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NSU rated state’s best for veterans in two areas

By David West
01/29/2018

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has been named Louisiana’s top university for veterans for liberal arts and general studies.

The ranking is available at collegefactual.com/colleges/northwestern-state-university-of-louisiana/news/top-college-2018-top-ranked-veterans-liberal-arts-and-general-studies/.

Collegefactual.com developed the rankings to highlight institutions that offer quality outcomes in a specific major while also offering support to help veterans and active-duty military students thrive.

“We are honored to once again be recognized as a top university for veterans and hope that this continued distinction will encourage more individuals to pursue educational goals at Northwestern State,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, innovation and economic development.

The rankings take into account 19 factors including that cover veteran affordability, population, flexibility and policies as well as overall college quality.

Northwestern State has been named a Military Friendly School seven times. The university has a campus at Leesville/Fort Polk and also offers classes at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. The university has 39 degree programs available online through nsula.edu/ensu that serves veterans and active-duty personnel wherever they are.

The website also ranked NSU as the state’s top institution for returning adults.

NSU joins Adult Learner Coalition

By NSU News Bureau
10/12/2017

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has joined the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) Adult Learner 360 Coalition. Comprised of colleges and universities that have demonstrated a focus on supporting the growing population of adult students, Coalition members have leveraged Adult Learner 360, a survey assessment tool by CAEL, to gain essential insight into how to effectively serve the unique needs of these students.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 40 percent of enrolled students are 25 years old or older.

“As a member of the Adult Learner 360 Coalition we are provided with an opportunity to further align our practices with CAEL’s Ten Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners and map the route to adult student success,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, research and economic development at Northwestern State.

More than 80 institutions and systems are members of the Adult Learner 360 Coalition. Each institution strives to:

— Work with adult students to help them overcome barriers to education, including inconvenient course scheduling and formats, the unavailability of student support services and the lack of adult-focused advisors.

— Offer life and career planning services as part of the enrollment process to help adults link their education goals to meaningful work and careers.

— Ensure that all adult students have clear plan of study that aligns their career and education goals, accommodates their individual life and work commitments and outlines the milestones that necessary to achieve their goals.

— Assess adult students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies—from the curriculum and from life and work experience—for college level credit, to save time and money while ensuring that they receive high-value degrees that meet current and future job market needs.

For a complete list of Adult Learner 360 Coalition member institutions, visit cael.org/higher-education/adult-learner-360-coalition. To learn more about Adult Learner 360, visit cael.org/higher-education/adult-learner-360.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Chicago that assists adults with their educational endeavors, finding practical ways to help them earn college credit for learning acquired through life and work experiences toward the completion of a postsecondary degree. CAEL works with the public sector, private sector industries and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy. For more information, visit cael.org.

Six online programs ranked in top 10 nationally

By David West
06/09/2017

NATCHITOCHES – Six online academic programs at Northwestern State University have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation by higher education ranking groups.

The Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems ranked first by bestcollegereviews.org. The website affordable colleges.com ranked NSU’s bachelor’s program in accounting third, the bachelor’s in criminal justice fourth and the bachelor’s in business administration 10th. Northwestern State’s psychology program is ranked as the seventh best counseling program by bestcolleges.com. NSU’s master’s in English was ranked sixth by onlineu.org.

“Northwestern State has worked over the past several years to develop outstanding online degree programs that are affordable and meet the needs of students,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, innovation and economic development.  “This recognition by experts in the field of distance learning validate the work done by our faculty and staff to develop innovative, responsive academic programs.”

CIS programs were ranked based on tuition, customization options, certifications and unique features or programs. The ranking is at bestcollegereviews.org/top/online-management-information-systems-degree.

Affordablecolleges.com creates a value score weighing criteria including loan default rates, graduation rates and financial aid data to draw distinctions between programs that appear inexpensive up front and those that will pay off in the long run. The site uses the latest data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) which is run by the U.S. Department of Education. IPEDS offers reliable and accurate insight into affordability, academic pedigree, and online/distance learning programs. The rankings are available at affordablecolleges.com/rankings.

The rankings for the psychology program were grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles, including academic quality, affordability and online competency. The 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data available from IPEDS and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The site assesses relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities.

The ranking is at bestcolleges.com/features/top-online-counseling-programs.

The master’s in English was evaluated using National Center for Education Statistics data to determine acceptance rates, program accreditation and profit status. The site determined which degree level was most important for employment within a given subject. The rankings are at onlineu.org/most-affordable-colleges/english-masters-degrees.

