by Elizabeth Stone
U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 “Best Online Programs” rankings place the University of West Georgia among the top in the nation, including a WebMBA program ranking of fourth nationally and an online graduate computer information technology program ranking of 12th nationally. UWG’s online graduate nursing program, online graduate education program and online bachelor’s program in criminology received high marks as well.
“We are honored that we maintain a strong presence in these rankings consistently, year after year,” says Dr. Melanie N. Clay, executive director of extended learning and dean of USG eCore. “We have an exceptional formula for our long-standing success. This includes faculty who are innovative but don’t compromise the core values of quality higher education, as well as a laser focus on student engagement. When you add in our affordability factor, you are hard-pressed to find anywhere that offers a better or more rewarding experience for the online student.”
“The University of West Georgia's recognition in the recent rankings in U.S News & World Report is a confirmation of the strong leadership and commitment to excellence as demonstrated by our colleagues,” adds Dr. Donadrian L. Rice, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. “These programs clearly validate UWG's mission to be recognized as a world-class university.”
Specifically, the Richards College of Business WebMBA program scored a 97 for student engagement, the second highest score in the country, and a 92 for faculty credentials and training. The program tied for fourth overall with the University of Texas – Dallas, following number one ranked Indiana University – Bloomington, number two, Arizona State University, and number three, University of Florida.
“This is a tremendous recognition of the quality of our program,” says Dr. Faye S. McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business and Sewell Chair of Private Enterprise. “The U.S. News & World Report ranking clearly shows that our faculty credentials and levels of student engagement are what set us apart from other online MBA programs. I am proud of our faculty, their accomplishments and their dedication to our students.”
"This type of national ranking and acknowledgement further validates UWG's Richard's College of Business, its faculty and programs as national leaders in delivering quality academic programs,” says Dr. Kyle Marrero, president of UWG.
UWG alum Liza Soydan, now an associate at a boutique management consulting firm, says that the WebMBA program prepared her to reach the next level in her career.
“Not only did the application-focused program prepare me for a career in management consulting, the emphasis on virtual teaming helped me build a unique competency that is highly valued in today’s global market,” Liza says. “I rely on the knowledge and skills I gained through the WebMBA daily in my work with my team and our clients.” Liza graduated from UWG in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and in 2009 with a Masters of Business Administration through the WebMBA program.
UWG’s online graduate computer information technology program also ranked second in the nation for faculty credentials and training and seventh for student services and technology.
“I am delighted with this well-deserved national recognition for the department of computer science,” says Dr. Farooq Khan, dean of UWG’s College of Science and Mathematics. “The preparation of well-trained personnel in this discipline, with its ubiquitous applications in everyday life, is critical both for the advancement of the discipline as well as the economic growth of the region.”
“We are thrilled that the program has, once again, received a top national ranking by U.S. News & World Report,” adds Dr. Adel Abunawass, professor and chair for the department of computer science. “This ranking recognizes the high quality of the program as we continue to provide an exceptional and affordable graduate education for students wishing to obtain successful careers in the information technology job market. The program is only now entering its third year of 100% online delivery and this recognition, now two years running, is a testament to the outstanding work and support of the faculty and staff at UWG. We look forward to continuing our efforts to deliver an innovative distance learning program that supports UWG’s mission to contribute to economic development in the region, the state and beyond.”
Additionally, UWG’s online graduate nursing program ranked in the top 50 nationally, and the online graduate education program and the online bachelor’s program in criminology also ranked in the top 100.
“These rankings are a strong endorsement of the efforts of our outstanding faculty and staff,” says Dr. Jon Anderson, deputy provost for academic affairs. “Their commitment to a quality education makes a significant difference in the lives of students and the recognition the university receives.”
"Going West means far more than the region of West Georgia,” Dr. Marrero concludes. “Our online programs have been known in the state of Georgia for quality and innovation - now, that reputation is national!"
To see the full list of ranking from U.S. News & World Report, please visit www.usnews.com/education/online-education.