A student accesses MU Online on their laptop

As Seen in Up & Coming Weekly

The 2020-21 academic year ushered in a significant growth in the number of entirely online programs at colleges and universities. At Methodist University, six programs began accepting students last year, and an additional eight programs recently began accepting applications and will enroll students for the 2021-22 academic year.

“Many adult students are looking for a fully-online degree program due to family and work obligations, military deployments, relocations, or current health and safety concerns,” said Dr. Beth Carter, the associate vice president for Academic Affairs at MU who oversees online programs and a satellite campus at Fort Bragg.

“The online program also allows former students to return to complete a degree they started but were unable to finish, or to continue their education and complete a graduate degree.”

Serving Our Community

Methodist University, as a leader in health sciences education, has been graduating health care professionals in its on-campus programs for years. Alumni of the Health Care Administration program can now return to MU’s online Master of Health Administration program, fully online and tailored to working adults.

Graduates in other majors looking to work in the health care administration field can opt for the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Administration, which can be completed in as little as two semesters. Students seeking bachelor’s degrees in the health sciences can apply to the Health Care Administration undergraduate program, and registered nurses working in the field can apply to the RN-to-BSN program. These bachelor-level health sciences programs are accepting applications now and will begin classes in the fall.

“Methodist University will offer these four programs fully online to prepare health care professionals to manage, lead, and improve the health of individuals and communities. Internships, field work and clinical rotations will be required in these programs to provide real-world experiences,” Carter said.

In-Demand Degrees

In addition to its health sciences programs, Methodist University’s first fully online programs included a Master of Business Administration program and a bachelor’s program in Psychology, with optional concentrations in Human Performance or Counseling/Clinical Psychology. Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Psychology were the first bachelor’s program to be offered, primarily due to regional and national demand.

“Psychology was one of the main programs requested from surveys of the surrounding area about interest in online programs,” said Dr. Mark Kline, associate professor of Psychology and chair of the Psychology and Sociology Department at MU. “Nationwide, Psychology tends to be one of the largest majors at most schools.”

What’s Next?

An interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Professional Leadership and Ethics and an Associate of Arts in General Studies begin accepting applications this month, and over the past several weeks, bachelor’s programs in Computer Information Technology and Social Work have invited students to apply. Students interested in obtaining an undergraduate degree in a business-related field can now apply to bachelor’s programs in Accounting, Business Administration, and Marketing. An optional concentration in Health Care Administration can be added to any of these business programs.

“This online program will educate, train and support the next generation of exceptional Social Work practices as does the current in-person program,” said Dr. Carla Fagan, associate professor of Social Work and department chair. “The online Social Work program provides the opportunity for adult learners to earn a degree almost completely from home and complete an internship in their local community. In addition, members of our military community can earn or continue their degrees from Methodist while deployed or when transferred to their new duty stations.”

Active-duty military and their dependents are good fits for Methodist University Online programs. Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, president of Methodist University, targeted both expanding online programs and improving service to the military community as goals of his administration during his 2019 inaugural address. Advancements in these areas have led to the University’s being awarded gold status as a Military Friendly® School for 2020-21.

Taught by the Best

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred demand for fully online programs at all levels. Although more and more people have been vaccinated, concerns linger concerning the duration of their efficacy and their effectiveness against more virulent strains. These concerns help fuel the expansion of Methodist University Online’s offerings.

Unlike many of the major players in online education, though, Methodist University Online courses are taught primarily by MU’s full-time faculty, not adjuncts. In the 2020-21 academic year to date, 88 percent of courses taught in the Methodist University Online program have had full-time faculty at the helm. Full-time faculty usually have terminal degrees, such as a Ph.D., in their field; experience in advanced research; and, often, public and private sector careers in which they have practiced their disciplines.

Programs are offered in six eight-week terms per year, and complete program information, including how to apply, can be found on Methodist University Online’s microsite, online.methodist.edu.