Top of the Class

Graduate programs in education recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Top of the Class

By Kathleen Lawry

U.S. News and World Report has again recognized Bowling Green State University’s graduate education programs for their excellence.

For the fifth consecutive year, the BGSU College of Education and Human Development has been named a “Best Graduate School” in education, rising in the rankings each year. Of the 356 schools reviewed, which are restricted to universities granting doctoral degrees, BGSU ranked 112th, moving up 19 places over the last three years.

The college’s online graduate education programs were also ranked among the top in the country for the third straight year, at the 55th spot. The distinction is part of the magazine’s listing of the “Best Online Education Programs,” which was introduced three years ago.

"I am very pleased that U.S. News & World Report has recognized the college’s many outstanding graduate programs,” said Dr. Brad Colwell, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. "The rankings are a positive reflection of our work to set the standards in teacher education and prepare students for the 21st-century classroom.”

Each year, the college revises its content and courses to ensure it is preparing educators for the evolving content standards and increased demands they are facing.

Furthermore, the college has introduced several new online programs over the last two years to meet the ever-changing landscape of today’s K-12 education system. They include master’s degree programs in assistive technology and secondary transition — among the few online graduate programs in the country in those areas — as well as a master’s in autism spectrum disorders and alternative resident educator licensure for teaching in career-technical workforce development; and certificates or endorsements in K-12 online teaching and learning and transition-to-work.

Designed to foster engagement among all participants and across geographic areas, the online programs have been successful in reaching a broader student base. Students in recent years have hailed from such countries as Canada, China, Greece, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as nationally from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia.

“Having a cross-section of students from across the globe exchanging ideas in online environments adds depth and richness to our courses and strengthens the quality of the learning experience,” Colwell said.

Education faculty, most of whom are full-time faculty with research expertise in their specific area, are continually developing their own skills at online teaching. The college’s collaboration with the BGSU Center for Online and Blending Learning (COBL) — now part of the Center for Faculty Excellence — has proven a beneficial partnership in delivering effective online instruction.

“With the continued support of the COBL staff, we have been able to develop engaging courses utilizing 21st-century tools and have been able to set up faculty professional development programming within our college to continually deliver students a positive learning experience,” said Dr. John Fischer, associate dean overseeing graduate education.

Lori Richard, an assistive technology student from Canada, looked long and hard to find a program that specialized in assistive technology at the graduate level.

“When I found the Bowling Green program I was very excited! Not only was it exactly what I was looking for, it was 100 percent online, which allowed me to complete the program from a distance,” said Richard.

“I had looked at other programs in the United States, but they would have involved moving for the summer or getting a one-year sabbatical in order to gain access,” she added.

Among the many factors weighed in determining the rankings for “Best Graduate Education Schools” are: peer assessment, superintendent assessment, student selectivity, faculty resources and research activity. Other universities on the list include: Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. View the graduate programs listing.

U.S. News developed its list of best online master’s programs in education based on factors such as level of accreditation, admissions selectivity and academic and career support services offered to students.