by Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University President
The following article will appear in the Valley City Times Record the week of January 23, 2012.
US News and World Report
recently recognized Valley City State University for the quality of its graduate online Master of Education program. As you may be aware, this is not the first recognition from US News; a few months ago VCSU was ranked as the highest-rated public regional college in the Midwest for 2012 in the annual US News "Best Colleges" rankings.
However, this latest recognition for VCSU's online graduate education programs is a new recognition as this is the first year the rankings have been conducted. While rankings were compiled by US News for a variety of online graduate programs in addition to Education (such as Business, Engineering, Information Technology, and Nursing), it is worth noting that VCSU is the only college or university in North Dakota that was included within the online Master of Education rankings.
In this new ranking, US News
surveyed all regionally-accredited colleges and universities in the United States that offer at least one Master's level program in Education (1,053 total institutions). It further refined the list by identifying those M.Ed. programs with at least 80% of its content available online (161 institutions). Among this group, VCSU ranked nationally in approximately the top one-third in such areas as Student Services and Technology, Faculty Credentials and Training, and Student Engagement and Accreditation. Within these rankings, there are such national leaders as George Washington University, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Florida, and the University of Illinois. To be ranked among these esteemed universities is quite an accomplishment and demonstrates the high quality of online graduate education programming that has been developed right here in Valley City.
However, more impressive than the other institutions with which VCSU is categorized is the affirmation this ranking confirms regarding our Master's program. After a 115-year history as an undergraduate institution, VCSU began offering graduate degrees in 2005. The Master's program has grown every year since its inception, and VCSU now has over 160 students enrolled in the program. This rapid Master's enrollment growth coupled with the new national recognition demonstrates the quality of the program and the success VCSU has had in delivering education at the graduate level.
In looking further at the rankings (complete rankings at www.usnews.com/education/online-education
), it is also worth noting that VCSU's tuition compares quite favorably and is lower than virtually all of the other ranked programs. Many of the students currently in VCSU's M.Ed. program are in-field teachers from throughout North Dakota. These teachers are often place-bound due to current employment and/or family situations, and this online Master of Education represents an affordable opportunity for them to enhance their education and their careers.
VCSU's Master of Education program is fully accredited and offered 100% online. Available concentrations in the M.Ed. program include Teaching and Technology (with options in English Education, Elementary Education, Teaching & Learning, and Music Technology), Teaching English Language Learners, Library and Information Technologies, and Technology Education (with options in Secondary STEM Education, Elementary STEM Education, and Career & Technical Education). More information about VCSU's nationally-recognized graduate program is available at www.vcsu.edu/graduate.