Online bachelor’s degree programs from Fort Hays State University are ranked 15th in the nation and number 1 in Kansas in the 2017 Best Online education programs from U.S. News and World Report.
The U.S. News and World Report listing was released early this morning. This is the sixth year that U.S. News has ranked online programs. Fort Hays State offers educational opportunities in four of the eight types of programs included in the U.S. News list. FHSU’s Virtual College has made the top 100 in each of the six years.
In addition to bachelor’s programs, FHSU’s graduate nursing program was number 29 nationally; graduate programs in education were at number 77, and MBA programs were at number 100.
“US News examines multiple factors for the offering of online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs,” said Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, interim executive director of faculty affairs and the Virtual College.
“It is because of the quality of our delivery, affordability, and the support offered to our students that all the FHSU Virtual College programs covered in the U.S. News list ranked within the top 100.”
“The continued growth in our rankings is truly a testament to the effort that our faculty put into working and building relationships with our online students to help them succeed in their courses,” said Dr. Graham Glynn, vice president for academic affairs and provost.
According to a recent report by the American Council on Education, the U.S. Department of Education counts approximately 4,200 colleges and universities.
The other four programs in the U.S. News list that are not offered by the FHSU Virtual College are graduate business, non-MBA; graduate engineering; graduate criminal justice; and graduate computer information technology.
The four programs offered by Fort Hays State are among a total of 51 degree programs offered through the FHSU Virtual College -- 31 undergraduate, 16 master’s, one doctorate, one specialist and two associate degrees. Many emphases are available across the range of programs.
U.S. News based its bachelor’s degree ratings on student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer reputation. Student engagement was given the most weight, at 40 percent. The other criteria were each given 20 percent.
For graduate education programs, student engagement again was given the most weight, 35 percent. In that category, student services and technology was given 20 percent, and admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation each received a 15-percent weighting.
For MBA programs, student engagement was weighted at 28 percent. Admissions selectivity and peer reputation were each rated at 25 percent; faculty credentials and training was weighted at 11 percent, as was student services and technology.
Graduate nursing programs were evaluated on the basis of faculty credentials and training, 25 percent; student engagement, 20 percent; admissions selectivity, 20 percent; peer reputation, 20 percent; and student services and technology, 15 percent.
Distance education at Fort Hays State began out of necessity in 1911 when faculty voted to offer correspondence courses free so that one-room school teachers across western Kansas could afford to gain the education required to teach. The Correspondence Department created then evolved continuously with changing technology and culture until, in 1997, the Department of Continuing Education and Instructional Technology became the FHSU Virtual College.