University Of Arkansas President Seeks Online University For Adults
Career College Central summary:
As part of an effort to expand educational offerings, the University of Arkansas is considering the creation of an online university targeting adults. According to the UA, this week System President Donald Bobbitt will ask the UA Board of Trustees to consider “expanding a consortium of campuses to participate in planning for a new online university” designed for adults. The UA Board of Trustees will gather this week to discuss.
The online university will offer a limited number of workforce-relevant degree programs “designed for adults who need the flexibility afforded by online education,” and “who are unable to access traditional campuses because of job, family and financial constraints,” according to the university.
Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, said Wednesday that his office has met with the UA about the proposal. “It’s unique in that it’s a system-wide approach,” Broadway said. “We have several of our public and private institutions who are offering online degree programs, many of which are targeted to adult learners, as well. The trend certainly is growing.”
Broadway added that Arkansas has at least 350,000 adults who have some college but no degree. “It’s certainly increasingly difficult for those who are working, raising a family, those kinds of things, to drive to a campus, find a parking space, go to the classroom and tend to the needs at home, as well,” he said. “So online is increasingly becoming an opportunity.”
According to the Lumina Foundation, the percentage of Americans between ages 25 and 64 with a two- or four-year degree is 38.7 percent. “At current rates, the U.S. will produce around 39 million two- and four-year college degrees by 2025, leaving a gap of 23 million,” the foundation’s website states.
The state of Arkansas needs more than 519,000 additional college graduates to meet workforce needs by 2025, according to the foundation.
Bobbitt’s proposal calls for initial degree programs to be offered by fall 2015 in partnership with other UA System campuses while the new university seeks accreditation. Michael Moore, vice president for academic affairs, and Daniel Ferritor, vice president for learning technologies, will present the plan to trustees.
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