graduate Education Programs, 2016 Best Online MBA Programs, and 2016 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs lists.

“The quality of Valdosta State’s distance education offerings is well known to our students,” said Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president of VSU. “Enrollment in these programs continues to grow at a significant rate. It is wonderful, however, to have this external evaluation and to be ranked among the best in the nation for our online bachelor’s, MBA, and graduate education programs.

“Valdosta State University is committed to innovation and excellence, and this recognition is a confirmation of that commitment.”

To determine this year’s rankings, U.S. News and World Report looked at the following:

• Student Engagement: Quality online graduate education, MBA, and bachelor’s programs promote participation in courses, allowing students opportunities to readily interact with their instructors and classmates, as is possible in a campus-based setting. In turn, instructors are not only accessible and responsive, but they are also tasked with helping to create an experience rewarding enough that students stay enrolled and complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

• Student Services and Technology: Programs that incorporate diverse online learning technologies allow greater flexibility for students to take classes from a distance. Outside of classes, strong support structures provide learning assistance, career guidance, and financial aid resources commensurate with quality campus-based programs.

• Admissions Selectivity: Students entering with proven aptitudes, ambitions, and accomplishments are better equipped to handle the demands of rigorous coursework. Furthermore, online degrees that schools award judiciously will have greater legitimacy in the job market.

• Faculty Credentials and Training: Strong online programs employ instructors with academic credentials that mirror those of instructors for campus-based programs, and they have the resources to train these instructors on how to teach distance learners.

• Peer Reputation: A survey of high-ranking academic officials helps account for intangible factors affecting program quality that are not captured by statistics. Also, degrees from programs that are well respected by academics may be held in higher regard among employers.

Best Online Graduate Education Programs

VSU came in at No. 83 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Best Online Graduate Education Programs list. A total of 267 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education were evaluated in this category.

“The faculty in the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services have worked hard to ensure the quality of our online programs for educators,” said Dr. Lynn C. Minor, interim dean. “This ranking affirms our commitment to providing online programs that offer a high degree of student engagement, strong student services, diverse online learning technologies, and highly qualified faculty who are trained in online delivery. Our educator preparation programs focus on using data for continuous program improvement to ensure our candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to positively impact the learning and achievement of their P-12 students.

“The faculty will continue to offer high quality programs and to design and implement additional innovative, cutting-edge online delivery models.”

The Dewar College of Education and Human Services is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and all initial educator preparation programs are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Several of the college’s online educator preparation programs are nationally recognized by their Specialized Professional Association (SPA).

Best Online MBA Programs

VSU came in at No. 69 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Best Online MBA Programs list. A total of 228 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education across the nation were evaluated in this category.

“In today’s labor market, many senior business leaders are retiring,” said Dr. L. Wayne Plumly, dean of the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration. “Having an MBA from a top-ranked program will put you a leg up on the competition. An MBA is perfect for individuals that do not have an undergraduate background in business. Low cost combined with a high-quality Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited program make our MBA very attractive.”

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

VSU came in at No. 150 on U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list. A total of 300 public, private, and for-profit institutions of higher education across the nation were evaluated in this category.

“This recognition is a tribute to the talented and dedicated faculty whose tremendous expertise and commitment to student success have resulted in the robust, student-centered programs that have made VSU a leader in online education across the state and nationally,” said Meg H. Giddings, director of VSU’s Office of Extended Learning. “Our tradition of high-quality, in-demand online programs and majors, as well as the innovative VSU spirit, continually create new opportunities for Georgia learners. We are proud to offer our online students outstanding opportunities to earn their degrees via virtual delivery while still providing the exceptional program quality and student services available to our on-campus students.” 

Online Programs at VSU

VSU offers more than 40 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees; endorsements; certificates; and minors online.

Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, French language and literature, legal assistant studies, or Spanish language and literature; a Bachelor of Applied Science in human capital performance; a Bachelor of Business Administration in management; a Bachelor of Science in office administration and technology or organizational leadership.

Graduate students can pursue a Master of Education in adult and career education, curriculum and instruction in accomplished teaching, early childhood education, health and physical education, instructional technology, or middle grades math and science; an Education Specialist in coaching pedagogy, educational leadership, instructional technology, school counseling, or teacher leadership; a Master of Science in criminal justice; a Master of Arts in English studies for language arts teachers; a Master of Science in Nursing in family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner; a Master of Business Administration in health care administration or through the Georgia WebMBA initiative; a Doctor of Education in leadership; a Master of Library and Information Science; a Master of Public Administration or Doctor of Public Administration; a Master of Arts in Teaching in special education adapted curriculum or special education general curriculum

VSU also offers an endorsement in English to speakers of other languages, online teaching, reading, or gifted in-field; a certificate in European Union studies, online teaching, performance-based leadership, Spanish for professionals, teaching English to speakers of other languages, or library media; a minor in French language and literature or Spanish language and literature; and more.  

Some of VSU’s online programs are offered through eMajor, a statewide initiative that allows colleges and universities within the University System of Georgia to collaborate on in-demand degree programs and offer them in an accelerated online format to students at their respective institutions.

“Online programs and courses are an area of consistent growth for VSU,” Giddings said. “Our programs integrate the flexibility of online programs with exceptional and student-focused faculty and support. From the post-traditional student who balances a job, children, and a spouse and is looking for fully online learning opportunities to the on-campus student customizing their student experience by integrating online and in-seat courses in a term, online programs and courses are making a customized learning opportunity a reality for many VSU students. Ultimately our graduates earn a degree from a traditional institution that they know and trust.”

Call the Office of Extended Learning at (229) 245-6490 to learn more about online education opportunities available at VSU.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.