For the first time, West Virginia University's online graduate program in software engineering has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The program, offered by the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was ranked 30th. It joins a number of other WVU programs - executive MBA (36 out of 228), nursing (54 out 149) and education (86 out of 267) - that were featured in the rankings released today (January 12).
More than 1,200 online programs were reviewed by U.S. News, an increase of more than 20 percent from 2014.
"With more universities launching online programs every year, we're pleased to see our programs ranked in the top 100 nationally," said Sue Day-Perroots, associate provost for undergraduate education and WVU Online programs. "We're committed to expanding access to quality graduate education especially in high demand fields like software engineering."
The software engineering program began in 1997 as an extended learning program for working professionals in north central West Virginia's High Technology Corridor. The program, which went entirely online in 2008, currently enrolls students from more than 15 states with nearly half of its students coming from out of state.
Dale Dzielski, program coordinator, points to several recent improvements for the program's success.
"Quality Matters, a national online certification for courses, was adopted by all West Virginia Online Programs in 2014," Dzielski said. "With support from Academic Innovation, we have worked aggressively to make changes to our courses to certify them in this program.
"Our courses were entirely synchronous, taught live in the evening using an online tool, but due to student demand and online industry trends we have moved toward a hybrid class format that includes a blend of multimedia and online class work with synchronous 'live' interaction between other students and the instructor," Dzielski added.
Brian Woerner, chair of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, credits the leadership of Dzielski and Professor Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova with playing key roles in the program's success.
"Dale and Katerina have implemented program improvements and developed new course offerings in areas such as computer security and data analytics, which are key factors in this recognition," said Woerner. "Our graduates are being trained in the some of the areas that are in highest demand by industry."
"I am delighted to see the efforts of our faculty and staff in the Lane Department recognized by U.S/ News," said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the College. "The development path taken and the changes made by software engineering in recent years serves the needs of an important professional community and will serve as a road map for the College as we look to take other graduate programs online in the years to come."