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Five Oregon schools make U.S. News online rankings

OSU, PSU, Linfield, Concordia and Eastern Oregon listed among nation's best

Five Oregon schools — Portland State University, Oregon State University, Eastern Oregon University, Concordia University and Linfield College — appear on U.S. News & World Report’s newest list of the nation’s best online programs.

The fourth-annual list — a resource for the increasing number of students and working adults seeking degrees and other academic credentials — was released last week. For the first time, it includes online master’s programs in criminal justice, as well as separate rankings for online MBA programs and non-MBA graduate business programs in finance, accounting and risk management.

Those changes gave Portland State University another chance to shine. PSU is ranked 28th in Best Online Graduate Business Programs excluding Master of Business Administration, and is 47th in Best Online MBA Programs.

A distinguishing characteristic of PSU’s online business programs is that they utilize the same faculty and curriculum as on-campus programs. They also focus on specific areas of study, such as global supply chain management.

“That’s the kind of program our students need, and it helps them get a job right out of the gate,” said Scott Gallagher, PSU’s director of communications.

PSU also partners with Oregon Health & Science University to offer the Healthcare MBA, a program that provides a leadership-focused business curriculum based on the specific needs, conditions and challenges of the health care industry.

“It’s a very unique program that has the best of both universities,” Gallagher said.

About 90 percent of students in the program come from the health care profession and work in major health care facilities in the region, said Kelly Doherty, director of marketing and recruiting for graduate business programs in PSU’s School of Business Administration. Some are physicians with a private practice, while others are entrepreneurs.

“What makes it unique from a time perspective is that this program is offered as a hybrid of online and in-person meetings,” Doherty said. “Students meet online most of the time and two times per term they come to the campus.”

Three of the Oregon schools are listed among the nation’s best for online bachelor’s programs. Oregon State University in Corvallis earned fifth place on the U.S. News list, Linfield College in McMinnville is ranked 63rd and Concordia University in Portland is ranked 107th.

At OSU, e-campus students receive the same degree as their on-campus counterparts. Student support services and the quality of the online curriculum and faculty all contribute to the university’s high ranking, said Dave King, associate provost for university outreach and engagement.

OSU also devotes a significant amount of time and resources to making sure online classes are done properly. A team of instructional designers supports faculty, and instructors who have never taught e-campus classes must go through a six-week online course on how to craft their own online curriculum.

“The veracity and the expectations are just as strong for the online programs as they are for the face-to-face programs,” King said.

Linfield offers military/veterans support and online tutoring, while Concordia University offers an online homeland security degree, U.S. News says.

Concordia University and Eastern Oregon University appear on the Best Online Graduate Education Programs list, at 122nd and 162nd, respectively. Concordia, a Christian university, has faith-based programs and an 80-percent student completion rate. Eastern Oregon, located in La Grande, boasts small class sizes with a low student-to-teacher ratio, U.S. News says.

This year’s ranking assessed information and data from more than 1,200 distance education degree programs, 20 percent more than in 2014. Only degree-granting programs at regionally accredited institutions that are offered predominantly online were evaluated. The methodologies incorporate factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and student services and technology.

U.S. News is a digital news and information company that provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis on education, health, personal finance, travel, cars, news and opinions. For more information on the Best Online Programs rankings, visit www.usnews.com/online.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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