At the core of Washington State University’s land-grant mission lies our fundamental and continuing charge to provide ever-increasing access to quality higher education. Through our regional campuses and our extension programs, we have worked diligently to provide more pathways to learning than ever before. Yet, for a dramatically increasing number of students, the road to an advanced degree, and the better lives it can afford them, lies in the flexibility that can be provided only through our online degree programs.
WSU Online students are diverse. Some are in their teens, some are retired, some work full time. The one common characteristic of WSU Online students is that they have chosen to pursue their education through online technology. This advanced technology connects expert WSU faculty with students located around the globe.
The success our online students have achieved has been impressive. Since the beginning of WSU’s distance learning program in 1992, we have seen 4,022 students graduate. The vast majority of them are Washington state residents. As graduates of WSU, they will earn a better living and help create the products and services that will enhance the lives of us all. Recently, our online degree programs, now connecting more than 3,100 students from dozens of states and several foreign countries, were named among the top five in the nation.
New WSU Global Campus
With that in mind, I am proud to announce the unveiling of the WSU Global Campus, which will officially launch this July. Unhindered by geographic limitations, it will become WSU’s fifth campus, spreading the wide-ranging educational resources of our university to students throughout the world.
Our new Global Campus will harness the synergistic functions of the Center for Distance and Professional Education to further expand the scope and selection of degree programs we are able to offer online and enhance the educational experience of our students.
This will create the opportunity for us to offer many additional degrees, and several such offerings are already in the works. Our Global Campus is currently adding two new fully online degrees, a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Sport Management, bringing the total number of our online degree programs to 13. Eight graduate certificates and four undergraduate certificates are also currently being offered.
The Global Campus will be unique among other online degree programs in that it will provide a campus-like experience that fosters personal and intellectual growth beyond academics. This new environment will include:
• Webinars by noted experts in a variety of fields
• Digital pavilion showcasing student research
• Common reading program
• E-career fairs
• WSU’s first-in-the-nation online student government will connect students with these resources and add new face-to-face events
Flexibility is key
Because we understand that flexibility is key to the success of our online students, the Global Campus will offer multiple starts throughout the year and accelerated terms as well as traditional 16-week semesters. For example, we now offer a short session during our winter break, a six-week summer session has recently been launched, and a three-week intersession will become available this summer. More new sessions are in the works. They will expand access to WSU and improve time-to-degree completion.
Finally, the Global Campus will provide new services such as online proctoring, online professional development programs in a variety of fields, e-learning services for campus faculty to become proficient with technology in both online and traditional classrooms, and online and face-to-face education management services for national and international programs in education, government, non-profit agencies, and business.
We believe the time is right for us to raise the profile of our online efforts as a way to advance learning beyond the traditional borders of time and geography. It is both a fulfillment of our mission as a land-grant university and a reflection of our flexibility and initiative as an institution in adapting and evolving to meet the demands of the students and wide-spread communities we serve.