Northwestern State has Louisiana’s first and largest electronic campus at nsula.edu/ensu. The university offers 39 online degree programs. Internet-only students do not pay out of state fees. Northwestern State is currently developing several competency-based programs specifically for online students, all of which can be applied to a full baccalaureate degree.

NSU has been designated a 2017 Military Friendly School, a designation is awarded to colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

Information on academic programs at Northwestern State are available at nsula.edu/academicprograms-2.

Nurse practitioner program ranked 7th nationally

By NSU News Bureau
11/10/2016

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s nurse practitioner program has been ranked as the seventh best program in the United States, according to guidetoonlineschools.com.

The full rankings are available at guidetoonlineschools.com/degrees/nurse-practitioner/top-online-colleges.

Ranked institutions must offer at least 10 fully online degrees at the master’s level. Colleges and universities meeting the criteria were judged based on tuition rates, program coursework and accreditation. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics are utilized.

“Gaining a high national ranking increases the visibility of the program and lets prospective students know Northwestern State offers an excellent education at an affordable price,” said Dr. Connie Hale, associate professor of nursing and head of graduate programs in the College of Nursing. “It gives faculty a boost to know their work is recognized. Our students know a national ranking adds value to their degree. Ultimately, this allows us to positively impact healthcare by producing more and more quality providers.”

Nurse practitioner is one of three options in the Master of Science in Nursing program. Students can specialize in one of five areas: adult gerontology acute care, adult gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, primary care pediatric and women’s health.

Northwestern State also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program which provides a clinical doctorate for master’s prepared registered nurses who desire to practice at the highest level and significantly impact health care outcomes for vulnerable populations. Graduates of this DNP program have the potential to transform health care by utilizing advanced clinical skills, translating evidence into practice, implementing systems changes, establishing standards and policies and acting as organizational leaders.

For more information on Northwestern State’s nurse practitioner program, go to nsula.edu/academics/nursing-allied-health/nursing-program.

NSU Named Military Friendly School

By NSU News Bureau
11/10/2016

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has earned the 2017 Military Friendly School designation from Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs SM  and Military Spouse. This Northwestern State’s seventh time to receive the designation. Military Friendly Schools is the most comprehensive, powerful resource for veterans today. Each year, the list of Military Friendly Schools is provided to service members and their families, helping them select the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from Victory Media’s proprietary survey. More than 1,600 schools participated in the 2017 survey. Ratings methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and specifically for student veterans.

Northwestern State has a campus at Leesville/Fort Polk and also offers classes at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. The university has 39 degree programs available online through nsula.edu/ensu.

“We are proud and honored to be recognized for our efforts to provide educational opportunities for our military students and their families,” said NSU Vice President for Technology, Innovation and Economic Development Darlene Williams. “Northwestern State has a long history of serving the military and using an approach that understands the needs of those who have a military affiliation.”

Information on Northwestern State’s services for veterans is available at nsula.edu/registrar/veterans-affairs.

According to Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and chief product officer at Victory Media, “Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans. Military Friendly® helps military families make the best use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other federal benefits while allowing us to further our goal of assisting them in finding success in their chosen career fields.”

Northwestern State will be showcased along with other 2017 Military Friendly Schools in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools, special education issues of G.I. Jobs and Military Spouse Magazine.

College Choice Names Northwestern State Most Affordable College in U.S.

By David West
11/03/2016

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has been ranked as most affordable online college in the United States by College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources.

College Choice researchers examined accredited colleges and universities on factors including academic quality, degree options, teaching and technical support, flexibility and total cost. The survey is at collegechoice.net/rankings/most-affordable-online-colleges. Online undergraduate students play a flat rate of $375 per credit hour up to 12 hours and $100 per credit hour after that. Online graduate students play a flat rate of $475 per credit hour up to nine hours and $100 per credit hour after that.

“Affordability is so important when it comes to college. As a student you want to go to a good school, but don’t want to burden yourself with a high debt at such a young age,” said Haley Jones, a freshman biology/pre-vet major from Dodson. “To be able to find a school that meets your academic needs and not breaking your bank is a top priority.”

Jones works full-time at Family Dollar as an assistant manager and online classes fit into her schedule.

“I chose to start college online because it’s the most cost efficient way for me to be in college and still be able to work full time,” she said. “Being able to earn my own money and pay for college without burdening my family is very important to me, and was the deciding factor in attending on campus versus online. I think I’m getting an amazing education through NSU online.”

