About 240 U of A Students Who Studied Online Applied for Fall Graduation
Norman Whitmore from Piedmont, Alabama (left) participated in fall 2014 commencement exercises after applying for graduation from the bachelor's degree in Human Resource and Workforce Development program.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – About 240 students from 25 states who studied in online degree programs from the University of Arkansas have applied to graduate in December. That is three times the number of students who studied online and applied for graduation this time last year.
“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to combine the flexibility of an online degree with the reputation of a brick-and-mortar school like the University of Arkansas,” said Michael Olah, an Air Force pilot stationed in Alaska.
Olah, who applied for December graduation with a master’s degree in Operations Management from the College of Engineering, said, “Earning this degree opens up opportunities for me whether I choose to stay in the Air Force or pursue opportunities in the civilian sector.”
Olah will not make the 3,700-mile trip to attend commencement Saturday, Dec. 19, but about 120 students who studied in online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs plan to attend.
These 120 students are part of the total of 1,200 students who registered for the ceremony in Bud Walton Arena. A total of about 1,900 U of A students applied for graduation in December.
Brad Langguth of Virginia applied for graduation from the same Operations Management program. He said he is “able to put that knowledge to work right away” in his job as a project manager for an information technology firm.
“I’m a big Hog fan at heart,” Langguth said. “I definitely plan to visit Senior Walk and see everything I’ve read about.”
The master’s degree in Operations Management program and a program that allows registered nurses to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing have the greatest numbers of online students applying for graduation in December, with 94 in the engineering program and 74 in the nursing program. The College of Education and Health Professions offers the bachelor’s degree-completion program in nursing.
Like on-campus students, online students earn U of A diplomas, can participate in commencement exercises and have their names engraved in Senior Walk, a tradition that displays more than 170,000 graduates’ names on sidewalks across the Fayetteville campus.
The pathway to graduation is longer for some than others.
Mazie Johnson of Bentonville started at the U of A in 1997 as a freshman straight out of high school, but then she took what she thought would be a brief break in her senior year of accounting.
“It was only supposed to be a semester; then life happened,” she said.
Her husband, 11-year-old son, parents and in-laws plan to watch Saturday as she collects her a bachelor’s degree in General Business from the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Johnson now works full-time and travels a lot as an operations consultant with Verizon Wireless, she said. Her nights are filled with family responsibilities.
“I didn’t have the luxury of coming to campus,” Johnson said. “I was very excited when the U of A began offering the business major online. For a non-traditional student, it is a great option.”
Robert Kisabeth needed the flexibility of an online program too, he said. He is the director of equipment operations for Olympic sports for the U of A and is set to graduate with a master’s degree in Operations Management.
“I do have a great job, but I don’t know what the next step will be,” he said. “I wanted to add some diversity to my background. I wanted to learn about new things and new processes.”
The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Law also offer online degree programs. All online programs are showcased on the University of Arkansas ONLINE website.
The university continues to enhance and expand its online programs and offerings to provide educational access to students who cannot make it to the Fayetteville campus every day because of work or family responsibilities.
About the Global Campus: The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
Kay Murphy, director of communications
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