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Three WVU online graduate programs listed among nation's top 30

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Three online graduate programs at West Virginia University – nursing, education and business – have been ranked among the top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The online graduate nursing program was ranked 21st overall in the rankings announced Jan. 15, education was 26th and business 29th. U.S. News reviewed 101 online master of nursing programs, 208 education programs and 213 business programs.

"These very strong rankings are a credit to the faculty, staff and students at WVU," President Jim Clements said. "The rankings also underscore elements in our strategic plan about the importance of graduate programming, as well as growth in quality online offerings that are critical to our state and nation in general. Certainly health, education and business are three such vital areas."

Accessible graduate education can also be exceptional graduate education, said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michele Wheatly.

"Our high rankings from U.S. News demonstrate our commitment to both," Wheatly said. "Moreover, graduate programs in online format are perfectly suited to professionals already working in their fields: nursing, teaching, running a business. We are offering them the opportunity to really excel."

Since WVU began offering online classes in 1998, "we have carefully expanded with an eye towards quality," said Sue Day-Perroots, dean of extended learning. "Faculty have embraced online learning when they see how effective it can be. Our iDesign unit provides the support and expertise needed to create courses that engage the student. Growing enrollment and this national recognition shows that our efforts have been rewarded."

In ranking the online programs, U.S. News reviewed student engagement, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity, and student services and technology. The business evaluation also included reputation among peers.