Dec 232008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

12/16/2008

After receiving approval for shared joint accreditation with CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo last week, the CSU-Global Campus hopes to achieve individual accreditation by 2010 an official said Tuesday.

The accreditation, awarded by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges this week four months after Global Campus’ founding, verifies that the institution meets rigorous educational standards and requirements set by the Higher Learning Commission.

“The most important value of accreditation is that it gives an assurance to students that credits they’re taking and classes they’re taking will be transferable to other accredited institutions,” said Chief Academic Officer of CSU-Global Robert Jones.

Accreditation was awarded by the HLC after a site visit and interviews with former President and Chancellor Larry Penley, the CSU-Pueblo President Joseph Garcia and CSU-Pueblo and Fort Collins Provosts said CSU spokesperson Michele McKinney.

Jones said that the online university expects to see a “bump” in enrollment after the recent accreditation which will lend to Global Campus’ enrollment goal of 22,000 students in the next five years.

CSU-Global Campus currently shares joint accreditation with CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo’s but hopes to achieve individual accreditation by 2010 Jones said.

Over the next few years, CSU-Global officials will look at all aspects of the institution, complete a self-evaluation of its progress and weaknesses and after interviews with HLC site representatives, will await approval for accreditation.

Accreditation awarded by the HLC is achieved by an individual institution through completion of a voluntary assessment of the university or college’s financial stability, student academic achievement, admissions and other standards according to the HLC Handbook of Accreditation.

Jones said that the validations of the university’s programs are now federally acceptable in the eyes of the federal government. This allows students eligibility for federal loans, which are only available to those at an accredited institution.

Students at CSU-Global can earn bachelor’s degrees, advanced degrees and master’s degrees by completing coursework taught by CSU faculty on-line.

Undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Administration, among others, and graduate programs include a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Science in Teaching and Learning.

The average student-to-faculty ratio in classes is 20 to 1, which is better than the 40 or 50 to 1 that many other online universities boast and leads to better faculty-to-student interaction.

Despite opposition from CSU faculty in response to a $12 million loan to create the online education institution, CEO Rich Schweigert said in an interview in October that the university saw Global Campus as an investment in a growing, online education marketplace.

It is required that the loan be paid back, plus interest, within five years. Schweigert said the money will be paid back and that with increased enrollment, the online university will return a net gain of tens of millions of dollars to the CSU System and the physical campus.

Global Campus currently has a total enrollment of 1,050. The student body, with an average age of 37, is made up of an older demographic of working adults and non-traditional students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree, advanced degree or professional training.

Jones said that CSU-Global is right on track with enrollment goals and that the accreditation will help the institution “move forward rapidly toward that goal.”

“We are still on that course; that plan for five years,” Jones said of the recent enrollment rates and the university’s future goals. “(The accreditation) is part of the plan to develop Global Campus.”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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