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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.

Northwestern State accounting program No. 2 in country

By The Shreveport Times
05/27/2015

Northwestern State University’s online bachelor’s program in accounting has been ranked as the number two accounting program in the country, according to Nonprofit Colleges Online.

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 second least expensive bachelor’s program in the accounting field among regionally accredited not-for-profit colleges and universities in the U.S. at an estimated cost of $19,736 for four years of full-time, out-of-state tuition. 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.

According to Coordinator of Accounting Nat Briscoe, Northwestern State’s online bachelor’s in accounting gives students a broad understanding of all aspects of business operations and the specific tools necessary to analyze the results of those operations so they can make informed management decisions. Briscoe said the program is designed for those students who want a strong education in accounting specific areas as well as a general education in all areas of business. The program requires a minimum of 120 credits for completion.

“We are pleased to receive this recognition for our accounting program,” said Briscoe. “The affordability coupled with the quality and content of the curriculum makes Northwestern State an excellent choice for prospective accounting students. This website provides a nationwide venue to promote our accounting program.”

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting program prepares diverse career paths by offering courses in financial and managerial accounting, cost accounting, tax, audit, accounting information systems and governmental accounting.

The accounting program is part of NSU’s School of Business, which is internationally accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, (AACSBI), which represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Fewer than 20 percent of the business schools in the world achieve AACSBI accreditation and it is the hallmark of excellence in business education.

Instruction is provided by terminally degreed faculty with significant business experience. Northwestern State offers all requirements necessary to take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam.

Grad programs in education rank 5th in nation

By Leah Jackson
06/14/2015

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s graduate programs in education was listed among the Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for 2015 by Grad School Hub, a website that provides information on high-quality accredited graduate degree programs. Northwestern State was ranked fifth for its online master of arts programs in adult education, teaching, student affairs, curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, educational technology, educational leadership and special education.

Grad School Hub ranked Northwestern State as a top public school with an e-Campus branch of its main university. Through eNSU, students can attain an advanced graduate degree in adult education, student affairs, educational technology leadership, gifted education, early intervention, professional teaching standard or school librarian, to name a few.

“Northwestern State offers more unique online master’s in education degrees than any other school on this list, most of which cover teaching/instruction and administrative topics,” according to the website. “Post-graduate and add-on certifications further increase the number of options for aspiring teachers attending NSU. The overall low tuition rates at this university provide an added appeal to budget-conscious master’s students.”

“The breadth of our online degree offerings and affordability for students makes Northwestern State University an excellent choice for an advanced degree in education and/or an add-on certification in teaching,” said Dr. Vickie Gentry, dean of NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. “Northwestern faculty are dedicated to helping K-16 teachers and school/community leaders accomplish their career goals.”

For information on degree programs and alternate certification programs offered through the College of Education and Human Develop, visit the Department of Teaching, Leadership and Counseling’s website at tlc.nsula.edu.

Online CIS program named best in the country

By David West
04/22/2015

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

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 program in the information technology field among regionally accredited not-for-profit colleges and universities in the U.S. at an estimated cost of $19,736 for four years of full-time, out-of-state tuition. 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.

“NSU’s online Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems provides a strong curriculum exploring networking, cloud computing, cyber forensics, programming, internet web design and development, information security and more,” the site said in its ranking. “Many of these programs are consistently ranked among the top by other national publications and we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online bachelor’s in information technology programs available.”

The computer information systems program provides theoretical and practical hands-on classes in database, networking, programming and systems analysis and design. According to program coordinator Curtis Penrod, the CIS area changes frequently and faculty work with private industry to ensure the program teaches skills needed in the workforce.

“We are pleased to gain this national recognition for our online bachelor’s program in computer information systems,” said Penrod. “The faculty in this area has worked over the past two decades to create an outstanding program that keeps up with the rapidly changing field of information technology. The quality of our students is a reason that our graduates are in high demand by employers on the regional, national and international level.”

Northwestern State students have won 15 first place awards at the Association of Information Technology Professionals National Collegiate Conference over the last 16 years. The conference annually draws more than 600 competitors from more than 50 colleges and universities along with major corporations looking to hire top information technology students.

For more information on the award, go to nonprofitcollegesonline.com/rankings/best-online-bachelors-in-information-technology. You can learn about NSU’s computer information systems degree program at business.nsula.edu/computer-information-systems-home.

