WTAMU Online Programs Receive National Accolades


Callie Shipley, Coordinator for Junior Reporters

The online undergraduate and graduate business programs of West Texas A&M University have achieved top 20 rankings in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Programs for 2016.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings for online programs are one of the most influential and independent reviews for higher education and serves as a benchmark for students and their families when making decisions about college,” James Webb, WT Chief Information Officer, said.

WT’s online undergraduate programs earned 11th place on the list out of 300 schools, and the online graduate business program ranks 12th among 130 other programs considered.

“Rankings are determined by several factors including student engagement, faculty credentials, peer reputation, admission selectivity, student services, and technology,” Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the College of Business and economics professor, said. “Although the current recognition provides important external validation, there are several strategic initiatives West Texas A&M University is pursuing that will help the institution enhance online program delivery in the near future as part of a continuous improvement effort.”

In the past, Terry said the MBA program and MS in Finance & Economics have both received recognition from U.S. News & World Report, the Financial Engineer, and several other entities. He said the undergraduate programs show significant improvement from a ranking of 119th in 2015 to 11th for this year.

“The rise in the undergraduate rankings is influenced by the introduction of new online programs in management, marketing, and law & economics combined with a more focused delivery of existing online programs in criminal justice, nursing, general business, and emergency management administration,” Terry said.

Webb said WT has an “innovative technology history” and was one of the first universities to offer online programs as far back as 1997.

“The University’s mission statement even incorporates providing students with a technology-rich experience,” Webb said. “Technology and support contribute to the overall rankings of these programs.”

According to WT’s submission on the U.S. News & World Report website, key benefits to the online bachelor’s programs at WT include “program flexibility combined with discipline-specific accreditation,” a majority of full-time faculty members, and affordable tuition. The graduate business program’s description explains the option of combining face-to-face courses and online classes with “virtually no difference in course content.”

“The rankings demonstrate that the University is providing some of the best online programs in the nation and is dedicated to providing students with access to high quality academic programs, top faculty, and student services and technology,” Webb said. “It shows that we’re headed in the right direction and are focused on continuous improvement.”


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