Northwestern State has Louisiana’s first and largest electronic campus at nsula.edu/ensu. The university offers 39 online degree programs. Internet-only students do not pay out of state fees. Northwestern State is currently developing several competency-based programs specifically for online students, all of which can be applied to a full baccalaureate degree.

Several online degree programs at Northwestern State have been ranked among the best in the nation. Northwestern State’s online RN to BSN program, along with bachelor’s programs in computer information systems, criminal justice and psychology were ranked first in the country by Nonprofit Colleges Online. The bachelor’s in accounting was ranked second and the master’s in education was seventh. The bachelor’s in addiction studies was chosen as the fifth best in the country by bestcolleges.com.

NSU has been designated a 2016 Military Friendly School, a designation is awarded to colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

The university recently began a competency-based program that will allow students seeking a computer information systems degree or certification to complete the program at a fraction of the time and cost. The competency-based program is a flexible education model that allows students to learn and advance at their own pace. Students advance as they demonstrate mastery of specific skills or knowledge called competencies. The structure builds upon prior knowledge and experience. A student that may already know the material can pass a pre-assessment and move to the next unit. Should a student need more time to master an area, they can slow down and focus on what they need to learn.

For more information on online degree programs, visit nsula.edu/ensu.

NSU ranked fourth most affordable online college

By David West
06/02/2016

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University was named the fourth Most Affordable Online College for 2016 in the U.S., according to the website rankings.com.

The site’s research team applied a strict set of filters to narrow down a list of more than 3,000 schools currently offering distance programs to 20 institutions. Rather than simply rank each school by tuition cost, the team assembled five core metrics, containing 15 individual data points, to score each school against. In addition to price, those data points measured each institution’s commitment to online students, as well as the quality of their academics and admissions.

“Completing a degree is often a dream for many people because the cost may be preventing it from becoming a reality,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, innovation and economic development. “Northwestern State University’s quality online programs provide flexibility and convenience but also maintain affordability to ensure that anyone with the desire can achieve their dream of completing a degree.”

Northwestern State has Louisiana’s first and largest electronic campus at nsula.edu/ensu. The university offers 38 online degree programs. Internet-only students do not pay out of state fees. Northwestern State is currently developing several competency-based programs specifically for online students, some of which can be applied to a full baccalaureate degree.

Several online degree programs at Northwestern State have been ranked among the best in the nation. Northwestern State’s online RN to BSN program, along with bachelor’s programs in computer information systems, criminal justice and psychology were ranked first in the country by Nonprofit Colleges Online. The bachelor’s in accounting was ranked second and the master’s in education was seventh. The bachelor’s in addiction studies was chosen as the fifth best in the country by bestcolleges.com.

Rankings.com works with industry experts to rank and award the top products and resources in every area, from the commercial marketplace to the communities in which we live. The site’s fully-transparent, objective testing process is guided by strictly data-driven methodologies, created in conjunction with experts and unique to each ranking.

Two Online Education Programs Ranked in Top Five

By NSU News Bureau
2/05/2016

NATCHITOCHES – Two online graduate programs in education at Northwestern State University have been ranked in the top five in the U.S. by a higher education website. The site, topmastersineducation.com, ranked Northwestern State’s online master’s in special education third in the nation, and the online master’s in education fifth.

“We are proud to be ranked in the top five online graduate programs in the U.S.,” said Dr. Vickie Gentry, dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. “These programs meet national standards and have a long standing reputation for advancing knowledge and credentials of licensed teachers. A graduate degree from Northwestern is extremely affordable, in comparison to other online providers. More importantly, a graduate degree from Northwestern provides meaningful learning experiences that support teachers’ professional growth plans.”

TopMastersInEducation.com Best Value rankings were designed to help prospective students make smart choices about where to invest their time and money in earning their online degree.  Schools and programs were evaluated based on publicly available information about accreditation, academic quality, student satisfaction, reputation in the field and cost.

The master’s in special education is a 36-hour program with 12-hours of coursework in educational foundation and application areas and 24-hours of coursework in a concentration area including gifted education, early intervention, elementary (grades 1-5) mild/moderate special education or middle school (grades 4-8) and secondary (grades 6-12) mild/moderate special education.  Most courses leading to the master’s degree require field experiences for application of course related skills in diverse settings. These field experiences will include field experiences outside the classroom and school of the candidate.

The master’s in education offers programs in curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, educational technology leadership and educational leadership. The curriculum and instruction program has five concentrations.

For information on Northwestern State’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit tlc.nsula.edu.

