By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Among hundreds of colleges across the nation offering online bachelor’s programs, SUNY Delhi’s program is the cream of the crop, according to U.S. News & World Report.
SUNY Delhi tied with Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., for first place in the news magazine’s 2014 edition of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Rankings were based on student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology and peer reputation.
According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 1,000 online programs were evaluated in categories such as graduation rates, indebtedness of new graduates and academic and career support services offered to students. This is the magazine’s third year ranking distance-education programs.
SUNY Delhi’s Provost, John Nader, said the recognition came as a pleasant surprise.
“The college has been working to build up its online program since 2008,” Nader said. “The program is a great point of pride for us.”
According to Delhi’s website, the college’s online programs allow students the flexibility of getting an education around their schedule and can be completed either part-time or full-time without a residency requirement.
Nader said the college has 745 students enrolled in the online nursing program for the spring semester and over 1,000 taking online summer classes. He said online students hail from all over New York, with a handful from out of the state.
In the category of faculty credentials and training, which the magazine describes as how well a school prepares qualified instructors to teach remotely, SUNY Delhi’s online nursing program received a perfect score.
Nader said the college’s online instructors come from Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Jerusalem.
“The flexibility of the online program,” Nader said, “allows us to be highly selective in choosing our faculty.”
SUNY Delhi President Candace S. Vancko agreed, saying that the faculty’s perfect score reflected the instructors’ impressive proficiency. Vancko shared a congratulatory email from one of the nursing program’s associate professors, Cheryle G. Levitt, who lives in Jerusalem.
A portion of the email read: “I am so grateful and feel honored to be a part of the program and SUNY Delhi! Congratulations to all...feeling very good about what this program has become, and the potential for what is yet to be. It is truly special to be on top, and to get this level of recognition. Now, we have to maintain it!”
“Cheryle wrote, ‘I know it’s cold there, but I suspect the news of the recognition warmed you,’” Vancko said.
Both Vancko and Nader praised Dr. Mary Pat Lewis, Dean of SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing.
“The BSN program is an affordable, accessible option for those who wish to further their nursing education,” said Lewis. “Students benefit from a state-of-the-art curriculum that is delivered by faculty with the highest credentials in the field.”
Delhi’s online RN to BSN program has grown steadily since it was launched six years ago, according to a news release Wednesday. According to the release, the program has been commended by accrediting agencies for its curricular design, quality of instruction and strong academic support, particularly in the areas of advisement and technology.
According to its website, the nursing program is “designed with the working registered nurse in mind and offers versatility and flexibility, as the program is 100% online.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher congratulated the school’s leadership in online learning, according to the release.
“Congratulations to President Vancko and all of the faculty and staff at SUNY Delhi who contributed to this outstanding recognition as the top destination nationally for online bachelor’s degree programs,” Zimpher said.
Vancko said SUNY Delhi has recently expanded its online options to include a fully online bachelor’s degree program in Criminal Justice, the first online Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science degree to be introduced within the State University of New York.
Nader said he is proud of SUNY Delhi’s ranking.
“It is a testament to the great work the faculty and staff are doing,” Nader said. “It is nice to be recognized, but the interaction between faculty and students and the quality of the program is what really matters to us.”