Online Nursing programs ranked in the top 50

By David West
11/06/2014

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has been ranked among the top 50 in the country by two higher education websites.

The program was ranked 24th in the U.S. by CollegeChoice.net. The RN to BSN program received the “Students before Profits Award” from the website nonprofitcollegesonline.com and ranked as the 41st most affordable program in the country among non-profit public and private institutions.

“Northwestern State University has prided itself in preparing excellent nurses and helping nurses extend their education,” said Dr. Pamela Simmons, director of the Department of Nursing at Northwestern State. “The RN to BSN Program was the first fully online program in the state and has, since its inception, had faculty who’ve worked diligently maintaining high standards in a very student-friendly online environment.  The program is designed to meet the needs of the working nurse, that is promoting flexibility, but in no way does that omit the rigor of a traditional classroom setting. Our RN to BSN program remains a premier program, one that we are definitely proud to have among the many excellent programs at NSU.”

Simmons credited program director Vicki Wissing with continuing to develop the RN to BSN degree.

CollegeChoice.net rankings were compiled based upon factors including faculty credentials, technology and student support, accreditation, cost, as well as the national and regional reputations of each school. The site cross-referenced a variety of data sources to measure the factors, including the National Center for Education Statistics, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, individual program websites and U.S. News & World Report.

Other top 25 schools include Penn State, Arizona State, Villanova and the University of Arkansas.

The “Students Before Profits” rankings were created to recognize colleges and universities with online programs committed to putting the interest of students first. Also listed among the top 50 ranked institutions in the country were the University of Alabama, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville.

Nonprofit Colleges Online is an online resource devoted to promoting online colleges and universities that put students before profits and education before the bottom line. The site publishes rankings, reviews and other resources to help prospective students learn about and connect with schools where they can get a quality online education that puts their needs and success first.

For more information on Northwestern’s RN to BSN program please go to nursing.nsula.edu/rn-to-bsn or ensu.nsula.edu/bachelor-degree-registered-nurse-to-b-s-in-nursing.

NSU earns designation as Military Friendly School

By NSU News Bureau
09/24/2014

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has been designated a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, a leading organization in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds. This is the fifth time Northwestern State has received the designation.

Military Friendly® provides service members transparent, data driven ratings about post military education and career opportunities. The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past
six years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

“Northwestern State has a long history of working with veterans and active duty personnel to help them achieve their personal goals,” said NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb. “Our faculty and staff provide individual service to each student to understand their needs and how we can best meet them. We feel one of the ways we can honor our military is to provide them with the best possible education.”

The designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

The survey considers factors such as on-campus military support; academic credit acceptance from a variety of sources, including military training; tuition assistance; spouse and dependent benefits and flexible schedule and course completion requirements.

Northwestern State has a campus at Leesville/Fort Polk and also offers classes at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. The university has 35 degree programs available online.

NSU ranked best online school in Louisiana

By Leah Jackson
02/27/2014

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University was named the most popular online school in the SR Education Group’s Louisiana Guide to Online Schools. Northwestern State was ranked first out of 37 institutions of higher education that offer online courses, including public and private universities, community colleges, seminaries, technical colleges and court reporting institutes in Louisiana.

According to Kimberly Wetter, a spokesperson for SR Education Group, 80 percent of online students live within 100 miles of a campus or service center of the institution they attend.

“Although location does not seem like it would be a factor in deciding which online college to attend, many students prefer a local college. That piece of information prompted us to do our own study and look into the most popular online colleges in each state,” Wetter said.

The rankings list was generated based on the most up-to-date statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Using their stats on students enrolled in distance education, SR Education Group compiled location-based lists of schools offering online education options for students.

“We are very happy and honored to be recognized as the top school by the SR Education Group’s Louisiana Guide to Online Schools,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, NSU’s vice president for Technology, Research and Economic Development. “This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of NSU’s faculty and staff who make great things happen year after year.”

SR Education Group is a provider of education resources that creates and maintains websites aimed at helping students make career and educational decisions. The organization provides information to connect students with the resources they need to complete their education by learning about degree programs, careers and education financing.

For more information on Northwestern State’s ranking, visit http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/states/louisiana.

(News Coverage:  Shreveport Times, NSU Press, KTBS)