NSU recognized as a Military Friendly School

By David West
11/05/2015

2016_MFE_Logo_150x150NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has been designated a 2016 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs and Military Spouse. The Military Friendly Schools designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post- military education and career opportunities. This is the sixth time NSU has been designated as a Military Friendly School.

“Northwestern State University is proud to be recognized as a Military Friendly School, and this recognition acknowledges our continued dedication to provide quality academic programs and support services for the members of the armed forces,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, innovation and economic development.

The Military Friendly Schools designation is awarded to colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

“I have always had a pleasant experience at NSU,” said graduate student Alyssa Hughey, who is on active duty in the U.S. military. “I’ve often been surprised at how willing the instructors and staff are in accommodating and assisting with any issues that might occur with an active duty member. I feel confident that I will be able to balance my career and furthering my education thanks to the flexibility of Northwestern.”

Hughey is pursuing a master’s in English and plans to graduate in the summer of 2018.

“I discovered Northwestern when I moved to my current post,” said Hughey. “I was impressed with the degrees offered, and the flexibility that works with being an active duty military student. The degree will allow me to develop my skills in my current career as well as provide myself options for the future.”

Institutions competed for the Military Friendly School title by completing a survey of more than 100 questions covering 10 categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success. Data was independently tested by Ernst & Young based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media with guidance from an independent Advisory Board of higher education and recruiting professionals.

RN to BSN program ranked as best in the country

By David West
09/10/2015

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s online bachelor’s program in nursing has been rated as the top program in the country, according to Nonprofit Colleges Online.

The RN to BSN program is the fourth Northwestern State program to be named the program in the nation. Northwestern State online degrees in computer information systems, criminal justice and psychology were also ranked number one. The bachelor’s in accounting was ranked second and the master’s in education was seventh.

“Receiving this award is particularly gratifying because the RN to BSN faculty truly care about our students and work diligently to help each student succeed in the program and achieve a professional goal,” said Vicki Wissing, director of the RN to BSN program. “Presentation of this award helps the public know what NSU already knows is that this truly is a caring university that strives to help students while pursuing an academic program.”

Programs in the rankings are degree completion RN to BSN programs, meaning prospective students will need to already hold registered nurse licensure, and in most cases, a diploma or an associate degree in nursing.

“I like the convenience of being able to take courses online,” said graduating senior Angela Owens-Graham of Tyler, Texas. “The courses are well designed and give you everything you need. The faculty are always available and responsive.”

Graham earned an associate degree at Northwestern State and started in the RN to BSN program while living in Alaska and continued after moving to Texas. She has been a nurse for six years. Graham’s goal is to earn a master’s in nursing and teach.

“This is the next step for me,” said Graham. “A bachelor’s degree is almost imperative. Without it, succeeding in certain areas is very difficult. Someone with a bachelor’s degree is better prepared and informed. You can look at best practices and have more of a world view of the field.”

Graham said Northwestern State’s faculty works to stay current and brings the latest knowledge in the field to students.

“Northwestern has done a good job of designing the program so that it is addressing changes in the field,” said Graham. “The field of medicine is evolving and we are being prepared for that.”

The rankings at nonprofitcollegesonline.com were created to recognize online colleges and universities committed to putting the interest of students first.  Northwestern State was recognized for having the least expensive bachelor’s RN to BSN program among regionally accredited not-for-profit colleges and universities in the U.S. at an estimated cost of $9,868 for full-time, out-of-state tuition. Northwestern State was more than $2,200 less expensive than the second ranked school.

NSU does not charge out-of-state-tuition for online students. The university received a Students Before Profits Award, which was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.

Northwestern State University offers an individualized plan for learning to assist registered nurses who are pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This individualized plan of learning has been developed to offer flexibility to meet the registered nurse students’ needs. This plan offers the opportunity to complete upper division nursing courses after the completion of general academics. Students can earn credit without enrollment in 31 hours of nursing courses. Northwestern State has offered a RN to BSN program for 60 years. It was the first online program offered at the university beginning in 2003.

The program is fully online, but students can opt to take face to face courses in Alexandria. The university offers individualized advising and scheduling of courses and 8 or 12-week sessions. Clinical experiences can be completed in the students’ employment setting with student selected local mentors.

For more information on the award, go to nonprofitcollegesonline.com/rankings/best-rn-to-bsn-online. You can learn about NSU’s program at nsula.edu/academics/nursing-allied-health/nursing.

Northwestern State has 37 online degree programs. The university offers flat rate pricing for exclusively online students and does not charge out of state tuition. For more information on online degree programs at NSU, go to nsula.edu/ensu.