Degree programming through its Virtual College has won recognition for Fort Hays State University from the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), an association of institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning.
FHSU was recognized with the consortium's Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning Programming Award for 2008. The university offers 28 degree programs through the Virtual College along with a variety of certificates and non-credit opportunities.
"This is further affirmation of the quality of our Virtual College," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of FHSU. " We thought we were doing a good job, but it's nice to know that others think we're doing a good job. The Sloan Award is especially prestigious and meaningful because of the exceptional quality of the folks on the panel who selected us."
The Sloan-C Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning Awards Selection Committee, which selected the winners of several awards in addition to the institution-wide award, included Judith S. Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation; Meg Benke, director of the Center for Distance Learning, State University of New York-Empire State College; Karen Swan, research professor in the Research Center for Educational Technology at Kent State University; and Burks Oakley II, professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"The excellence of the FHSU Virtual College is a tribute to Director Dennis King, the members of his staff and the faculty who design and teach the courses," said Hammond. "I congratulate all of them for this award, which honors their dedication, professionalism and hard work."
"We're obviously very excited about the award," said King, who is director of the Virtual College and learning technologies.
"We're especially pleased by the fact that the recognition is campus wide. It is for the full range of offerings across all four of the academic colleges and for how we deliver and service them," he said.
King pointed out that online learning is also important for on-campus students, most of whom take at least one virtual course for reasons of convenience or scheduling. But its value goes well beyond that, he said.
"Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of graduates will be working online to some extent as part of the work force," said King. "Our on-campus students have the opportunity to get online and become well-trained for the market place when they leave here, not only in their subject fields but also in the knowledge of and comfort with the Internet and doing things on the Internet."
Fall enrollment at FHSU this year was at 10,107 by the 20th day of classes, the official enrollment day observed by the Kansas Board of Regents at each of its six universities to provide a standard basis for comparison. Of that number, Virtual College enrollment was 5,804, in increase of 649 students from fall 2007.
Degree programs available online in the College of Arts and Sciences range from an Associate of General Studies, 10 concentrations under the Bachelor of General Studies program, a B.A. in sociology, a B.S. in justice studies and a B.S. in organizational leadership. The college also offers the Master of Liberal Studies in 13 specialties.
From the College of Business and Leadership, six degrees are available in the Bachelor of Business Administration program and two different specialties in the Bachelor of Science in information networking and telecommunications. An M.B.A. in leadership is also available.
College of Education and Technology bachelor's degrees available online are the B.S. in education in two specialties and a B.S. in technology leadership. Four M.S. degrees are available.
A B.S. in nursing (RN to B.S.N.) and three different M.S. in nursing degrees are available from the College of Health and Life Sciences, as is an M.S. in health and human performance.
FHSU's Virtual College, fully accredited by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission, is also in the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership, is in the Coast Guard Institute, the Army National Guard Institute and is a member of the GoArmyEd Program. The university also has partnerships with community colleges and training and service centers across the country and has created innovative academic partnerships in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Turkey.