BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and School of Education made major moves in 2014 rankings of the Best Online Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report, placing No. 1 and 2 respectively.
The online bachelor's degree program at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne also was ranked by U.S. News, at ninth. Graduate programs at the IU School of Nursing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis moved from 37th in 2013 to 32nd this year.
U.S. News revised its rankings methodology to recognize the importance of student engagement, faculty credentials, student services and technology.
John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs, said the improvement in rankings and IU's growing number of online degree programs reflect its status as a leader. 2013 was a pivotal year for the IU Online educational initiative.
"These impressive accomplishments across a range of campuses and degree programs at IU demonstrate that online education is an important and high-quality element of the IU educational experience, as envisioned by President McRobbie's online initiative," Applegate said. "These results and the continued growth of IU Online reflect IU's status as a leader in this field."
Kelley Direct ranked No. 1
The Kelley Direct online MBA program in the Kelley School of Business rose to first from third last year, among more than 200 graduate business offerings nationally.
Kelley School Dean Idalene Kesner said she’s not surprised by the No. 1 ranking because of the program’s pioneering history and its innovative curriculum.
"Kelley Direct has long been the model other schools look to when developing their online graduate programs, and it continues to evolve to meet today’s needs in the business world," said Kesner, who also holds the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.
"We use the same faculty that teach in our residential and part-time programs. We also add features that emulate in-residence experiences, such as collaborative and personalized learning projects for real-world organizations, leadership and career training, and global leadership courses that include international trips."
Established in 1999, Kelley Direct was the first online MBA offered by a business school whose other MBA programs also are top ranked. For example, Kelley's residential MBA program has consistently been in Bloomberg Businessweek's Top 20 since it began ranking such programs in 1988. It currently is ranked 15th overall by the magazine, which also gave it No. 1 rankings for teaching, career services and student satisfaction.
Admissions requirements are the same for Kelley Direct as for all other Kelley MBA programs. The program also offers flexibility and access to the school's alumni network of more than 100,000 graduates.
Since 1999, more than 2,000 students have earned Kelley MBAs through the program, and it currently has an enrollment of 728 students. The average salary of the class of 2012-13 was $107,447, a 28 percent increase over the average salary of the graduates when they began the program. More than 65 percent of graduates received a promotion while completing their MBA degree.
School of Education ranked No. 2
The IU School of Education, which was 14th last year, jumped to second among nearly 200 similar education programs.
IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez said U.S. News' recognition is the result of major efforts to place more courses online and develop new certificates and degree programs, while working systematically to improve admissions standards, professional development and technical support to deliver high-quality online instruction. Several new certificates and degree programs were launched in 2013.
"Our faculty has had a long history of creating innovative practices to improve instruction and student learning. Long before online education became popular, members of our faculty were researching how to design and deliver such instruction at the highest level of quality," Gonzalez said.
"Our commitment to online education has increased rapidly in recent years, and the result in terms of both new programs and program quality are evident in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. I was pleased but not surprised to see us ranked among the very top online programs in the country."
Online courses and degree programs began at the IU School of Education in 1999. The school began offering IU's first completely online doctorate in 2012, the Ed.D. in instructional systems technology. Through IUconnectED, students can take a variety of courses to earn credentials ranging from professional certificates to master's degrees and online doctorates.
IU degree offered by IPFW ranked No. 9
The online bachelor's degree offered by Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne was ninth among more than 250 offered online. The program wasn't ranked a year ago.
Deborah Conklin, executive director of the Division of Continuing Studies at IPFW, said the campus is honored on behalf of faculty and staff in its Continuing Studies Online and General Studies programs.
"For more than 18 years, the campus has developed online courses and services to increase access to higher education for students in our region," Conklin said. "Today IPFW faculty teach more than 47,000 credit hours annually and now also offer Bachelor of Science degrees in information systems and nursing and a Master of Science in nursing."
IU School of Nursing moves up five places to No. 32
Graduate programs at the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI moved from 37th last year to 32nd this year.
Marion E. Broome, dean and Distinguished Professor of the IU School of Nursing, also expressed appreciation for her program's recognition by U.S. News.
"I am so pleased to see that the school is ranked in the upper third of all master's online programs in the country, No. 1 in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and second in the state of Indiana," Broome said. "The nursing faculty at IUPUI continue to invest considerable time and energy in meeting the needs of Indiana for advanced practice nurses, with several of our six advanced practice programs using innovative distance technologies to make those programs accessible throughout Indiana.
"We will continue to evolve our technologies and invest in the considerable expertise of our faculty, to further advance our online programming in the future."
Last fall, IU announced IU Online, a major strategic investment to accelerate the development and delivery of quality online courses and programs at IU campuses statewide, address Indiana's economic and professional development needs and extend the university's global reach. An initial investment of $8 million will be made over the next three years.
IU has been a pioneer in online education for the past 15 years and has more than 80 established programs across its campuses. A complete list of online programs offered by IU can be found at www.iuonline.edu.