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School of Education is a ‘Top-10’ in U.S. Online Education

Robert Bangert-Drowns, dean of the School of Education, and one of the school's pioneers in the field of online learning. (UAlbany photo) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 25, 2017) — With today’s release of U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 rankings, the University at Albany retains its position among America’s elite in providing online graduate study in the field of education.

The publication’s “2018 Best Online Education Programs” lists UAlbany’s School of Education in a tie for 8th among 309 institutions offering online master’s degree programs in education — the School’s second straight ranking in the top-10. Clemson University in South Carolina was ranked No. 1. UAlbany, the highest-ranked New York State school, tied with Penn State University and the University of Georgia.

“High quality on-line programs help us reach students we would not,” said UAlbany Provost James R. Stellar. “Especially in this critical area of education, I am pleased to see UAlbany once again recognized as a leader.”

“School of Education faculty were pioneers in the field of online learning from the 1990s,” said School of Education Dean Robert Bangert-Drowns, himself one of those early pioneers. “We’ve always been committed, not just to convenient access to education, but to academic excellence and rewarding interpersonal experiences online.”

In assessing 309 institutions for their online graduation education programs, U.S. News weighted each school’s excellence in five categories:

  • Student engagement (35 percent)
  • Student services and technology (20 percent)
  • Admissions selectivity (15 percent)
  • Faculty credentials and training (15 percent)
  • Peer reputation (15 percent)
Peter Shea, asst. provost for online learning

Associate Provost for Online Learning Peter Shea. (Photo by Paul Miller)

The School of Education offered 132 online courses last year and has added a new one in computer education this spring. Peter Shea, UAlbany’s associate provost for online learning, noted that online courses, programs and enrollments across the University have grown steadily for the past five years, including a 26 percent expansion in the past two years, to more than 11,000 students in 2016-17. There are now 17 online academic credentials with another 12 in development.

“UAlbany benefitted from decades of planning, implementation, and refinement in the School of Education programs, and this provided a strong foundation for growth in online education across the University,” said Shea. “The campus extended a significant investment in online learning and now offers several hundred online courses each year.”

Shea said the School of Education also gains advantage from UAlbany’s membership in OpenSUNY Plus, an online education collaboration across the State University of New York system committed to quality assurance in online coursework.

“Through our association with OpenSUNY Plus, we have ensured that UAlbany meets and exceeds standards of quality for online learning including support for instructional design, student support, 24/7 helpdesk, appropriate pedagogy, and faculty development efforts to ensure courses are maintained and updated,” said Shea.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.