UM’s online graduate education programs rank as amongst the best in nation and state

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, January 25, 2022

From STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo’s online master’s in education programs have once again earned the distinction of being amongst the nation’s best online graduate education programs, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 Best Online Graduate Programs Rankings.

The online master’s degree programs in UM’s College of Education and Human Development ranked high nationally and fourth in the state.

“We are delighted to once again be counted as one of the nation’s best online graduate education programs,” said Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray, director of graduate studies in UM’s College of Education and Human Development. “UM has fostered a commitment to quality online education. We’ve always excelled in educator preparation, but in the last few years, we’ve focused on how to best translate that student experience to the online environment.”

Alexiou-Ray said the key to UM’s success has been offering an experience that makes students feel connected to the University, their professors and their classmates in a way that offers the flexibility of taking classes online while still maintaining the small college feel that UM is known for.

“We enrich online experiences by helping students feel like they’re actually in a physical classroom with one-on-one and face-to-face interaction between professors and peers, even in a digital environment,” she said.

Another way that Montevallo continues to offer one of the nation’s top online graduate education programs is with targeted scholarships.

Alexiou-Ray said the “Montevallo Educators’ Partnership” scholarship provides teachers in area school systems the opportunity to further hone their craft and improve their skillset while recognizing the financial needs and challenges educators face. UM is currently partnered with 20 school systems in Alabama and Teach for America.

“Candidates in our graduate programs are already stellar educators,” she said. “We’re working with the best. As they go through our programs and graduate, they’ve grown their practice theoretically and practically to have an even greater impact on students.”

U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges and universities online graduate education programs by five categories:

• Engagement – instructors are accessible, responsive and create a rewarding experience for students
• Expert Opinion – the regard and respect that high-ranking academic officials in education and employers have for degrees from various programs
• Faculty Credentials and Training – distance-learning professors with academic credentials mirroring other campus-based programs
• Services and Technologies – diverse and flexible online learning technologies are employed and strong support structures outside of the classroom are provided
• Student Excellence – proven, ambitious, accomplished students who can handle rigorous coursework, and degrees in the program are awarded judiciously