A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online bachelor’s degree programs are the state’s best for the third consecutive year.
That’s according to U.S. News & World Report. The publication released its annual rankings Tuesday. UL Lafayette was No. 114 nationally on the 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list, and led all Louisiana universities and colleges.
The University’s online graduate degree programs in nursing, education and business were also ranked.
U.S. News & World Report bases its survey on factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services, and technology and peer reputation.
The publication listed bachelor’s degree programs offered online by other Louisiana universities and colleges as well: Loyola University, No. 159; the University of Louisiana at Monroe, No. 217; and Nicholls State University, No. 242. Among the 85 schools tied at No. 246 were Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana universities, and Louisiana College.
Several of UL Lafayette’s online graduate programs also were cited. Its master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice programs placed 65th. That’s up from No. 84 in U.S. News’ 2018 survey.
By delivering the University’s “rigorous and high-quality programs of study” online, the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is meeting the need for highly educated nursing professionals found throughout the health care industry, said Dr. Melinda G. Oberleitner, the college’s dean.
“As national shortages of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and health care professionals persist, we remain dedicated to expanding our array of online health care-related programs to increase student access to quality online educational programs in the health professions,” she said.
U.S. News placed the University’s online education master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at No. 166. It’s the highest rating of any online graduate degree program in education in Louisiana, noted Dr. Dr. Peter Sheppard, who heads the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for the College of Education.
“The curriculum offers practicing teachers enrolled in our programs exposure to a range of skilled faculty. The U.S. News commendation reaffirms the college’s ability to prepare candidates for teaching and to improve the instructional practices of veteran teachers as well,” Sheppard said.
The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration launched its online MBA program in 2017. U.S. News ranked it No. 153 in 2019, the program’s first year of eligibility.
Students enrolled in the online MBA program earn the same degree as they would in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting, said Dr. J. Bret Becton, the college’s dean.
“The faculty and staff of the Moody College of Business are elated that our high-quality, affordable online MBA program has been identified as among the nation’s best in its first year of existence.”
UL Lafayette offers 16 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, and the list will continue to grow, said Dr. Claire Arabie, interim director of the Office of Distance Learning.
Two graduate-level programs – a master of science in computer science and a graduate certificate in cardiovascular nursing – launched last year, Arabie noted. “Every semester, we’re working with faculty to explore how we can give students more options and opportunities through rigorous online courses and programs.
“Online learning opens doors for those who wouldn’t be able to earn a degree otherwise, and gives us the opportunity to meet both student and workforce needs in Louisiana and across the country,” she said.
Photo caption: Students enrolled in UL Lafayette's online MBA program have access to a program ranked recently among the nation's best. (Photo credit: Amy Windsor / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)