Campus News

U.S. News ranks UB’s education, nursing online programs among nation’s best

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published January 11, 2018

Online programs in the Graduate School of Education and the School of Nursing were named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Online Programs rankings.

The online programs offered by the Graduate School of Education were ranked No. 15 in the nation in the Best Online Graduate Education Programs rankings, earning a placement on the annual list for the sixth consecutive year.

The School of Nursing’s online bachelor’s degree program (RN-BS), which admitted its first class in 2012-13, was ranked No. 60 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings. This is the program’s fourth consecutive year on the list.

“GSE’s national ranking reflects our commitment to providing top-quality and rigorous online education programs,” says Suzanne Rosenblith, professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education.

Nursing Dean Marsha Lewis cites recent New York State legislation requiring nurses to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing  (BSN) as confirmation of the growing need to educate and train the future nursing workforce inside and outside of the classroom.

“New York State has passed groundbreaking legislation requiring RNs to obtain their BSN within 10 years of licensure,” explains Lewis, also a professor in the School of Nursing.

“We expect that other states will follow suit recognizing the benefits of expanding nursing education as a means to address complex patient care needs resulting from shorter lengths of stay, higher acuity and more sophisticated interventions.”

UB’s Graduate School of Education offers a variety of fully online and hybrid programs. The school launched its first online PhD program in 2015 and UB’s first massive open online course (MOOC) on learning site Coursera in 2016.

“Our school has been offering fully online programs since 2001,” notes Christine Kroll, assistant dean for online education.

“While many institutions are shifting toward models of teaching assistants or master courses developed by designers, our program curricula and individual courses are designed and delivered by our research faculty,” she says. This creates highly interactive, authentic discourse between our faculty and students, builds relationships between students and allows for a unique, immersive university experience.”

Kroll adds that GSE faculty work together with online students and engage in original online education research, continually incorporating their latest findings into their teaching practices.

The School of Nursing’s RN-BS program, which can be completed in a one- or two-year sequence, builds upon the knowledge and experience of licensed nurses while allowing participants to maintain employment, says Susan Grinslade, clinical professor and assistant dean for undergraduate programs.

“With a growing body of evidence to suggest that there is a significant positive relationship between the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce and better quality of care and patient outcomes, our program builds upon previous knowledge to enhance quality and safety in today’s challenging health care environment,” she says.

The School of Nursing also offers both an online post-master’s to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that educates established advanced practice nurses to deliver expert care and innovate practice, and an online doctoral program that prepares nurse scientists and academics who will contribute to knowledge development, theory generation and hypothesis testing to improve nursing practice outcomes and health care.

The U.S. News online rankings are based on five categories: student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity and peer reputation. Online bachelor’s degree programs are not weighted for admissions selectivity.